The Washington State Hospital Association (WSHA) will host a webinar May 27 from 8:00-9:00 a.m. on the proposed inpatient rule for prospective payment hospitals. The webinar is part of WSHA’s efforts to provide helpful and detailed information to hospital finance staff. Presenters will include staff from DataGen, which provides analyses of Medicare claims data for WSHA and many other hospital associations and systems nationwide. The webinar will include an overview of the proposed inpatient prospective payment systems (IPPS) rule, a walk-through of a sample of one of the hospital-specific IPPS impact reports WSHA provides its members, and a brief overview of other financial and quality reports WSHA makes available. Hospital Finance staff can find the log-in information here.
Summaries of the inpatient rule and hospital-specific reports will be sent to Chief Financial Officers of WSHA member hospitals in the next few days. As WSHA is currently in the process of upgrading its distribution process, other finance staff that make use of the summaries and reports may contact their CFO or Andrew Busz at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Inmate/Suspect Care Bill Signed, Additional Information to Follow
On May 14, Governor Inslee signed Senate Bill 5593, which requires law enforcement and prisons to provide guards when a patient suspected or convicted of a violent or sexual crime is brought by law enforcement to receive care in a hospital. The bill also provides a fair payment rate for hospital-provided services that are the law enforcement jurisdiction’s responsibility but are not covered by a direct contract between the two parties. The bill was jointly developed and supported by WSHA, the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, and the Association of Washington Cities. Read the press release here.
WSHA is preparing a bulletin and plans a webcast to inform hospitals regarding the specifics of the bill, which will go into effect July 24, 2015. When available, the information will be announced in a future Fiscal Watch. (Andrew Busz, email@example.com)
Changes to Washington’s Medical Lien Law
House Bill 1503, signed into law by the Governor and effective July 24, 2015, makes several changes to existing state law on medical liens, RCW 60.44.
These changes require that:
- Third parties collecting on behalf of lien-holders be licensed debt collectors,
- Notice is provided to patients regarding the use of medical liens, and
- Liens are released within 30 days of payment and acceptance of the amount due under the lien.
WSHA supported the additional transparency and notice requirements and worked closely with the bill’s sponsor to remove other burdensome and unsuitable sections. WSHA will provide a more detailed bulletin on HB 1503 in the coming weeks. (Zosia Stanley, 206-216-2511)
Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act Includes Help to Rural Hospitals
The recently passed Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) includes several provisions aiding rural hospitals. The act repeals the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which eliminates what would have been a significant reduction to Medicare physician payment and reauthorizes the Children’s Health Insurance Program, critical to maintaining health coverage for millions of children.
Lesser known provisions are the extension of payments to Medicare low-volume hospitals and Medicare-dependent hospitals through calendar year 2017. The act also extends the therapy caps exceptions process for Medicare Physical Therapy (PT), Occupational Therapy (OT), and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) services through 2017. This process enables extension of medically necessary therapy beyond the original therapy cap level.
This extension of the exception is particularly important to patients who receive therapy services from critical access hospitals (CAHs). Since patient coinsurance for outpatient services at CAHs is calculated based on charges rather than payment amount, the therapy cap would be exhausted earlier than in other settings in the absence of the exception process. Additional information is available on the Therapy Services web page of the CMS web site. (Andrew Busz, firstname.lastname@example.org)