Congress recently passed The Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014, which will have significant consequences for all post-acute care providers over the next few years. The Act, which is on its way to the President’s desk for signature, would require skilled-nursing facilities (SNFs), long-term acute care hospitals (LTCHs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), and home health agencies (HHAs) to collect and report standardized assessment data as a first step in developing recommendations for alternative post-acute care payment models. Additionally, the legislation includes new survey and medical review requirements for hospices.
Reporting new quality measures must begin as early as 2016, and in 2019, SNF payments will be reduced 2% if they do not report quality measures or assessment data. All of this is geared toward eventually unifying Medicare payment systems across the post-acute setting, regardless of provider type. Instead of the four different post-acute PPS systems that currently exist, there would be one payment method which would increase payments for some providers and decrease payments for others.