Senate panel recommends changing hospital reimbursements

Providence, RI – After months of discussion, a senate commission devoted to improving the way hospitals get paid has completed its work. The group leaves behind a thick report and a long list of potential legislation.

Although the final report touches on issues ranging from primary care to mental health, its main focus is how hospitals receive payments for their services. Senator Josh Miller says the current system is unfair.

"The unfair thing that's happening is that negotiations are being done privately when there's some very strong public interest involved in how hospitals are reimbursed," he says.

Miller says those private negotiations often mean hospitals with more clout can bargain with health plans for more money than the smaller hospitals get. He plans to introduce legislation that would make those contract negotiations more about the services hospitals offer than how influential they are.

Other potential legislation includes a proposal to change the way health insurers pay hospitals, transitioning from payments per procedure to payments for a patient's entire treatment.

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