CHA News

CMS Issues Final Rule on Hospital, Home Health Discharge Planning

For hospital case managers, post-acute care providers, compliance personnel

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule revising requirements for discharge planning for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies. The provisions in the final rule will take effect in approximately 60 days, and CMS will provide additional interpretative guidance in the near future.       

The proposed rule, originally issued in 2015, included wide-ranging and significant changes to the discharge planning process. In response to stakeholder comments, CMS did not finalize many of the specific provisions and mandates previously proposed, including a requirement to expand the scope of the discharge planning process to include certain categories of outpatients, including all observation patients. CMS notes that it has modified prior proposals in order to avoid unnecessary provider burden and to allow for flexibility that meets individual patient needs. 

The final rule implements requirements mandated by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act), to take into account the quality and resource-use measures and other information to support patients’ selection of a post-acute care provider.

CHA is reviewing the final rule and will issue a summary in the coming weeks.