This decision could seriously impact a number of hospitals, several congressman on the panel told Trenkle. Rep. Zack Space (D-Ohio) said that in his district, for instance, Genesis Healthcare in Zanesville, OH, stands to lose $2 million in incentive payments based on the current rule.
"As you might understand, we're a little frustrated by that rule," Space said. He asked if decisions like this would ultimately make it more difficult for hospitals, such as Genesis, to adopt the technology that the law is designed to promote."
Trankle said that CMS based its payment decision on existing policy. "The provider number is based on how the hospitals choose to organize themselves for payment under Medicare program. So, what we did here—without clear statute intent—was to be consistent with payment policies that we have adopted for other programs."
Trenkle acknowledged that CMS had met with interested stakeholders, including the two largest hospital associations, the American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals, to hear their concerns. However, he said, CMS would not reconsider its decision at the current time.