Medicare Plans to Boost Pay to U.S. Hospitals by 0.8%

Hospitals will get a pay raise from the U.S. government for treating patients in the nation’s Medicare program.

The U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services plans to raise payments 0.8 percent beginning Oct. 1 for services that elderly and disabled patients receive after being admitted to hospitals, according to a regulatory proposal today. Long-term care hospitals that treat patients after they’re discharged from acute-care centers would see a 1.1 percent increase.

The proposed payment changes would raise government spending for hospital care by about $53 million next year, including programs that aim to discourage hospitals from readmitting patients soon after they are discharged and to punish hospitals that too frequently spread infections to patients. A final rule on the fiscal 2014 payments is scheduled to be issued by Aug. 1.

“Dedicated professionals are working day and night in hospitals to provide the care that Medicare beneficiaries need,” Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator of the agency that runs Medicare, said in a statement. “The new policies in this proposed rule support hospitals’ important work and the people with Medicare who depend on them by promoting safety and care improvement.”

Acute-care facilities are the most-numerous type of hospital in the country and include facilities owned by HCA Holdings Inc. (HCA), the largest publicly traded chain, as well as nonprofits such as Cleveland Clinic. Medicare, the U.S. government’s health-care program for the elderly and disabled, pays more than $100 billion a year to hospitals.

To contact the reporter on this story: Alex Wayne in Washington at awayne3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reg Gale at rgale5@bloomberg.net

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