CMS wants more comments on revisions to skilled nursing case-mix methodology

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National Association for the Support of Long Term Care Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton
National Association for the Support of Long Term Care Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton

Long-term care providers will have 60 additional days to weigh in on potential revisions to the prospective payment system's case-mix methodology, under a memo issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday.

A notice to solicit comments on the possible revisions was rolled out in April as a separate proposal. It accompanied the release of the Fiscal Year 2018 payment rule for skilled nursing providers. The revisions would improve the accuracy of the system, CMS said, and could include replacing the existing case-mix classification model, Resource Utilization Groups, with a new model.

Provider groups praised CMS' decision to publish the notice outside of the pay rule, with the National Association for the Support of Long Term Care Executive Vice President Cynthia Morton telling McKnight's at the time that “it's a big change and people need time to understand it.”

Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, also noted that the choice was a “more appropriate course of action” than rolling it in with the FY 2018 rule.

The rule is expected to be formally proposed as part of the FY 2018 skilled nursing pay rule.

The new memo extends the notice's original comment deadline from June 26, 2017 to 5 p.m. on Aug. 26, 2017.The agency said the extended deadline was spurred by providing groups' requests for more time to comment.

“In order to maximize the opportunity for the public to provide meaningful input to CMS, we believe that it is important to allow additional time for the public to prepare comments on the [notice],” CMS said in Tuesday's announcement. “In addition, we believe that granting an extension to the public comment period in this instance would further our overall objective to obtain public input on the potential refinements to the SNF PPS we are considering.”