HHS ordered to pay Massachusetts hospitals $200M

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HHS to dole out $200M to a group of Massachusetts hospitals. Source: Wall Street Journal  

A Massachusetts hospital group has won a lawsuit against the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), in which they claimed that a change in Medicare's wage-index calculations cost them more than $200 million.

A federal judge in Washington, D.C., has ordered HHS to recalculate the state's index, and pay the hospitals the disputed sum for the 2005 fiscal year.

The Massachusetts hospitals include Anna Jacques Hospital in Newburyport, Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston and the University of Massachusetts Memorial Medical Center in Worcester, according to the Boston Globe.

HHS had based its payments on a wage floor, which was 20 percent lower than it had been the previous year, due to changes in the state's hospital framework that shifted its wage formula.

The judge ruled that Congress actually had intended the index to be based on actual wage costs in Massachusetts.