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  • Washington Highlights

    CMS Finalizes Rule Revising Hospital Requirements for Discharge Planning

    Phoebe Ramsey, Director, Physician Payment & Quality

    CMS Finalizes Rule Revising Hospital Requirements for Discharge Planning

    The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Sept. 25 issued a final rule amending requirements for hospitals and other acute care providers, including home health agencies, in regard to discharge planning, as part of implementing the requirements of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act, P.L. 113-185).

    The rule revises some of the discharge planning requirements initially proposed in November 2015 [see Washington Highlights, Nov. 20, 2015]. The changes are intended to improve the quality of care transitions for patients discharged from acute care to post-acute care (PAC) and support CMS’s broader interoperability efforts to improve the exchange of patient health data post-discharge.

    Hospitals will now be required to:

    • Assist patients and their families in the selection of a PAC provider, including providing and sharing data on PAC performance on quality and resource use measures. The data shared with patients must be relevant to the patient’s preferences and goals;
    • Discharge patients with all the patient’s necessary medical information at the time of discharge to the appropriate PAC provider in addition to other outpatient providers and clinicians responsible for the patient’s follow-up or ancillary care; and
    • Ensure patients’ rights to access their medical records in the form and format requested by the patient, including in an electronic format when medical records are maintained electronically, as long as it is readily producible in such form and format.

    CMS issued a fact sheet on the final rule. The changes to the regulations will go into effect Nov. 28.