Boone Hospital May See Bump in Medicare Payments

7 years 5 months 3 weeks ago Wednesday, January 19 2011 Jan 19, 2011 Wednesday, January 19, 2011 10:45:23 PM CST January 19, 2011 in News

COLUMBIA - Boone Hospital officials said Wednesday they believe a proposal for how to manage Medicare payments will likely bring in more money to the hospital. The proposal for how to allocate Medicare payments to hospitals falls under the new federal health care law. It would use a rating system for patient care that is already in use, as well as patient satisfaction surveys, to determine which hospitals get the most from Medicare.

Dr. Jerry Kennett, Boone Hospital's vice president and chief medical officer, said based on past performances under the same standards, Boone Hospital would receive more money.

However the proposal would pay some hospitals less money. Hospitals that fall below the average on standards of patient care and satisfaction would receive those smaller payments.

"The big concern would be for smaller, rural hospitals," Kennett said. "Now, many of those hospitals do very well on quality measures, so I'm not indicating that at all, but it might be more difficult for those hospitals than larger ones."

Under the proposal one percent of all Medicare payments to hospitals will be held and then redistributed based on performance. This has many hospitals already trying to improve their ratings to get the most money if this system is finalized.

But David Dillon of the Missouri Hospital Association says as the hospitals compete, the patients win.

"The patient experience is the most important part and as these hospitals try to improve their ratings on patient care and satisfaction it is going to lead to better care for patients," he said.

The proposal is not finalized, but both Kennett and Dillon believe the final plan will be similar to the current proposal.

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