St. Agnes to request maternity rate change

MARYLAND WATCH

February 22, 1996

St. Agnes Hospital said yesterday that it will apply to the Health Services Cost Review Commission to change its maternity rate.

St. Agnes had announced last week that it would offer a second day free to newborns and mothers. Many insurance plans pay for only a 24-hour hospitalization for routine births.

But the cost review commission, which sets hospital rates in Maryland, said St. Agnes could not make such a change without documenting that the free day was not resulting in a shift of costs to other patients.

Initially, the hospital disagreed, saying it planned to absorb the $500,000 cost from its bottom line, and asserting that it did not need commission approval for that change.

The announcement means that St. Agnes officials are conceding that in fact such approval is necessary.

In a statement, St. Agnes said, "The structure of the application will be developed in cooperation with commission staff, and that staff will verify that the proposal is consistent with commission policy."

While the application is pending, the free-day offer will remain in effect.

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