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Hospitals sue Medicare over 'two-nights' rule

The Philadelphia Inquirer, April 16, 2014

The Einstein Healthcare Network joined in two civil lawsuits against Medicare administrators alleging that a new rule on what qualifies as an inpatient hospital admission is arbitrary and should be dropped and that a related 0.2 percent cut in Medicare payments to hospitals should be revoked. The rule, adopted in August by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, says that a patient has to be in the hospital at midnight on two consecutive days for the hospital to receive an inpatient payment rate. If the patient does not stay in the hospital past the second midnight, into a third day, hospitals are stuck with the outpatient payment - about a third of what they would receive for an inpatient.