Objective: To review the effect of Medicare part A payments (to hospitals) and part B payments (to providers) on critical care in the United States.
Data source and selection: Sources included U.S. government data and published literature reviewing the impact of Medicate payments on critical care.
Data extraction and synthesis: Government data were reviewed to assess the history and status of reimbursement to hospitals and healthcare providers. These data, along with input from published literature, was used to assess the adequacy of current and projected Medicare reimbursements and the implications of these payments.
Conclusion: Medicare payments to hospitals, particularly for critically ill patients, seem to fall short of the costs of caring for these patients. Reimbursements to providers seem more encouraging, although the opportunity exists to improve in this area as well.