Provider alliance Premier Inc. is echoing earlier concerns expressed by the American Hospital Association that the final meaningful use rule excludes individual hospitals in multi-campus settings from receiving incentive payments.

Under the rule, Medicare will make one incentive payment per year for multiple inpatient facilities operating under the same Medicare provider number. Hospitals whose inpatient facilities operate under separate Medicare provider numbers would receive incentive payments for each facility.

"This is a crucial issue for Premier alliance hospitals and could financially handicap their ability to implement EHRs in a timely manner," read the Charlotte, N.C.-based alliance's written testimony submitted to the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health on July 20. "More than 50 Premier alliance hospital systems representing more than 100 inpatient facilities are affected by this methodological error by CMS, which will cost them millions of dollars in EHR incentive payments."

These hospitals, Premier contends, will further be penalized because Medicaid EHR incentives are calculated based on a hospital's projected Medicare incentive. "Therefore, the multi-campus hospital would receive dramatically different Medicaid EHR incentives than another facility solely based on whether the system's inpatient facilities share a provider number or have separate provider numbers."

Consequently, Premier recommends Congress enact legislation to change the meaningful use rule's definitions for "eligible hospital" and "acute care hospital" to enable inpatient facilities to qualify for their own incentive payments. For Premier's full written testimony, which includes details on the recommended new definitions, click here.

--Joseph Goedert

 

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