Assessing the Financial Effect of Medicare Payment on Rural Hospitals: Does the Source of Data Change the Results?
Explores how predictions of changes in hospital financial
performance as a result of change in Medicare payment
differ when comparing results using data from the
Medicare Cost Report (MCR) to results using data from the
audited hospital financial statement (FS). Results
indicate that when policy analysts and policymakers
examine the effect of payment policies on hospitals'
financial performance (e.g., total margin) using the best
available national data (the MCR) rather than FS data,
the results are likely to be valid, despite previously
reported discrepancies in the financial information
between the two data sources Using statistical analysis
of MCR data as a basis for decisions is, therefore, valid
for hospitals as a whole. However, using MCR data to
directly track the financial performance of individual
hospitals may not be valid. This analysis does not,
therefore, support using only MCR data for particular
hospitals when FS data are available. In those
situations, the findings would support using both data
sources because of the potential disagreements between
the financial data in the MCR and the FS.
RUPRI Center for Rural Health Policy Analysis
Li-Wu Chen, Susan Puumala, Keith Mueller, Liyan Xu, Kathy Minikus, Catherine Makhanu