Today, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the proposed rule, Revisions to Requirements for Discharge Planning for Hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and Home Health Agencies. This revises the discharge planning requirements for hospitals (including inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long term care hospitals), critical access hospitals, and home health agencies; these requirements must be met in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The proposed rule also implements the discharge planning requirements of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014, which strives to improve consumer transparency and beneficiary experience during the discharge planning process, by developing a discharge plan based on the goals, preferences, and needs of each patient.
Under the proposed rule, hospitals would be required to develop a discharge plan within 24 hours of admission or registration and complete a discharge plan before the patient is discharged home or transferred to another facility. These requirements will apply to all inpatients, and certain types of outpatients, including patients receiving observation services, patients undergoing surgery (or other same-day procedures where anesthesia or moderate sedation is used), and emergency department patients who have been identified as needing a discharge plan. In addition, hospitals will be required to:
- Provide discharge instructions to patients who are discharged home;
- Have a medication reconciliation process with the goal of improving patient safety by enhancing medication management;
- For patients who are transferred to another facility, send specific medical information to the receiving facility; and
- Establish a post-discharge follow-up process.
The proposed rule is scheduled to be published in the November 3, 2015 Federal Register with a 60-day comment period.