CMS has proposed a new rule that would remove 19 quality measures in an effort to lower the administrative burden on Medicare providers. The rule also would increase overall Medicare hospital payments, increase price transparency, and facilitate access to more provider data for consumers.
Eliminating the quality measures is intended to encourage productivity gains in the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and the Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System (LTCH PPS), CMS says. In addition to removing 19 measures, CMS is de-duplicating 21 more. Those changes should lead to a savings opportunity of $75 million, CMS says.
“We seek to ensure the healthcare system puts patients first,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement announcing the new rule. “Today’s proposed rule demonstrates our commitment to patient access to high-quality care while removing outdated and redundant regulations on providers. We envision a system that rewards value over volume and where patients reap the benefits through more choices and better health outcomes.”
The proposed rule removes unnecessary, redundant, and process-driven quality measures from a number of quality reporting and pay-for-performance programs, CMS says. It would eliminate a significant number of measures acute care hospitals are currently required to report, and remove duplicative measures across the five hospital quality and value-based purchasing programs.
“Additionally, CMS is proposing a variety of other changes to reduce the number of hours providers spend on paperwork,” Verma’s statement says. “CMS is proposing this new flexibility so that hospitals can spend more time providing care to their patients, thereby improving the quality of care their patients receive.”
The elimination of 25 total measures across the five programs should result in a reduction of more than 2 million burden hours annually, CMS says.
Verma said the policies in the IPPS and LTCH PPS proposed rule would further advance the agency’s priority of creating a patient-driven healthcare system by achieving greater price transparency and interoperability, the essential components of value-based care, “while also significantly reducing the burden for hospitals so they can operate with better flexibility and patients have the information they need to become active healthcare consumers.”
CMS is updating its guidelines to specifically require that hospitals make publicly available a list of their standard charges, or their policies for allowing the public to view a list of those charges upon request.
CMS also is proposing to overhaul the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, more commonly known as the “Meaningful Use” program, first by renaming it “Promoting Interoperability.”
The plan is to make that program more flexible and less burdensome, emphasize measures that require the exchange of health information between providers and patients, and incentivize providers to make it easier for patients to obtain their medical records electronically.
The proposed rule reiterates the requirement for providers to use the 2015 edition of certified electronic health record technology in 2019 as part of demonstrating meaningful use to qualify for incentive payments and avoid reductions to Medicare payments.
A fact sheet, including a breakdown of the quality measures that would be removed or altered, is available online at: https://go.cms.gov/2HYwKW2. The proposed rule is available online at: https://bit.ly/2qVhFNK.