U.S. law forces Barton to raise rates | TahoeDailyTribune.com

U.S. law forces Barton to raise rates

After a federal reduction in Medicare compensation, many area hospitals are proposing, or already have implemented, a rate increase to compensate their losses.

At the beginning of the year, Barton Memorial Hospital implemented a 7 percent increase to accommodate an estimated $2.2 million reduction from the Balanced Budget Act of 1997.

Barton was only compenstated for 55 to 60 percent for its Medicare expenses and 75 to 80 percent of its MediCal expenses, said Kathy Cocking, the director of hospital operations. Thirty-four percent of Barton’s patients use Medicare and 14 percent use MediCal.

“You can see why we needed to make up the difference and why we needed to put the rate change in,” Cocking said.

Barton representatives added that its patients did not oppose the rate hike.

Recently, Carson-Tahoe Hospital proposed a 7.5-percent increase also to offset the costs of its Medicare patients.

With about 50 percent of its business coming from Medicare patients, Carson-Tahoe is only expected to receive $23.8 million in Medicare reimbursements for the 2000/2001 fiscal year compared to last year’s total of $26 million.

The increases are designed to cover expenses in hospital stays, prescriptions and other hospital services and procedures.

For most patients, the additional cost is covered by their insurance companies, and for Medicare patients, they continue to pay a flat rate, regardless of any changes.

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