FutureFocus February 21, 2018: Reforms Ahead: Hospital Discharges, Telehealth, Hospice, and Payment Systems

Lisa Remington

In this week’s FutureFocus, we discuss four reforms coming to your organization. Key topics will impact home health payment reform, hospice, a new hospital discharge penalty, and the expansion of telehealth. We provide insights to each reform.

Lisa Remington, President, Remington Health Strategy Group

Beginning in FY 2019, The Bipartisan Budget Act (PL115-123) will reduce payments to hospitals when a hospital discharges a patient to hospice care early in their stay, similar to CMS’ post-acute care transfer policy.

The American Hospital Association had urged Congress to reject this change, noting that the policy change penalizes hospitals for respecting patients’ wishes and working to get them the appropriate care they want and need, when they need it. The law also calls for a Medicare Payment Policy (MedPAC) study on whether “the timely access to hospice care by patients admitted to a hospital has been affected through changes to hospital policies behaviors made as a result of” the law.

Additional Pending Bills Passed

As the bill was going through Congress, lawmakers included provisions from a number of pending bills including: Creating High-Quality Results and Outcomes Necessary to Improve Chronic (CHRONIC) Care Act of 2017; Independence at Home Demonstration Improvement and Extension Act of 2017; Home Health Documentation and Program Improvement Act of 2017; and, Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act.