The independent agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues is examining one of the more controversial of those payment issues:  Medicare payments for short hospital stays.

At its recent public meeting in Washington, D.C., members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) heard a presentation on Medicare short hospital stays and discussed the issue.  Among the challenges the issue poses, they noted, were the differences in Medicare reimbursement for inpatient and outpatient hospital stays and the opportunities for abuse that potentially presents; the focus of Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC auditors) on short hospital stays and the administrative burden that is creating for hospitals; and possible ways of addressing these and other problems.

MedPAC members did not reach any conclusions about possible recommendations to Congress.

For a closer look at these deliberations, see the issue brief and presentation that guided MedPAC’s discussion of this complex issue.