The CMS is studying how and whether to replace its controversial “two-midnight” payment policy for short hospital stays in response to vigorous and persistent complaints from the provider community.
Deep within its sweeping proposed 2016 prospective payment rule for acute and long-term acute-care hospitals released on Friday, the agency acknowledged it has continued to receive complaints about the initiative and is studying the feedback and the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. The agency said it would provide a response in a forthcoming proposed rule on hospital outpatient prospective payment systems that will be published this summer.
Elsewhere in the new draft payment rule, the agency suggests a modest 0.3% rate increase for inpatient prospective payment systems, which will mean a $120 million increase in fiscal 2016.
Conversely, for long-term acute-care hospitals, the CMS proposes a decrease in rates of 4.6%, or $250 million in fiscal 2016, due to a new site-neutral policy for less intensive cases.
The agency is also paying $1.3 billion less in Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital uncompensated-care funds than it paid in fiscal 2015.
The CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until June 16 and issue a final rule by Aug. 1.