On August 6, 2014, CMS published its final rule to update Medicare payment policies under the inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) PPS for FY 2015. Under the final rule, CMS expects aggregate Medicare payments to IRFs will increase by $180 million, or 2.4%, compared to 2014 levels. The standard payment conversion factor for discharges for FY 2015 is $15,198, up from $14,846 in FY 2014. The update to the conversion factor reflects a 2.9% market basket update, reduced by a -0.5% MFP adjustment and an additional -0.2 percentage point adjustment mandated by the ACA. CMS also is decreasing the outlier threshold amount for FY 2015 to $8,848 from $9,272 in FY 2014, which increases IRF PPS payments by about 0.2%. In addition, CMS adopted a freeze in the facility-level adjustment factors (e.g., adjustments for Low-Income Percentage, teaching status, and location in a rural area, if applicable) for FY 2015 and all subsequent years at FY 2014 levels while the effects of FY 2014 changes are evaluated.

In other policy areas, the final rule revises the list of impairment group codes that presumptively meet the “60 percent rule” compliance criteria; however, in response to public comments, CMS is delaying the effective date for these changes and revisions finalized in the FY 2014 IRF PPS final rule until compliance review periods beginning on or after October 1, 2015. In addition, the rule adds a therapy data item to the IRF patient assessment instrument. Beginning October 1, 2015, IRFs must record the total number of therapy minutes received and the type of therapy provided (i.e. individual, group, concurrent or co-treatment) during the first two weeks of an IRF stay. CMS also is revising the IRF Quality Reporting Program to update measures, add a reconsideration policy, and adopt a data accuracy validation policy. The final rule also discusses the transition from ICD-9-CM to ICD-10-CM for use on Medicare claims (although this transition has been put on hold temporarily as a result of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014).