CMS will increase Medicare's prospective payment rates for inpatient rehab facilities by 2.4%—or about $260 million—in 2021, the agency said Tuesday.
The final rule also caps wage index cuts at 5% and ends the post-admission physician evaluation requirement. Non-physician practitioners will soon be able to perform some weekly visits if state law allows it, CMS said.
The new rule goes into effect October 1. CMS noted that while federal law typically mandates 60 days' notice before a final rule goes into effect, it's waiving that requirement. The agency said it was unable to publish the rule on time because it was bogged down by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Under the final rule, providers will no longer have to complete post-admission physician evaluations within 24 hours of a patient's admission to an inpatient rehab facility. But Medicare will still pay providers to evaluate patients if a clinician decides it's necessary.
CMS also codified longstanding pre-admission screening guidance to "improve clarity and reduce administrative burden" on providers and Medicare administrative contractors, the agency said in the rule.
The Trump administration is making good on its promise to permanently loosen Medicare's conditions of participation and reimbursement rules so clinicians like physician assistants can practice their full scope of services. It recently proposed to allow non-physician practitioners to supervise diagnostic testing in its 2021 physician fee schedule.