According to CMS acting administrator Kerry Weems, the proposed policy changes are designed to increase incentives for long term care hospitals to provide more efficient and high quality care for patients. Almost 400 hospitals would be affected. From the press release:
CMS is proposing a standard Federal rate of $39,076.28 for the 2009 rate year. This is based on a proposed update of 2.6 percent compared with the standard Federal rate for RY 2008, as revised to comply with provisions of the recently enacted Medicare, Medicaid, and SCHIP Extension Act of 2007 (“Medicare Extension Act”). The update represents a 3.5 percent increase in the hospital marketbasket (a measure of inflation in the costs of goods and services used in providing inpatient care), less a 0.9 percent adjustment to offset coding changes in RY 2006 that do not reflect real changes in the severity of the cases treated by these hospitals.
To read the proposed rule, download this 311-page PDF document.