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Hospital Rates

BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | August 3, 2003
Much of the $84.4 million in health budget cuts announced by Gov. Robert L. Ehrlich Jr. last week won't result in cuts in services. Instead, Marylanders will pay for them through higher health insurance rates. Nelson J. Sabatini, secretary of Health and Mental Hygiene, acknowledged that cost shifting in an interview Thursday. He also warned that the state is likely to cut the health care services it will pay for in future years as costs continue to escalate faster than revenue. He said hopes of providing basic health coverage for a growing number of uninsured families would depend on reining in existing programs.
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BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | March 1, 2003
Marylanders could face $120 million in additional hospital charges next year as regulators move to shore up the hospitals' financial health. State regulators, who are revising the rate-setting formulas, are recommending a statewide rate boost of 2 percent (about $120 million) above the inflation in hospital costs for the year beginning July 1. Rate increases the past two years have been pegged to cost inflation. Over the two subsequent years, according to the recommendation, increases would be set to bring the average Maryland hospital charge to 2 percent below the national average.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | November 11, 2002
Work groups should have draft recommendations by next month on some technical issues in revising the state's hospital rate-setting formulas, but the "big ticket items" will take an additional two to three months to work out, according to Robert Murray, executive director of the Health Services Cost Review Commission. The unsettled issues represent a big ticket, indeed. Hospitals collect $7.6 billion a year in revenue regulated by the commission, so a small change in the formula can add or subtract millions of dollars from the state's collective hospital bill.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | January 10, 2002
The staff for Maryland's hospital rate-setting commission yesterday recommended a 6.07 percent increase for Johns Hopkins Hospital. The hospital had been seeking 14.5 percent over two years, but said the recommendation represented a fair compromise. Ronald R. Peterson, chief executive of the Johns Hopkins Health System, told the Health Services Cost Review Commission that the staff recommendation would provide "the absolute minimum Hopkins needs." The commission delayed action on the Hopkins rates.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | October 4, 2001
State hospital rate regulators approved a temporary rate increase yesterday for Johns Hopkins Hospital and permanent rate boosts for four other hospitals, including Harford County's Upper Chesapeake Medical Center, which ran into unexpected financial difficulties after its opening nearly a year ago. Harbor Hospital Center in South Baltimore was also seeking higher rates, but the Health Services Cost Review Commission staff recommended a 2.02 percent cut....
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | July 12, 2001
Armed with new data on inflation in hospital costs, the state's rate-setting commission approved a 3.97 percent average rate increase yesterday for Maryland hospitals for the fiscal year that began this month. Only last month the Health Services Cost Review Commission had approved a 3.22 percent increase. But Robert Murray, executive director of the commission, got new inflation figures late last week, and the commission agreed to move up the rate increase. Yesterday's action ends several months of wrangling before the commission, in which hospitals said proposed rates were not enough to cover their increasing costs, and insurers argued that rates should be kept down to mitigate premium increases for consumers.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | June 7, 2001
State regulators approved an additional 0.4 percent rate increase for hospitals yesterday - adding about $24 million to Maryland's collective hospital bill for the fiscal year beginning July 1 - but a further adjustment next month could cancel out the increase. Yesterday's action by the Health Services Cost Review Commission would mean that hospitals get a 3.22 percent rate increase on average. However, next month the commission will reduce that rate to compensate for the larger increase that some hospitals already received.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | June 1, 2001
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield charged yesterday that the state's insurance commissioner exceeded his authority when he turned down CareFirst's request for a 50 percent increase in premiums for its existing open-enrollment health policies. The state's largest insurer made its arguments at a hearing before the commissioner, Steven B. Larsen, as it appealed Larsen's denial of the rate boost. In support of its rate request, CareFirst said it lost about $2 million on 1,850 open-enrollment policies.
NEWS
April 28, 2001
State hospital rates have not kept pace with increasing costs A rebuttal by the state hospital regulatory commission to a recent column by Barry Rascovar ("State can't afford prescription drugs," Opinion Commentary, March 25) left readers with the wrong impression ("Hospital rates reflect state's careful formula," letters, April 14). In recent years, Maryland hospital rates -- set by state regulations -- have not kept pace with inflation. The cost of salaries to recruit and retain a qualified workforce, investments in patient-safety initiatives and keeping up with new technologies and life-saving drugs has risen much more rapidly than the rates have.
BUSINESS
By M. William Salganik and M. William Salganik,SUN STAFF | April 26, 2001
At the end of October, Upper Chesapeake Health closed the antiquated Fallston General Hospital and opened the Upper Chesapeake Medical Center in Bel Air. The new facility, in a convenient and rapidly growing part of Harford County, immediately attracted more patients than the old Fallston facility, as hospital management had expected - about 25 percent more admissions in the new hospital's first four months. What they hadn't expected was that Upper Chesapeake would start losing money and that the more patients came, the more it would lose.
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