CMS revives Obama-era critical-access hospital rule

From Modern Healthcare:

The CMS plans to release a finalized version of an Obama-era rulemaking that outlines new standards that critical-access hospitals must comply with to continue billing under Medicare.

The federal agency released the proposed version of the rule in June 2016 and it was not finalized before the Trump administration started in January 2017. The CMS plans to release a final version of the rule some time over the next 17 months, according to a Jan. 12 Federal Register notice, which outlined a list of forthcoming rulemakings.

The wide-ranging rule represented the most major change to standards for critical-access hospitals since 1997. It included a requirement that hospitals must have infection prevention and antibiotic stewardship programs for healthcare-related infections and for the proper use of antibiotics. In addition, the CMS proposed that hospitals adopt nondiscrimination policies that expand protections based on gender identity and sexual orientation. The rule also had several provisions meant to hasten patients’ access to their healthcare records.

In all, the CMS estimated that implementing the rule would cost the industry $773 million to $1.1 billion.

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