Nursing homes will be subject to escrow for all civil monetary penalties, CMS announces

Skilled nursing facilities will see an estimated 2.4% payment increase — a total of $920 million — for fiscal 2017, according to a final payment rule released late Friday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The payment increase is $120 million more than the 2.1% increase that was originally proposed in April. The increase is attributable to a 2.7% market basket increase cut by 0.3 percentage points, a required multifactor productivity adjustment, CMS officials said.

The rule also finalizes three resource-use quality measures: Medicare spending per beneficiary, discharge to community and potentially preventable 30-day post-discharge readmissions. The resource-use measures will go into effect in fiscal 2018.

Also included is a medication reconciliation measure — drug regimen review conducted with follow-up for identified issues — finalized for fiscal year 2020.

Facilities that fail to submit data for the new measures will face a 2 percentage point reduction to the annual market basket percentage update factor for fiscal years starting with 2018.

Providers welcomed the proposed payment increase when the rule was first announced but expressed concerns about the “unintended consequences” of the new quality measures.

“In many areas, we believe these are important changes aimed at advancing quality via the IMPACT Act and other new law,” Mark Parkinson, president and CEO of the American Health Care Association, said in a statement to McKnight’s on Friday. “In others, we wish a different outcome had occurred.”

The final rule also specifies the SNF 30-Day Potentially Preventable Readmission Measure, as well as establishing performance standards, periods and scoring methodology for facilities.