AHA urges CMS to consider inflation, staffing in light of proposed inpatient rehab rule

After CMS proposed a new rule for inpatient rehabilitation facilities in April, the American Hospital Association on June 5 issued comments urging the agency to make updates to its proposal citing inflationary pressures and staff shortages.

In its April proposal, CMS stated its plans to update payment rates for the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System based on recent data by an estimated increase of 3.7 percent for 2024. 

It noted that "if more recent data become[s] available (for example, a more recent estimate of the market basket update or productivity adjustment), CMS would use these data, if appropriate, to determine the FY 2024 market basket update and the productivity adjustment in the final rule." 

The agency also proposed updates to the IRF Quality Reporting Program, which would require hospitals receiving CMS funding to do three things:

  1. Adopt the discharge function score beginning in 2025, which will be a new measurement that would replace the Application of Percent of Long-Term Care Hospital Patients with an Admission and Discharge Functional Assessment and a Care Plan measurement.

  2. Adopt reporting of the percent of patients or residents who are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations by 2026.

  3. Track the percentage of healthcare workers who are up-to-date with COVID-19 vaccinations beginning in 2025.

In response to the proposal, AHA noted that while it appreciates that the agency did not make any drastic changes with the proposal, it encouraged CMS to "consider changing its historical approach to the annual payment update to reflect the increased costs that hospitals are facing due to inflation and labor shortages," the news release reads. "AHA also recommended changes to ensure the agency’s proposed IRF Quality Reporting Program updates focus on high-priority areas and measures that are based on reliable clinical evidence."


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