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Senators urge flexibility in Medicare payment cuts at off-campus hospital units

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A bipartisan group of 51 senators has asked CMS to allow flexibility in implementing  Medicare payment reductions for services  in new off-campus hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs).

The senators said   that off-campus HOPDs that relocate, rebuild or change ownership or types of services shouldn’t  be subject to site-neutral rates.

They also urged CMS to use the rule of “reasonable proximity” when determining on-campus status. Current regulations define “on-campus” as buildings within 250 yards of the main buildings of the hospital or other buildings that the CMS regional office determines to be part of the hospital campus. The senators argued that a strict interpretation of the 250-yard criterion would  unfairly treat hospitals  next to such barriers  as rivers and wetlands that prevent on-campus expansion.

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