The CMS is aiming to reduce discrimination and overuse of antibiotics via a proposed rule.
The proposal states that all hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid must abide by antidiscrimination policies. Specifically, a hospital cannot discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability.
The rule also compels hospitals to inform patients in writing about these policies and what steps they can take if they feel they are being mistreated.
The rule goes further than the mega anti-discrimination rule finalized by the HHS a few weeks ago. That rule didn't provide specific protections for people being discriminated against on the basis of sexual orientation.
“This rule marks the first time that the CMS has proposed explicitly to prohibit hospitals that accept Medicare and Medicaid from discriminating against patients,” Cara James, director of the CMS Office of Minority Health said in a statement. “We know that barriers still remain in accessing quality care for communities that have been traditionally excluded or underserved."
The proposed rule also mandates hospitals to develop infection prevention and control and antibiotic stewardship programs for the surveillance, prevention, and control of healthcare-associated infections and other infectious diseases, and for the appropriate use of antibiotics.
The sweeping rule also outlines a policy that each patient's medical record be extremely detailed by including information to justify all admissions and continued hospitalizations and the diagnoses, progress and responses to medications and services.
The implication of these and various other provisions will cost the industry between $773 million to $1.1 billion, according to the CMS. However, CMS also expects complying with the various parts of the policy will result in a net savings of up to $284 million.
Comments on the rule are due by Aug. 15.