July 6, 2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a proposed rule that would update payment policies and payment rates for services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries in hospital outpatient departments (HOPDs) and ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) beginning Jan. 1, 2013. The proposals would affect HOPDs in more than 4,000 hospitals, including general acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, inpatient psychiatric facilities, long-term acute care hospitals, children’s hospitals, and cancer hospitals, and approximately 5000 Medicare-participating ASCs.
“The policies and payment rates included in the proposed rule are intended to ensure that beneficiaries have access to high quality care in the outpatient setting,” said Jonathan Blum, CMS deputy administrator and director of the agency’s Center for Medicare.
CMS is proposing to increase HOPD payment rates by 2.1 percent. The increase is based on the projected hospital market basket—an inflation rate for goods and services used by hospitals—of 3.0 percent less statutory reductions totaling 0.9 percent, including an adjustment for economy-wide productivity. CMS is also proposing to increase ASC payment rates by 1.3 percent – the projected rate of inflation of 2.2 percent minus an adjustment required by law for improvements in productivity of 0.9 percent. Medicare uses the consumer price index for urban consumers (CPI-U) as the inflation rate for ASCs. CMS is asking for public comment on potential data that Medicare could collect to develop an inflation index that would explicitly measure ASC cost growth.
The proposed rule also would streamline the operations of the Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) and make them more responsive to beneficiary complaints about quality of care. Specifically, the proposals would give beneficiaries more information about the QIO’s review process, and would create a new alternative dispute resolution option, called Immediate Advocacy, to resolve beneficiary complaints. The proposed rule would also give QIOs authority to send and receive secure transmissions of electronic versions of health information. Finally, the proposals would enable QIOs to release more information about the results of their reviews to affected beneficiaries.
The proposed rule would make several changes to the quality reporting programs for HOPDs, ASCs and Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs). Specifically, CMS is not proposing to add measures for the CY 2014 and CY 2015 payment determinations. Thus, CMS is proposing reporting for 23 measures for the CY 2014 payment determination and 24 measures for the CY 2015 payment determination. The proposed rule also contains proposals for procedures related to retirement and retention of HOPD measures.
Reporting Program. Specifically, the proposed rule would:
The proposed rule will appear in the July 30, 2012, Federal Register. CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until Sep. 4, 2012, and will respond to all comments in a final rule to be issued by Nov. 1, 2012.
For more information on the CY 2013 proposals for the OPPS and the ASC payment system, as well as proposed changes to the QIO program, please see:
To read the entire CMS Press Release issued today (7/6) click here: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press_releases.asp
Also, please find the CMS Fact Sheet issued today (7/6) click here: