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Medical News & Perspectives
October 13, 1999

Like Trying to Get Blood From a . . . Federal Agency

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JAMA. 1999;282(14):1318-1319. doi:10.1001/jama.282.14.1318-JMN1013-2-1

Washington—So severe is the cost-cutting in proposals the US government is considering for reimbursement of hospital outpatient transfusion treatments for a number of disorders that the providers of these services warn they may be discontinued. Hospitals will no longer be able to afford to provide them, warned speakers at a recent meeting of the Health and Human Services (HHS) Advisory Committee on Blood Safety and Availability.

The speakers represented a broad spectrum of the hematology, plasma-derived products, and blood banking communities. At issue is a looming threat by the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) to slash reimbursement to hospitals for the provision of blood products, plasma derivatives (including intravenous γ-globulin and clotting factors), recombinant products, and apheresis services in the outpatient setting. The proposed payment schedule, which would pay hospitals a fraction of the costs of actually providing these services, would initially affect only Medicare beneficiaries but would be expected to be quickly adopted by others.

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