Medicare plans to increase payment rates for inpatient hospital care for Fiscal Year 2019, and is proposing changes in its electronic health record and value-based payment programs. It will also push hospitals to make their prices public.
These changes are part of a proposed rule from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) that updates Medicare inpatient payment policies and rates for Fiscal Year 2019, which begins in October, 2018. CMS will accept comments on its proposal until June 25, 2018, and is expected to issue a final regulation in August.
Increase Payments: CMS is proposing to increase inpatient payment rates 1.75% for hospitals that properly report their quality performance and make meaningful use of electronic health records. When added to additional payments in such areas as capital, uncompensated care, and low-volume hospitals, the overall increase in inpatient hospital payments for FY 2019 would be 3.4%.
Reduce duplicative quality measures: To reduce duplication and unnecessary reporting, CMS says it plans to reduce the number of quality measures that acute care hospitals are required to report across five quality-reporting and value-based purchasing programs. CMS intends to remove a total of 19 measures and “de-duplicate” another 21.
Overhaul electronic health record (EHR) incentive program: CMS is proposing new policies that would encourage greater EHR interoperability among hospitals and easier patient access to their electronic health records. It also plans to require providers to use the 2015 Edition of certified electronic health record technology in 2019 as part of demonstrating meaningful use. CMS says it is changing the name of its “Meaningful Use” EHR incentive program to “Promoting Interoperability.”
Make hospital prices public: CMS says it is updating its guidelines to require hospitals to post a list of their standard charges publicly, thus helping consumers compare providers.