It's Official! BVCHD.. a Critical Access Hospital!


E T Russell ____ Bear Valley Community Healthcare District Chief Executive Officer Raymond T. Hino announced early Thursday August 7th morning that the community Hospital has been approved as  California’s 34th Critical Access Hospital.

In the letter, dated July 29, 2014, is stated that the Critical Access conversion became effective on May 23, 2014.  That is good news from a Medicare payment standpoint, since BVCHD should now benefit from the higher CAH rates retroactive to May 23, 2014.

Hino expressed concern about the late notification and a possible need to refund Medicare payments received since May 23rd and rebill under the new Medicare provider number.  This could cause a short term delay in Medicare payments.  The Hospital accounting staff, billing staff, IT staff and CEO Hino are working on getting this billing problem resolved as quickly as possible.  

According to Hino, “The overall affect of the earlier Critical Access Hospital  conversion date should be positive for BVCHD. We stand to gain three more months of enhanced Medicare payments that we were planning on.  

The downside is that since we have been issued a new Medicare provider number, we will most likely need to refund Medicare payments received for services rendered from May 23, 2014 to August 7, 2014. We would need to rebill those claims. This could result in a short term situation where it may mean waiting for Medicare payments after they are rebilled.  This would be short term only and would not result in a loss of Medicare dollars received by the hospital.” 

The CAH status is a very positive change for Bear Valley Community Hospital.  The Hospital  stands to receive hundreds of thousands of dollars more from Medicare insured patients than the Hospital currently receives. Nationwide, since the Critical Access Hospital program was originally created in 1997, thousands of hospitals across the country have converted to Critical Access Hospitals and most say that the program saved their hospitals from closing.  Critical Access Hospital designation has no affect on current hospital services.  It does not require that any elimination of services and it does not require that any new services be added, either.

Wanting to clarify the question of rebilling and possible delay of payment, CEO Hino contacted Noridian, the Medicare Payor after the original announcement was released to the press. Thursday afternoon, he was assured by a Noridian spokesperson that Noridian will be issuing a letter to BVCHD in the near future, in which they will be notifying the Hospital that they should switch to the new number.  It was  emphasized they want to avoid rebilling Medicare claims and a lapse in Medicare payments. BVCHD should not experience a need for rebilling or a lapse in payments. 

For months, the Critical Access process has been a priority for the BVCHD board of directors, the hospital staff, and a major project for Chief Executive Officer Raymond T. Hino, that he is delighted to call ‘A Great Success!’ 

See previous article -