Monday, June 23, 2008 at 4:00 AM
11 Cancer hospitals around the country have a special Medicare status that allows them to collect full reimbursements from their Medicare patients. University Hospitals Case Medical Center hopes to make it 12 - but as Gretchen Cuda reports, not everyone is rooting for them.
Most hospitals are only reimbursed by Medicare for a set number of days of hospitalization - which means that if a patient needs to stay longer, the hospital loses money. But a select few cancer-only hospitals have a special exemption that allows them to be fully reimbursed by Medicare no matter how long a patient stays. The James Cancer Hospital in Columbus is one of them. CEO Michael Caligiuri says the exemption gives hospitals like his the freedom to take any kind of cancer patient that walks in the door - and that creates an environment where specialized care, research and teaching thrive.
CALIGIURI: These kinds of hospitals attract specialized doctors, they attract their specialized research and then those doctors with their research and their patients are able to train the next generation of fellows, residents and students who are interested in trying to cure these very difficult cancers.
Cleveland's University Hospitals hopes its new cancer-only hospital will join those elite ranks when it opens in 2010. If it does, it would be the only Northeast Ohio hospital with the designation - a fact that has ruffled the feathers of a few other area hospitals. The Cleveland Clinic is lobbying against UH's request in congress, and Metrohealth is now seeking increased Medicare reimbursements. Meanwhile, The James cancer Hospital in Columbus wants to make sure University Hospitals doesn't get reimbursed at a better rate than they do. Gretchen Cuda 90.3