House panel backs surgery center fee

Ambulatory surgery centers in New Hampshire may have to pay a fee ranging from $600 to $2,800 to cover the cost of their mandatory participation in the state’s infection reporting program for hospitals, if House Bill 602 – blessed by the House Commerce insurance subcommittee – becomes law.How much depends ona center’ size and the amount of federal funding for the $150,000 program.Hospitals already pay a fee to participate in the program. Kate Frey, policy administrator at the state Department of Health and Human Services said that hospital fee ranges from $1,000 to $6,000.The insurance subcommittee approved the proposal over the sole objection of Rep. Andrew Manuse, a Derry Republican, who opposed creating a dedicated fund and wanted the hospitals to run the program without a state bureaucracy.But the concern, said Frey, is that hospitals will report infection rates differently, and you need some objective agency to make sure that the public is not comparing “apples and oranges.”The committee agreed with one member who argued that keeping the hospital “recidivism” rate down saves the state more money and, besides, he couldn’t tolerate the “body count.” — BOB SANDERS/NEW HAMPSHIRE BUSINESS REVIEW

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