Montana's Medical Assistance Facilities

HEHS-96-12R: Published: Oct 2, 1995. Publicly Released: Oct 2, 1995.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO provided information on Montana's medical assistance facilities (MAF), focusing on the: (1) services performed at MAF; (2) inpatient service costs to Medicare at MAF and acute-care hospitals; and (3) number of hospitals nationwide that qualify as MAF. GAO noted that: (1) MAF mainly serve patients with uncomplicated conditions or stabilize patients with more severe conditions before transferring them to full-service hospitals; (2) MAF serve as primary care providers for Medicare beneficiaries living in rural areas; (3) Medicare costs are generally less at MAF than at urban hospitals; (4) patients who are transferred from MAF to acute-care hospitals increase Medicare costs, since the two facilities receive payments for the same patient; and (5) although over 500 hospitals nationwide meet the qualifying criteria for MAF, no more than 150 hospitals would convert to MAF or rural primary care hospitals due to various circumstances.

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