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CMS releases mixed payment rules for inpatient, long-term care

CMS is proposing to reduce clinical quality measure reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented electronic health records.

Susan Morse, Associate Editor

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has updated its payment policies for inpatient and long-term care.

Inpatient operating prospective payments are projected to increase 2.9 percent in fiscal year 2018 due to the changes in the proposed rule. But payments to long-term care hospitals are projected to decrease by about 3.75 percent.

CMS is proposing to reduce clinical quality measure reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented electronic health records.

[Also: CMS final rule gives insurers greater options for benefit design on Obamacare exchanges]

CMS is also proposing a one-year moratorium on the payment policy threshold for patient admissions in long-term care hospitals while the agency continues to evaluate long-term care hospital policies.

The provisions are aimed at relieving providers of administrative burdens, supporting the patient-doctor relationship; and promoting transparency, flexibility, and innovation in the delivery of care, CMS said. 

CMS wants to put a strong focus on patient-centered care, so providers can direct their time and resources to patients and improve outcomes.

"Through this proposed rule we want to reduce burdens for hospitals so they can focus on providing high quality care for patients," said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. "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."  

Due to the combination of proposed payment rate increases and other policies and payment adjustments, CMS projects hospitals would see a total increase in inpatient operating prospective payments of 2.9 percent in fiscal year 2018.

CMS also projects that, based on the changes included in the proposed rule, payments to long-term care hospitals would decrease by approximately 3.75 percent in fiscal year 2018.

[Also: Avoidable hospitalizations plummet for long-term care patients, CMS says]

In addition to the payment and policy proposals, CMS is releasing a request for information to solicit ideas for regulatory, policy, practice and procedural changes to better achieve transparency, flexibility, program simplification and innovation.

Twitter: @SusanJMorse

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