KHA Reviewing CMS Proposal to Address Wage Index
Wednesday, April 24, 2019 2:12 PM
Yesterday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed increasing the Medicare Wage Index for low-wage index hospitals, with the goal of supporting quality health care in rural areas. KHA is analyzing the 600+ page rule and will be filing comments, but is encouraged by the proposed changes intended to reduce the disparities between low and high wage index areas which has been a key issue for Kentucky’s hospitals advocated by KHA. (See KHA's comments on the disparity on page 14 of the Association's Federal Priorities).
According to CMS Administrator Seema Verma, "One in five Americans are living in rural areas and the hospitals that serve them are the backbone of our nation's health care system. Rural Americans face many obstacles as the result of our fragmented health care system, including living in communities with disproportionally higher poverty rates, more chronic conditions and more uninsured or underinsured individuals."
CMS provided a fact sheet on the proposal explaining that hospitals with a wage index below the 25th percentile would see an increase, while hospitals with a wage index above the 75th percentile would see a decrease.