House Introduces Bill to Delay Two-Midnight Rule

Rep. Jim Gerlach (R-Pa.) has introduced a bill with six co-sponsors that would delay Medicare's two-midnight rule for short inpatient hospital stays.

CMS added the two-midnight rule to the inpatient prospective payment system for fiscal year 2014, which started Oct. 1. According to the rule, inpatient stays lasting less than two midnights must be treated and billed as outpatient services, with some exceptions. Medicare administrative contractors and recovery auditors, better known as MACs and RACs, will be in charge of ensuring compliance.

Hospitals have criticized the two-midnight rule heavily since it was released. The American Hospital Association has said the policy is unclear and undermines the medical judgment of physicians.

The proposed bill, the Two-Midnight Rule Delay Act, would push back the enforcement of the policy until Oct. 1, 2014. AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack wrote a letter to Rep. Gerlach, saying the hospital group supports the legislation. AHA wants CMS to round up stakeholders during the delay to figure out a new payment methodology for inpatient and observation care.

The bill still needs to go through House committees, and no timetable was given for possible votes or enactment of the bill.

More Articles on the Two-Midnight Rule:
The Two-Midnight Rule: What Hospitals and Health Systems Need to Know About Compliance
10 Things to Know About the Two-Midnight Rule
CMS Issues Additional Guidance on Two-Midnight Hospital Admissions Rule

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