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Rural hospitals get billions in extra Medicare funds
Modern Healthcare

A law that allows rural hospitals to bill Medicare for rehabilitation services for seniors at higher rates than nursing homes and other facilities has led to billions of dollars in extra government spending, federal investigators say.

Most patients could have been moved to a skilled-nursing facility within 35 miles of the hospital at about one-fourth the cost, HHS‘ inspector general said in a report being released Monday. Hospitals juggling tough balance sheets have come to view such “swing-bed” patients as lucrative, fueling a steady rise in the number of people getting such care and costing Medicare an additional $4.1 billion over six years, the report said.

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