Press Release: CMS Final Rule Improves Health Equity, Access to Treatment, Hospital Readiness, and COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reporting of Hospital Workers

“The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS) is taking action to drive value-based, person-centered care, and promote sustainability and readiness to respond to future public health emergencies in our nation’s hospitals through the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS)/ Long Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System final rule released today.”

“The final rule, effective October 1, 2021, authorizes additional payments for diagnostics and therapies to treat COVID-19 during the current public health emergency (PHE), and beyond. The rule revises payment policies, as well as policies under certain quality and value-based purchasing programs for hospitals, to lessen the adverse impacts of the pandemic. Some of these changes will incentivize the meaningful use of certified electronic health record (EHR) technology that will help public health officials monitor for future unplanned events.”

“’How Medicare pays for hospital care and evaluates quality, are integral pieces of achieving and addressing gaps in health equity and strengthening our health care system for a more sustainable future. CMS is moving forward to incorporate what we have learned from the COVID-19 pandemic in order to improve quality and increase transparency so that patients are positioned to make informed decisions about their care,’ said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. ‘With this final rule, we are further improving how we measure and evaluate data while investing in quality care for people that rely on Medicare for coverage.'”

“Last week, CMS also finalized a number of other Medicare payment rules including for Skilled Nursing Facilities, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, and Hospice providers. Using lessons learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, these final rules will enact policies that will further protect and deliver better care to Medicare beneficiaries. These payment rules finalized new quality measures to give beneficiaries and their families better insights into the quality of care rendered at hospice facilities and vaccination reporting of facility staff.”

Improving Health Equity

“In an effort to advance equity through the quality reporting measurement, CMS solicited feedback on opportunities to leverage diverse data sets such as race, ethnicity, Medicare/Medicaid dual eligible status, disability status, LGBTQ+, and socioeconomic status. The agency received more than 200 comments, reflecting the importance stakeholders place on this Biden-Harris Administration priority. CMS will consider the feedback it received to inform future actions.”

“’Standardization of equity data to improve hospital data collection is just one more way CMS will lead the national conversation on improving health equity,’ said Brooks-LaSure. ‘CMS will use these comments and innovate on quality measures to help identify health equity data. We’re also measuring hospital initiatives to improve maternal health outcomes as we work to reduce disparities in maternal morbidity…'” Read the full press release here.

Source: CMS Final Rule Improves Health Equity, Access to Treatment, Hospital Readiness, and COVID-19 Vaccination Data Reporting of Hospital Workers – August 2, 2021. CMS.

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