Proposed hospital payment rule includes updates to readmission, HAC programs

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A proposed rule to update Medicare hospital payments for fiscal year 2018 could mean changes to programs aimed at reducing readmissions and hospital-acquired conditions, officials announced Friday.

The rule would give inpatient hospitals services a $3.1 billion pay boost for FY 2018, in addition to lessening providers' regulatory burdens and promoting “transparency, flexibility, and innovation in the delivery of care,” the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said in a fact sheet.

The proposed rule would also make changes to Medicare's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in accordance with the 21st Century Cures Act, including assessing penalties based on hospitals' performance relative to other hospitals that have a similar proportion of dual-eligible patients.

Medicare's Hospital-Acquired Conditions Reduction Program also could receive a facelift under the proposed rule, as it includes plans to request provider comments on additional measures that may be adopted in the future; taking patients' social risk factors into account; and accounting for disability and medical complexity.

Click here to read more about CMS' proposed FY 2018 rule, which also includes provisions in long-term acute care hospitals. The full rule is slated to be published in the Federal Register on April 28; comments may be submitted until June 13.