CMS proposes 2018 payment, policy updates for Medicare hospital admissions

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Friday issued a proposed rule that would update Medicare payment and policies for 2018 when patients are admitted into hospitals.

CMS said the proposed rule is designed to ease regulatory burdens for providers, support the patient-doctor relationship, and promote transparency, flexibility, and innovation in delivery of care.

“Through this proposed rule we want to reduce burdens for hospitals so they can focus on providing high-quality care for patients,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement. “Medicare is better able to support the work of dedicated hospitals and clinicians who provide the care that people need with these more flexible and simplified approaches.”

CMS also announced it will release a Request for Information to solicit ideas for regulatory, policy, practice and procedural changes to better achieve transparency, flexibility, program simplification and innovation. The agency said this will inform discussion of future regulatory action related to inpatient and long-term hospitals.

CMS is proposing a one-year regulatory moratorium on the payment policy threshold for patient admissions in long-term care hospitals as the agency continues to evaluate long-term care hospital policies. CMS also proposes to reduce clinical quality measure reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented electronic health records.

Hospitals would see a total increase in inpatient operating prospective payments of 2.9 percent in fiscal year 2018 due to proposed payment rate hikes and other proposed policies and payment adjustments, CMS projects. CMS also estimates that, based on the changes included in the proposed rule, payments to long-term care hospitals would fall by approximately 3.75 percent in fiscal year 2018.

You can read details of the proposed rules in this CMS fact sheet.

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