CMS Calls for Health IT Adoption in Skilled Nursing Facilities Proposal

April 17, 2015 in News

A proposed rule issued Wednesday that would increase Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities encourages such facilities to adopt health IT to facilitate data exchange, but it does not provide much assistance or set requirements for doing so, Health Data Management reports (Goedert, Health Data Management, 4/17).

Rule Details

Under the proposed CMS rule, overall Medicare payments to SNFs would increase by 1.4%, or $500 million, in fiscal year 2016.

The proposed rule also calls for the implementation of a value-based payment model for SNFs, with quality metrics affecting reimbursements beginning in FY 2018 (Dickson, Modern Healthcare, 4/15).

Health IT Features

In addition, the proposed rule details quality reporting requirements as required under federal law. The proposed rule states that aggregate data from a SNF value-based payment program would need to be published to the Nursing Home Compare website, including performance scores and incentive payments. The proposed rule notes that the topic will be addressed “in future rulemaking.”

Meanwhile, CMS said it would seek public comment to determine:

  • How SNF performance data should be displayed;
  • Whether to allow SNFs to review and correct information on the site; and
  • How such a review process would work.

In addition, the proposed rule calls on stakeholders “to utilize health information exchange and certified health IT to effectively and efficiently help providers improve internal care delivery practices … and improve efficiencies and reduce unnecessary costs.” Specifically, the proposed rule notes the importance of SNFs to adopt and use health IT tools. However, it adds that such facilities are ineligible for the meaningful use program.

Therefore, the proposed rule provides a list of reports and guidance documents already available, including:

According to Health Data Management, the proposed rule currently leaves SNFs “on their own” to adopt health IT and advance health information exchange (Health Data Management, 4/17).

CMS is accepting public comments on the proposed rule through June 15 (Modern Healthcare, 4/15).

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