June 2005 Report

Meeting Proceedings

At its April 21, meeting the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) praised the critical access hospital program’s success in preserving rural hospitals and rural beneficiaries’ access to care, as part of its discussion in preparation for an interim report on the program due to Congress in June. The commission also reviewed data on CAH quality that showed that smaller CAHs have lower patient complication rates, while larger CAHs have lower mortality rates. The commissioners agreed that their spring report to Congress would highlight two issues of concern about the CAH program -- swing-bed payments and the number of CAHs located within close proximity of another hospital -- but would not include recommendations, saying it is too soon to recommend major changes to the relatively young program without fully understanding their impact. The AHA praised the commission for “dropping proposed recommendations that could have led to the closure of many CAHs, and instead highlighting issues for further study and analysis.”



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