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Jewish Hospital Shelbyville is one of the beneficiaries of an obscure aspect of the “fiscal cliff” deal reached earlier this month by Congress.
A program reinstated in the agreement means that 10 Kentucky hospitals, including JHS, will continue to receive subsidies to Medicare payments.
Though the deal only will pay half of the $30 billion needed to avoid a 27 percent Medicare fee reduction for doctors, it does reinstate the Medicare Dependent Hospital designation, which reimburses hospitals that have fewer than 100 beds or are located in rural areas and have a high number of Medicare patients.
The provision had expired Oct. 1, 2012, and was reinstated retroactively for one additional year. If not addressed by Congress this summer, the provision again would expire in October.
Michael Collins, president of Jewish Hospital Shelbyville, emphasized that doesn’t mean the hospital will be getting a financial windfall.
“While the passage of this provision is certainly good news for our hospital, we are not receiving a large financial gift,” he said.
“The Medicare Dependent Hospital designation is one of several parts of our hospital’s Medicare reimbursement formula. By qualifying for this designation, the government is recognizing that we take care of a disproportionately high number of Medicare patients – over sixty percent of inpatient admissions – making us financially vulnerable.”
Essentially, the designation raises the Medicare reimbursement to attempt to put a hospital on a more equal footing with other hospitals that have a higher concentration of commercial insurance patients.
Collins said JHS has received the Medicare Dependent Hospital designation for a number of years and that during his hospital’s last fiscal year, 71 percent of inpatient admissions were Medicare patients.
Collins said although he is pleased with the continuation of the program, hospitals are fully aware that additional Medicare cuts are likely within the next two months.
According to Kentucky Health News blog, other Kentucky hospitals receiving that designation are Clinton County Hospital, Fleming County Hospital, Harrison Memorial Hospital, Logan Memorial Hospital, Monroe County Medical Center, Parkway Regional Hospital, Rockcastle Regional Hospital, Taylor Regional Hospital and Westlake Regional Hospital.