MedPAC Holds March 2018 Public Meetings

Background
On Thursday, March 1, 2018, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) met as scheduled for their March public meeting in Washington, DC. The purpose of this and other public meetings of MedPAC is for the commissioners to review the issues and challenges facing the Medicare program and then make policy recommendations to Congress.
What You Need To Know
Unified Payment System for Post-Acute Care (U-PAC)
The IMPACT Act of 2014 requires the commission to develop a unified, site-neutral prospective payment system (PPS) spanning the four PAC settings (SNF, IRF, LTACH, and HH) that bases payment on patient characteristics rather than the site of service. During the March MedPAC meeting, the following was discussed:
  • MedPAC believes a U-PAC could begin to be implemented in 2021; blending of current payment rates across PAC settings to correct for biases could begin as early as 2019, prior to the implementation of the U-PAC
  • MedPAC acknowledged further analysis was needed pertaining to sequential stay payments
    • Sequential stays are back-to-back stays in a PAC setting, such as a home health episode that follows a SNF stay or multiple home health episodes occurring consecutively
    • The later stay in a sequence is typically less costly and MedPAC believes payments for these stays should be adjusted accordingly
  • MedPAC discussed the possibility of a bundled payment option under the U-PAC, and there was consensus that further analysis of this model is needed
    • A bundled payment would entail a third-party entity, such as a convener, who would manage and adjudicate payment to providers for episodes of care across the PAC settings
Encouraging Medicare Beneficiaries to Use Higher-Quality Post-Acute Care Providers
At Medicare Beneficiaries to Use Higher-Quality Post-Acute Care Providers a previous MedPAC meeting the Commission reviewed hospital discharge planning, and the factors that influence beneficiary decision making when selecting a PAC provider. Commissioners concluded that permitting hospitals to assist beneficiaries with identifying higher-quality PAC providers could be beneficial for both patients and the Medicare program. During the March meeting, MedPAC discussed:
  • A potential framework for maintaining beneficiary freedom of choice while providing more useful information on the quality of PAC providers
  • MedPAC commissioners were split on whether or not the framework for identifying higher-quality PAC providers should be prescriptive or flexible
    • Prescriptive: CMS would set quality measures which identify higher-quality PAC providers
    • Flexible: discharging hospitals would set quality measures which identify higher-quality PAC providers
PTS will continue to monitor for updates and keep our valued partners informed.
If you have any questions, please contact Matt Nash, Vice President of Strategic Development: mnash@preftherapy.com