A state panel voted unanimously Wednesday to keep hospital rates flat for the second half of fiscal year 2014 as uncertainty remains around the financial stability of hospitals and the institutions await proposed changes in how they are compensated.

Hospitals will get a 1.65 percent rate increase for inpatient and outpatient services for the six months that start in January, said Steve Ports, deputy director for policy and operations at the Hospital Cost Services Review Commission. This is the same increase they received for the first half of the fiscal year.

The vote comes as the state awaits word on an application to the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would tie hospital rates to the state's economy rather than basing it on cost per admission, which encourages hospitals to see more patients.

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