CMS seeks comment on two-midnight rule following court decision

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is seeking input on a section of its two-midnight policy that would cut inpatient payments to hospitals, after a judge ruled the cuts need to be better justified.

CMS' request for comment follows a September ruling by a federal judge that required the Department of Health and Human Services to reopen a portion of the two-midnight rule that would cut 0.2% from hospital inpatient payments.

HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell stated the cuts would help offset the estimated $220 million it would cost to move patients from outpatient to inpatient status under the two-midnight rule; hospitals objected, saying the cuts were unnecessary.

The comment period on the rule will remain open until February 2, 2016. A final notice on the issue will be published by March 18, 2016, CMS said.