The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the fiscal year (FY) 2023 inpatient rehabilitation facility prospective payment system (IRF PPS) final rule that was published in today’s Federal Register. Some of the key provisions contained in the final rule are provided below:
Final FY 2023 Payment Updates
CMS estimates overall payments to IRFs will increase by 3.2 percent compared to FY 2022 levels (higher than the 2 percent estimated in the proposed rule). This update is the result of a 4.2 percent update to the IRF market basket reduced by a 0.3 percent productivity adjustment, which is required by law. As a result of this market basket increase and a few small budget neutrality adjustments, the standard payment conversion factor will increase from $17,240 to $17,878. CMS is also adjusting the outlier threshold, which it says will reduce overall payments by 0.6 percent. CMS says the 3.2 percent overall increase will result in $275 million in increased payments to IRFs compared to 2022.
Proposed Expansion of IRF Transfer Policy to Include Home Health Services
CMS issued a Request for Information (RFI) in the proposed rule regarding the potential expansion of the current IRF transfer payment policy to include home health services. For background, IRFs receive a reduced case mix group (CMG) payment rate under the IRF transfer policy when the patient’s discharge occurs earlier than the average length of stay (for that respective CMG and tier) and the patient is discharged to a certain setting (an IRF, acute-care hospital, LTCH, nursing home that takes Medicare and Medicaid payment). The policy currently does not apply to home health.
The RFI in this year’s rule followed a December 2021 Office of Inspector General (OIG) report finding that Medicare could have saved over $993 million had the IRF transfer policy been expanded to include home health services (based on 2017 and 2018 data). The OIG therefore recommends that CMS explore ways to capture early discharges to home health care in the current policy, which CMS referenced in the proposed rule. Following a review of concern cited in stakeholder comments, CMS is not moving forward with any changes to the transfer policy at this time.
IRF Quality Reporting Program Changes & Requests for Information All-Payer IRF-PAI Reporting Proposal
CMS proposed to require collection of the IRF-PAI for all IRF patients, including those without Medicare, beginning with the FY 2025 IRF QRP (with data collection to begin on October 1, 2023). Currently the IRF-PAI is only required to be collected for Medicare Part A (fee-for-service) and Part C (Medicare Advantage) beneficiaries. In response to comments, CMS opted to finalize the proposal but with a revised implementation date. IRFs will now be required to collect IRF-PAIs on all patients, regardless of payer, for the FY 2026 IRF QRP (data collection to begin on October 1, 2024).
RFI on Future QRP Measure Expansions
CMS had issued a Request for Information (RFI) related to measures/concepts for use in the QRP in future years in the proposed rule. The agency specifically requested information on a cross-setting function measure that would include self-care and mobility items, and development of a patient-level COVID-19 vaccination measure. CMS referenced several of AMRPA’s comments, including concerns that IRF stays are typically not long enough to adequately capture COVID-19 vaccination for patients. CMS did not provide a response to comments but affirmed the agency would use the stakeholder feedback to inform future rulemaking.