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 CMS Proposes 2018 Medicare Payment and Policy Updates

​The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed new payment and policy updates for Medicare hospital admissions via a proposed rule. In a statement released April 14, CMS says the rule seeks to relieve regulatory burdens for providers; support the patient-doctor relationships; and promote transparency, flexibility, and innovation in health care delivery.

The rule proposes a one-year regulatory moratorium on the payment policy threshold for patient admissions in long term care hospitals while CMS continues to evaluate long term care hospital policies. Also proposed in the rule is a reduction in clinical quality measure reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented electronic health records.

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

CMS has also released a Request for Information to solicit ideas for regulatory, policy, practice, and procedural changes to better achieve transparency, flexibility, program simplification, and innovation. In its statement, CMS says the information gathered will inform the discussion on future regulatory action related to inpatient and long term care hospitals.

Based on the combination of proposed payment rate increases and other proposed policies and payment adjustments, CMS projects that 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 3.75 percent in fiscal year 2018.

For details on the proposed rule, view CMS factsheet on the proposed rule here, or visit the Federal Register to view the rule in its entirety.

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