Medicare May Be Overpaying for Short-Stay Patients
The federal government may be overpaying hospitals an estimated $5 billion as a result of the 18-month moratorium on enforcing a controversial rule that tells hospitals when patients should be admitted, an independent Medicare auditing company told a congressional panel. Last September, Medicare officials announced that patients whose doctors expect them to stay in the hospital through two midnights or longer should be admitted, while those expected to stay for less time should be kept for observation. But then Medicare announced a moratorium on penalizing hospitals that violate the rules. Congress has extended the moratorium through March 2015.