In this final rule, CMS is increasing the amount of uncompensated care payments made to acute care hospitals by $800 million to approximately $6.8 billion for fiscal year 2018. Uncompensated care represents healthcare services provided by hospitals or providers for which they don’t get reimbursed. Often uncompensated care arises when people don’t have insurance and cannot afford to pay the cost of care. CMS is also providing further clarification about discounts given to uninsured patients who meet the hospital’s charity care policy.

In relieving providers of administrative burdens and encouraging patient choice, CMS is finalizing a one-year regulatory moratorium on the payment reduction threshold for patient admissions in long-term care hospitals. CMS continues to evaluate this policy. CMS is also finalizing provisions that reduce clinical quality measure reporting requirements for hospitals that have implemented electronic health records.

Due to the combination of payment rate increases and other policies and payment adjustments, particularly in changes in uncompensated care payments, acute care hospitals will see a total increase in Medicare spending on inpatient hospital payments of $2.4 billion in fiscal year 2018. Based in part on the changes included in the final rule, overall payments to long-term care hospitals will decrease by $110 million in fiscal year 2018.

In addition to the payment and policy updates for Medicare hospital admissions, the final rule addresses changes to how the public is notified of Medicare terminations of certain providers and implements the statutory extension of the Rural Community Hospital Demonstration.

Read this Final Rule in the Federal Register for 8/14/17

Read the CMS Fact Sheet

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