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CMS Keeps Original Payment Policy for Multi-Campus Hospitals

Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 29, 2010

Multi-campus hospitals should not anticipate additional incentive payments beyond what would be paid for one hospital under the "meaningful use" provisions unveiled earlier this month. That was the testimony of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services executive before a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee during a hearing on the HITECH Act Tuesday.

Tony Trenkle, director of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Office of eHealth Standards and Services, told the House panel that CMS had received many comments and requests to recognize each campus of a multi-campus hospital in regard to the incentive payments made for electronic health record adoption. These are hospitals that use the same CMS certification number.

"We understand that this issue is of importance to members of Congress, the hospitals, and the public. However, from the agency's perspective, we believe it's important to treat hospitals consistently," Trenkle said.

"The decision to deviate from long-standing hospital policy in this particular instance—without clear statutory direction to do so—would have made CMS vulnerable to legal challenges."

He said that when CMS looked at the legislative language of the stimulus legislation which authorized the EHR incentive initiative. "We came to the conclusion in our final rule that we should define hospitals consistently for all policy purposes, including the Medicaid & Medicare EHR incentive payments."

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