Funding Formula Change Sought

Covenant Health CEO Tony Spezia called on a Health and Human Services agency last week to make a plea for reform of the Medicare Wage Index, a formula that he says is costing Knoxville hospitals up to $50 million a year in federal reimbursements.

The staff of the Center for Medicare Services said there may be inequities in the reimbursement rates but said it was up to Congress to change the formula. They told Spezia they would be happy to make suggestions on reforming the formula.

Members of the Tennessee delegation will be asked to make such a request.

The present formula rewards inefficient big state hospitals with large congressional delegations, critics say.