CMS urges providers to 'make your voices heard' on case-mix methodology memo

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is still seeking provider feedback on its proposal to replace skilled nursing facilities' existing case-mix model, officials said Thursday. Providers are encouraged to submit additional feedback before the comment period closes Aug. 25.

John Kane, a skilled nursing team member at CMS, told providers during a SNF Open Door Forum Thursday that the agency has received just under 170 comments on their April advance notice of proposed rulemaking regarding revisions to the prospective payment system and case-mix methodology, call attendees told McKnight's.

The agency previously extended the comment period from June 26 to Aug. 25 to gather more feedback.

“We encourage you to submit comments on the ANPRM and make your voices heard on this issue,” Kane told call attendees.

He later responded to one attendees' anxiety over the notice's purpose, stressing that there is no timeframe for the pay methodology to be revised, and that the notice is “only a discussion piece” to foster communication between the agency and providers.

The call also covered provisions of the SNF Fiscal Year 2018 payment rule, including updates to the value-based purchasing and quality reporting programs.

CMS officials also reminded providers of the upcoming Aug. 14 deadline for payroll-based journaling submissions for data gathered between April 1 and June 30. Officials urged providers to submit throughout the quarter and not wait for the last day, and reminded them that a failure to submit timely, accurate data may lead to suppressed staffing ratings.

Next month, providers' Nursing Home Compare profiles will include a marker if the PBJ data they submitted was “incomplete or erroneous,” officials reminded. In 2018, facilities' Five-Star ratings will be calculated using PBJ data.

But on the whole, the skilled nursing sector has been largely successful in its submissions, CMS official Lorelei Kahn said on the call.

“Each quarter the submissions get better and better, and the overwhelming majority of providers are reporting by the deadline,” she said.

The next SNF Open Door Forum call is currently slated for Sept. 21, but that date is subject to change, officials said.