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Breakthrough seen on hospital law

The law setting rates for hospitals has been extended four days while Gov. George Pataki and legislative leaders continue to work on its successor and the rest of the state budget.
An hour before the New York Prospective Hospital Reimbursement Methodology was set to expire, Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, agreed on major points of its replacement.

Breakthrough seen on hospital law

The law setting rates for hospitals has been extended four days while Gov. George Pataki and legislative leaders continue to work on its successor and the rest of the state budget.
An hour before the New York Prospective Hospital Reimbursement Methodology was set to expire, Pataki, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver, D-Manhattan, and Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno, R-Brunswick, agreed on major points of its replacement. Now they are working on the bill’s language, so it is not yet a done deal, Silver spokeswoman Pat Lynch said.
The breakthrough came after a full day of negotiations between the three leaders on Sunday.
“It’s not fleshed out enough yet, but it’s hopeful,” said Jeannie Cross, spokeswoman for the Healthcare Association of New York State.
But Cross said the association also is preparing to go to court in case the negotiations derail.
If legislation is not passed, Pataki has threatened cuts of $1.4 billion in Medicaid payments to hospitals.
At issue in the talks Sunday were the “public goods” attached to NYPHRM–funding for graduate-medical education and charity care being the largest stumbling blocks.
Bruno spokeswoman Marcia White said details of an agreement might be on paper and released by the end of today, but a vote would not take place until Tuesday at the earliest.
Although the leaders would not publicly discuss details of the agreement, the New York Times today reported that the governor agreed to a surcharge on health insurance policies to pay for graduate-medical education. Although Pataki originally proposed cutting the $1.9 billion of last year’s funding to $700 million this year, he agreed to a final figure of roughly $1.2 billion Sunday, the Times said.
On charity care, the leaders are expected to agree on a dollar figure today, the Times reported. On Sunday, they agreed to tax hospital services to pay for care for the poor and uninsured.
The leaders all agreed that the state should stop setting rates for hospital services. Local hospitals and insurers have been preparing for the change, setting up temporary agreements with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of the Rochester Area and Preferred Care.
The local hospitals also have been preparing for changes in the way graduate-medical education is funded by forming a local consortium on the issue.

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