Will Congress Do an End Run Around Berwick? Don’t Bet Against It
Hospitals, through the American Hospital Association, did all they could to derail the 2.9% Final Inpatient Rule cuts from CMS—even enlisting the aid of a majority of senators and House members via letters protesting the cut to CMS Administrator Don Berwick. He ignored them. But they haven’t yet failed because in Washington, calling something final doesn’t mean it’s over.
Look for the AHA to try an end-run around Berwick to rescind the cuts through Congress. If they’re smart, they’ll ask the same representatives that signed their letters to come through for them again via legislation. And they are smart, if a little heavy-handed.
I’m not going to try to get into the merits of the cuts here, which go into effect for discharges occurring after Oct. 1. The two sides have agreed to disagree. Whether the cuts will harm patient care is debatable, and so is CMS’ decision to ignore the increasing severity of illness of hospital patients.
This whole disagreement might fade with time, but don’t bet on it. What we might be witnessing is the first challenge to Berwick’s authority as the healthcare cost-cutter-in-chief. Implied in the letters was a threat from representatives who, despite their protestations to the contrary, and the voting populace’s purported disgust with wasteful government spending, can’t help themselves from trying to bring home the bacon at every
opportunity. I’m no oddsmaker, but in an election year, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of those who signed the letter don’t try to override Berwick and CMS in such a way.
- CFO Exchange: Smartphones Poised to Disrupt Healthcare, Says Topol
- Consumerism Drives Healthcare Branding, Rebranding Efforts
- PA Ranks See 'Phenomenal Growth,' Lack of Diversity
- CNO on Hospital Redesign: 'You Can't Over-Communicate'
- How Digital Strategy Shapes Patient Engagement at Boston Children's Hospital
- 3 Traits Personality Assessments Can't Reveal
- Antibiotic Overuse a 'Huge Threat' to Patient Safety, Says CDC
- Half of All Primary Care, Internal Medicine Jobs Unfilled in 2013
- Carondelet to Pay $35M to Settle Fraud Allegations
- CHS Hacked, 4.5M Patient Records Compromised