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CMS Proposes 2018 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Hospital Admissions, Releases a Request for Information

By CMS
April 14, 2017

On April 14, CMS issued a proposed rule that would update 2018 Medicare payment and polices when patients are admitted into hospitals. The proposed rule aims to relieve regulatory burdens for providers; supports the patient-doctor relationship in health care; and promotes transparency, flexibility, and innovation in the 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,” 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.”  

CMS is committed to transforming the health care delivery system – and the Medicare program – by putting a strong focus on patient-centered care, so providers can direct their time and resources to patients and improve outcomes. 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. This will inform the discussion on future regulatory action related to inpatient and long-term hospitals.

In relieving providers of administrative burdens and encouraging patient choice, CMS is proposing:

  • 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
  • to reduce clinical quality measure reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented electronic health records

Due to 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 approximately 3.75 percent in fiscal year 2018.

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