CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Hospital officials say a decline in Medicare payments will negatively affect Charleston Area Medical Center's budget for next year.
Changes in the Medicare base rate and the area wage index -- part of the Medicare reimbursement formula -- as well as health-care reform will mean the hospital's Medicare payments will have a net decrease of around $250,000, Larry Hudson, CAMC's chief financial officer, told the board of directors Wednesday morning.
On a normal year there's a $5 million year-over-year increase in Medicare payments, Hudson said.
"Obviously, when you have a decline in reimbursements you have to look in other areas to help find ways to balance the budget and that's what we've done," Hudson said after the meeting. "We've found ways to save money and try and offset the loss from the Medicare program."
The CAMC board passed a budget with $788 million in total operating expenses for its three campuses -- CAMC General, CAMC Memorial and Women and Children's Hospital.
The budget will include employee merit raises that average 3.5 percent, Hudson said.
Medicaid reimbursements will also be down next year, Hudson said.
Hudson said preparing the budget is a struggle each year because of increases in expenses and changes in government regulations.