• The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued three final rules of particular interest to hospitals. First, CMS issued its final rule on calculating disproportionate share hospital (“DSH”) allotment reductions. The rule will cut DSH payments by $4 billion for 2020 and $8 billion for each subsequent year through 2025. The existing DSH formula has been in place since 1992.
  • CMS also issued a Medicare program efficiency final rule mandating the performance of discharge planning, but at the same time mitigating a number of other burdens on hospitals. For example, the rule allows multiple hospitals to share a single, centralized staff for the performance of quality assessment and improvement, as well as infection control programs. It also allows hospitals to conduct reviews of their emergency preparedness plans every other year instead of annually. The rule further provides administrative relief for providers such as home health agencies and ambulatory surgery centers.
  • The third final rule issued by CMS mandates that all hospitals have an antibiotic stewardship program as part of their infection control efforts. Such stewardship programs are hoped to be a positive step in the battle to prevent the development of “superbugs” that may be antibiotic-resistant. The elements of such programs include tracking prescribing and resistance patterns and educating clinicians on better antibiotic prescribing.
  • The content of CMS's rules are not in final form until they are published in the Federal Register.

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