CMS proposes raising payment rates for hospice, skilled nursing and rehab

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Modern Healthcare | April 21, 2016

The CMS has dropped three payment rules that propose increased payments to skilled-nursing facilities, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and hospice care, and implemented new quality measures.

The agency Thursday proposed nearly doubling the increase skilled-nursing facilities received last year. This would amount to a $800 million bump. Last year they only received a 1.2% Medicare rate increase, leading to $430 million in higher payments from the previous year.

Medicare would pay out $125 million a year more to rehabilitation facilities while those facilities would face about $5.2 million in costs related to new quality-reporting requirements.

The CMS wants to boost Medicare payment rates to hospices by 2% next fiscal year and introduce two new quality measures.

The agency also finalized the creation of a skilled-nursing value-based program.

Hospices would see bigger increase, new quality measures

The raised rate for hospices would mean another $330 million for the providers compared with 2016. It’s a significantly higher increase than the 1.1% bump they got from the CMS this year.

One of the new quality measures would assess hospice staff visits to patients and caregivers in the last week of life. It would measure the percentage of patients receiving at least one visit from a nurse, doctor, nurse practitioner or physicians assistant in the last three days of life. It would also assess the percentage of patients receiving at least two visits from medical social workers, spiritual counselors, licensed practical nurses or hospital aides during the same period.

The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization applauded the focus…

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