Post-acute standardized assessment bill passes House

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House Ways and Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)
House Ways and Committee Chairman Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)

A bill that would standardize data in post-acute settings moved closer to reality after a House of Representatives voice vote in its favor Tuesday.

The House's approval of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act (IMPACT) drew praise from the American Health Care Association/National Center for Assisted Living. The bill increases transparency, executives said, and also helps movement toward a balanced system of payments.

The IMPACT Act proposes substantial changes to reporting systems and Medicare payments that could ultimately improve healthcare outcomes for millions of Americans,” said AHCA President and CEO Mark Parkinson. “IMPACT would make it easier to compare quality across different post-acute care settings and it would improve discharge planning in both hospitals and post-acute care facilities.”

The bill, whose lead sponsor is Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), tackles how different groups are using a variety of assessment instruments — for example the Minimum Data Set in skilled nursing facilities and the IRF-Patient Assessment Instrument in independent rehab facilities. This standardization is a “necessary building block for any meaningful payment reform that would rationalize payments across PAC settings,” AHCA/NCAL said in written testimony this summer.

The National Association for Home Care & Hospice and the Hospice Association of America also applauded the bill, noting that it would call for more hospice surveys that would be financed in a change in the way the annual hospice cap is calculated.

“In addition to mandating that all hospices are surveyed, at a minimum, once every three years, the IMPACT Act would also correct a legislative drafting error that has kept CMS from implementing authority granted under the Affordable Care Act to conduct medical reviews of hospice providers with a high proportion of long-stay patients,” the association said.

If the bill passes, standardized assessment data across post-acute care would start in 2019, according to a Senate timeline. Some experts believe the bill may be fast-tracked in the Senate within the next week.