The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued proposed payment and policy changes for Medicare that includes a $241 million reduction in payments to acute care hospitals and a small payment increase of 0.8% for long-term care hospitals (LTCH). The newly proposed rule would also institute functional status quality measures around mobility and function for LTCHs. If the proposed rules are finalized, the policies will be effective October 1, 2014.

A news release from the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) reports that the $241 million reduction would affect roughly 3,400 hospitals nationwide, and the 0.8% increase to LTCHs would affect 435 facilities and amount to a total increase of $44 million. In addition, hospitals that successfully participate in Medicare’s quality reporting system and meet the criteria for meaningful use of health information technology will receive a 1.3% payment increase.

The new proposed policies also establish two functional status quality measures for LTCHs. As indicated on the APTA news release, one of the measures is focused on increasing the percentage of LTCH patients with admission and discharge functional assessments and care plans that addresses function. The second measure is centered on change in mobility among LTCH patients who require ventilator support. These measures would be implemented in 2018.

The APTA news release notes that in the proposed rules is also a call for suggestions from providers on ways Medicare might handle reimbursement for short hospital stays. The request for input is being made in response to objections from health care providers on the “2 midnight” rule that CMS has not fully enforced yet, according to APTA.

To view the proposed policy changes, visit

[Source: APTA]