The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a proposed rule that updates payment rates and policy changes in the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System. The proposed rule is one of several for 2018 that reflect a broader strategy to relieve regulatory burdens for providers; support the patient-doctor relationship in healthcare; and promote transparency, flexibility and innovation in the delivery of care.
The OPPS and ASC payment system are updated annually to include changes to payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for those Medicare patients who receive care at hospital outpatient departments or receive care at surgical centers.
“CMS is committed to transforming the Medicare program and updating our policies to provide high-quality and affordable patient-centered care. These changes require innovative strategies, and we look forward to receiving stakeholder comment and incorporating new ideas in our final rule this fall,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “Additionally, the proposed rule takes a critical step towards fulfilling President Trump’s promise to lower the cost of drugs, particularly for Medicare beneficiaries.”
Among the provisions in this rule, CMS is proposing to change the payment rate for certain Medicare Part B drugs purchased by hospitals through the 340B program. The proposed rule also requests comment on how CMS can best implement the proposal to pass savings on to beneficiaries and providers, and to allow seniors to save money on their drug costs. The 340B Drug Pricing Program allows certain hospitals and other healthcare providers to purchase drugs and biologicals (other than vaccines) that are administered in a hospital outpatient department from drug manufacturers at discounted prices.
The proposed rule also includes a provision that would alleviate some of the burdens rural hospitals experience in recruiting physicians by placing a two-year moratorium on the direct supervision requirement currently in place at rural hospitals and critical access hospitals.
In addition, CMS is releasing within the proposed rule a Request for Information to welcome continued feedback on flexibilities and efficiencies in the Medicare program. CMS is committed to maintaining flexibility and efficiency throughout Medicare. Through transparency, flexibility, program simplification, and innovation, we aim to improve the Medicare program and promote the availability of high-value and efficiently-provided care for its beneficiaries.
For a fact sheet on the proposed rule, please visit: https://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2017-Fact-Sheet-items/2017-07-13.html.
The proposed rule (CMS-1678-P) and the Request for Information can be downloaded from the Federal Register at: https://www.federalregister.gov/public-inspection.