This Friday, Aug. 12, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will publish the final annual update to the hospital inpatient prospective payment system. The changes to be published this week will apply for services furnished during federal fiscal year 2006, which begins October 1, 2005. The changes will affect hospitals, long-term care hospitals and critical-access hospitals around the country. Hospitals that furnish a high volume of cardiovascular services will want to take note of the cardiac care DRG changes, which will profoundly affect reimbursement for these services. Hospitals that have transfer relationships with post-acute care providers, such as long-term care hospitals, will be affected by the expanded list of DRGs subject to Medicare's transfer payment policy. And, hospitals that qualify for wage index geographic reclassification, especially those that qualified under the one-time exception process created by Section 508 of the Medicare Modernization Act, will want to examine the changes concerning this year's reclassification applications, and remember that reclassification applications for federal fiscal year 2007 are due by September 1, 2005.