CHA News Article

FFY 2016 Area Wage Index Timetable Released
Federal AWI legislation also under consideration

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the updated and revised area wage index timetable for federal fiscal year (FFY) 2016. The new dates were established to further simplify the process for CMS, Medicare Administrative Contractors and hospitals, and allow additional time for review and correction of wage data. The new timetable is one of many changes CMS adopted as part of the FFY 2015 inpatient prospective payment system final rule released Aug. 2. More information about the changes is available in CHA’s detailed summary of the final rule and at CMS’ area wage index web page.

As a reminder, hospitals will have until Oct. 6 to request revisions to the wage data posted in the Preliminary May S-3 public use file (PUF) and Preliminary CY 2013 Occupational Mix Survey data PUF. Hospitals are encouraged to review the data for errors and request any corrections that may be needed.

Legislation is pending in Congress to apply budget neutrality on a state-specific basis in the calculation of the Medicare hospital wage index floor for non-rural areas (known as the rural floor). The Senate has passed its measure, but the bill in the House of Representatives, H.R. 2053, has not been considered. The legislation repeals a provision of the Affordable Care Act that required budget neutrality for the rural floor to be calculated on a nationwide basis. In doing so, hospitals in several states — including 184 hospitals in California — benefited from higher Medicare payments in FFY 2015. H.R. 2053 attempts to revert back to state-based budget neutrality.

CHA opposes the legislation and continues to work with members of the California delegation to educate them on the impact H.R. 2053 would have on hospitals across the state.