Tuesday, May 27, 2014

House Holds Hearing on Site Neutral Payment Policies

Drew Thies

While many AHCA/NCAL members were in D.C. for Congressional Briefing, the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health held a hearing focusing on payment reform across Medicare part A and B settings.

The hearing, entitled “Keeping the Promise: Site of Service Medicare Payment Reforms” was held last Wednesday morning and features a long testimony by Mark Miller, executive director of MedPAC, followed by the statements of various providers, researchers, and their representatives.

Miller’s testimony touched upon skilled nursing’s relative quality and value in relation to other PAC settings, though specifics were not mentioned. His written testimony, however, proposes that site neutral policies must be adopted, particularly given the patient treatment overlap between SNFs and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals (IRFs).

Additionally, Rep. Schakowsky (D-IL) asked Miller about the use of observation status in hospitals, expressing concern about patients’ access to care following a three-day stay. Miller replied that MedPAC is “taking it seriously,” specifically suggesting that MedPAC is looking into creating a new payment classification within hospitals to avoid this loophole, though such data is not yet in final form and remains unavailable.

AHCA’s Legislative team continues to work with Members of Congress and their staff as proposals for post-acute care bundling and site neutrality are gaining momentum on The Hill.

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