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Katrina creates new residency payment rule

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted May 1, 2006

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued an interim final rule April 7 that allows it to pay for medical residents in programs affected by natural disasters or public health emergencies.

It will apply retroactively to arrangements between displaced residents' home hospitals that temporarily closed part of their residency programs after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and hospitals that accepted them. It will cost CMS $32.3 million to cover costs from Aug. 29, 2005, to June 30.

The rule allows host hospitals to get Medicare graduate medical education payments as they train relocated residents. It allows hospitals that a disaster impacts to regain full residency funding when their residents return. Also, there are now no geographical limits to where displaced residents may be temporarily placed. Previously, Medicare allowed a host hospital to temporarily count a displaced resident for Medicare payment purposes only if the program where the resident was training was completely closed. Also, residents could relocate only within their geographic area and only at affiliated hospitals or those under common ownership.

Note: This item originally appeared at http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2006/05/01/prbf0501.htm.

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