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CMS Corner: August Updates

While we are still in the quiet period before MIPS or some other key rules come out later this year, a few things were happening with CMS that health IT developers might want to know about.

  • In early August, CMS released a NPRM for Advancing Care Coordination Through Episode Payment Models; Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model; And Changes to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Model (that is a mouthful). This is another of its episodic bundle payment program reforms from its Medicare Innovation Center program. CMS had previously received an episodic bundle payment effort with joint replacement, and this NPRM makes some changes to it. You can read more about the NPRM here on the CMS site.

  • From the standpoint of a developer of health IT, it does not really add any new requirements, like with a MU Stage X rule. The proposed rule just states that CEHRT is required but does not expand on the definition CMS already gave with Meaningful Use Stage 3 (and also proposed for MIPS). However, it explicitly requires use of CEHRT in attestation for this program which will likely expand the use/need for EHRs, especially areas like post-acute care which have not had the same level of adoption of health IT compared to inpatient settings,

  • Toward the end of August, CMS issued a Final Rule updating its prospective payment system (PPS) for for services provided by long-term care hospitals (LTCH). (I won't even try to quote the nearly 100-word-named full rule name here). This rule largely deals with payment rates with the details of various adjustments and reductions you would find in such a document.

  • From the standpoint of a developer of health IT, this is not a rule that largely affects you. It does reiterate the current CMS policy of using 2015 Edition CEHRT by CY 2018. Also, it reiterates the IPPS/LTCH PPS (goodness CMS loves its acronyms) guidance on aligning the eCQM certification with CEHRT and using QRDA I (no more acronyms!).

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