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 Providers Hail Swift Passage of IMPACT Bill, Look to Senate

Provider advocates were exultant Wednesday after a bill that would standardize post-acute care quality measures sailed through the U.S. House.

The so-called IMPACT Act would require federal regulators to use consistent metrics across the different sectors of post-acute care. The House passed the bill late Tuesday with a voice vote.

It now heads to the Senate, where it, too, appears headed for easy passage.

Most provider advocates were foursquare behind the law, because they feel it simplifies quality measures among all forms of care, from home health to institutionalized care, but also because they’re hoping that it leads to a site-neutral payment system.

Congress has taken an important step forward in strengthening the Medicare program,” says Sava Senior Care’s Lane Bowen. “House passage of the IMPACT bill moves the entire health care community in a direction that should streamline the sharing of information and common measures to help speed care delivery to our patients.”

Bowen is vice chair of the board for the American Health Care Association (AHCA), which lobbied aggressively for IMPACT’s passage.

“The solutions proposed by IMPACT are important steps to meet our nation’s current and future health care needs,” AHCA said in a statement late Tuesday. “The bipartisan support for the act in the House is encouraging, and we look forward to working with the Senate in coming weeks.”

If IMPACT becomes law, it would appropriate some $222 million over the next two decades to create a survey and certification process for hospice care and to create the uniform quality measures in all of post-acute care. Beginning in 2020, federal regulators can spend up to $195 million to reward those providers that improve or maintain high quality ratings.

Providers that miss quality marks, or let their quality ratings slip, could be docked federal dollars under the law. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that the penalties could offset the cost of the rewards by up to $88 million in fiscal 2024; overall, CBO has scored the proposed legislation as saving taxpayers some $4 million over the life of the law.

Bill Myers is Provider’s senior editor. Email him at wmyers@providermagazine.com. Follow him on Twitter, @ProviderMyers.

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