New Law Standardizes Reporting for Post-Acute Providers

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Karen Utterback By Karen Utterback 
Former Vice President, Product Marketing and Strategy, McKesson (Retired)
New Law Standardizes Reporting for Post-Acute Providers

Post-acute providers, including home health agencies, are now required to report standardized patient assessment data and quality information to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT) gained widespread support, receiving unanimous passage in Congress before President Obama signed the measure into law. The IMPACT Act, which will be phased in between 2016 and 2022, establishes standard post-acute access reporting to CMS providers such as home health agencies, skilled nursing facilities, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehab facilities. Hospice agencies also face changes, with a provision that requires hospice surveys at least once every three years.

The law enjoys widespread support, not only from a generally divided Congress, but from such associations as the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare, the American Health Care Association and National Center for Assisted Living. Standardized patient and quality data are seen as precursors to the transition of payments from fee-for-service to value-based alternatives.

The House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee issued a request last year for post-acute care reform ideas. A review of the comments revealed a need to standardize post-acute assessment data across care settings for Medicare beneficiaries.

Implementation timeline for the IMPACT Act begins in 2016:
2016 – Use of quality data to inform discharge planning
2017 – Standardized quality and resource use measure reporting begins for post-acute care (PAC) providers
2019 – Standardized assessment data begins for assessment data for PAC and other providers
2020 – Study on hospital assessment data
2022 – CMS and Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) reports on prospective payment

The industry continues to change, and agencies should keep pace. Standardized patient assessments like those found in the clinical management functionality of McKesson Homecare™ will become important as reimbursements move away from fee-for-service.

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