Noteworthy News

CMS Proposal Would Mandate Hospital Discharge Planning

Hospitals that participate in Medicare and Medicaid would be required to develop discharge plans for all inpatients and many outpatients under a new regulation proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).

According to a CMS news release,

…hospitals, including inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies would be required to develop a discharge plan based on the goals, preferences, and needs of each applicable patient . Under the proposed rule, hospitals and critical access hospitals would be required to develop a discharge plan within 24 hours of admission or registration and complete a discharge plan before the patient is discharged home or transferred to another facility. This would apply to all inpatients and certain types of outpatients, including patients receiving observation services, patients who are undergoing surgery or other same-day procedures where anesthesia or moderate sedation is used, and emergency department patients who have been identified by a practitioner as needing a discharge plan. In addition, hospitals, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies would have to —

  • Provide discharge instructions to patients who are discharged home (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only);
  • Have a medication reconciliation process with the goal of improving patient safety by enhancing medication management (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only);
  • For patients who are transferred to another facility, send specific medical information to the receiving facility; and
  • Establish a post-discharge follow-up process (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only).

cmsThe proposed regulation stresses the preferences and goals of patients in the development of their discharge plans, including the selection of post-acute-care providers to which they may be discharged or the home health providers that may serve them when they return home.

Significantly, from the perspective of urban safety-net hospitals, the proposed regulation calls for hospitals to consider the socio-economic status of the patients for whom they are planning – although no requirements are associated with that status.

Interested parties have until January 3 to submit comments to CMS on the proposed regulation.

To learn more about what CMS is proposing and what it hopes to accomplish, see this CMS news release. Find the proposed regulation itself here.

 

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