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Hospital Rates

BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,Sun reporter | January 4, 2007
With hospital charges across the country rising faster than expected, Maryland's average hospital bill has fallen further behind the national average than had been projected - creating a multimillion-dollar dilemma for the Health Services Cost Review Commission, the state rate-setting panel. Hospitals say Maryland rates can rise slightly faster than national rates for the next two fiscal years and still meet the commission's target of keeping hospital costs below the national average. The commission's staff, backed by insurers, argue that hospitals will still be more profitable than today, even if rates should rise at a slower pace.
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BUSINESS
By Joel Obermayer and Joel Obermayer,Sun Staff Writer | April 7, 1994
Hospital rates in the state will outpace inflation, but not by as much as first planned.That was the decision yesterday by the state agency that sets hospital rates -- a move that may save Maryland consumers an estimated $25 million in health care charges this year.The Maryland Health Services Cost Review Commission said the hospitals must forgo part of their automatic annual rate increase for new services and capital projects. Hospitals will be allowed to raise rates about 1.5 percent more than inflation instead of the slightly more than the 2 percent that the state's formula allows.
HEALTH
By Timothy B. Wheeler, The Baltimore Sun | January 11, 2013
The state commission that regulates hospital rates has not kept adequate tabs on hospital billings, according to legislative auditors, who say that four hospitals they checked have overcharged by more than $13 million. An audit of three regulatory agencies under the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene found "control deficiencies" at one, the Health Services Cost Review Commission, which left auditors with a "lack of assurance" that billings by the state's 53 hospitals were proper.
HEALTH
By Andrea K. Walker | June 3, 2013
The New York Times looked at the varying costs of a colonoscopy at hospitals around the country to illustrate how simple medical procedures are driving up health care costs. The story that ran over the weekend found that the costs of medical procedures in the United States are often higher than in other developing countries and varies widely from hospital to hospital. Baltimore has some of the lowest rates for colonoscopies, according to one New York Times chart. The most someone will pay for a colonoscopy in the city is $1,908.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | June 27, 1997
The state's HMO trade group told hospital rate-setters yesterday that they do not have legal authority to craft a "political compromise" on a plan to squeeze hospital rates.David M. Funk, a lawyer for the Maryland Association of Health Maintenance Organizations, said at a public hearing before the Health Services Cost Review Commission that it must go ahead with a plan to reduce hospital rates by nearly 4 percent, since the law creating the commission requires it to keep hospital costs reasonable.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | November 22, 1995
State health planners yesterday projected that Maryland's hospitals, despite recent downsizings to deal with declining occupancy rates, will still have excess capacity of 29 percent to 45 percent by the year 2000.While the problem of excess beds requires attention from regulators, it can be managed, said James R. Stanton, executive director of the Heath Resources Planning Commission, who presented the projections yesterday to the Senate Finance Health Subcommittee. He added, "I encourage you not to focus on the numbers."
BUSINESS
By Patricia Meisol and Patricia Meisol,Staff Writer | February 4, 1993
The cost of treating the uninsured at Maryland hospitals last year jumped by the largest amount in 12 years, prompting economists who run the state's hospital regulatory system to call for more affordable health insurance.But profits statewide jumped 85 percent last year after the system approved higher rates to pay for the expected increase in the number of people unable to pay for medical care.The bill for the uninsured -- $394 million -- grew 28 percent, according to figures released yesterday by the Health Services Cost Review Commission, which sets hospital rates in Maryland.
HEALTH
Andrea K. Walker, The Baltimore Sun | January 10, 2014
A top official with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services said Friday that a state plan to reduce hospital visits could serve as a national model for curbing costs while improving patient outcomes. Deputy Administrator and Director Jonathan Blum said the approach could disprove the notion that quality health care must be expensive. While other programs already have shown this across the country, he said, Maryland would be the first to test the premise statewide. "We want Maryland to be the basis for other states ... to test the boundaries of what it means to lower total cost of care and boost total quality of care," Blum said.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | December 23, 1998
Profit margins at Maryland hospitals, at record levels the past two years, dropped sharply in the fiscal year that ended June 30, according to data from the Maryland Hospital Association.The decline was caused by tightened state controls on hospital rates, claim denials by insurers, cuts in Medicare reimbursements for some services and a drop in patient days, said Nancy Fiedler, senior vice president of the hospital association."The worry has to do with the fact that there doesn't seem to be any indication the downturn is going to change," Fiedler said.
NEWS
March 10, 2014
The conclusion of The Sun's editorial, "Investing in lower health costs" (March 7), is that "unless the hospitals start making immediate and fundamental changes to the way they operate …" Maryland will not be successful under the new waiver from Medicare that allows the state to continue to keep health care costs down by setting hospital rates. Rest assured, Maryland's hospitals have already dived head first into immediate and fundamental changes, with most having agreed with the state to enter into budget arrangements that provide us a fixed budget per year to take care of people and work with other providers and community organizations to keep our communities healthier.
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