The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that updates 2018 Medicare payments and policies relating to hospital admissions in order to reduce burdens on providers and to support the patient-doctor relationship. Among other changes, the proposed rule would increase operating payment rates for general acute care hospitals paid under the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) that successfully participate in the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program and are meaningful electronic health record (EHR) users.

Combined with other IPPS payment policy changes, CMS projects that hospitals would see an increase in IPPS operating payments of 2.9% in 2018 under the proposed rule, according to a CMS fact sheet. CMS also projects payments to long-term care hospitals will decrease by approximately 3.75%. Approximately 3,330 acute care hospitals and 420 long-term care hospitals would be affected by the rule.

In addition to the proposed rule, CMS is soliciting regulatory, policy, and practice ideas for ways to achieve increased transparency, decreased bureaucracy, and program simplification. Reponses to the request for information and comments on the proposed rule will be accepted electronically at www.regulations.gov, beginning when the rule is officially published in the Federal Register on April 28 and until June 13, 2017.