Before officially adjourning its pre-election session last night, the Senate cleared for the president’s signature the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014 (H.R. 4994). The bipartisan, bicameral bill, which the House passed earlier this week, requires the collection of standardized, comparable assessment data across post-acute care settings. The development of a standardized assessment tool is intended to enable CMS to compare quality across post-acute care settings and help hospitals and post-acute care sites improve discharge planning.
Envisioned to lay the foundation for reforms to post-acute care provider payments in future years, the IMPACT Act also requires HHS and the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to provide for Congress’ consideration new payment models, such as site-neutral payments or bundled payments. MedPAC suggested the creation of a standardized assessment tool in its March 2014 Report to Congress to allow meaningful comparisons of the quality and efficiency of care across different care settings following a patient’s hospitalization.
According to the CBO estimate, H.R 4994 is funded by reducing Medicare payment rates for services furnished by skilled nursing facilities that fail to report assessment and quality data and by reducing the caps on payments for beneficiaries receiving hospice services.
Prior to adjourning, the Senate also sent to the White House a continuing resolution funding the federal government through December 11.