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  • CMS Will Test Payment Increases to Selected SNFs

    In its continuing search for ways to reduce avoidable hospitalizations among skilled nursing facility (SNF) patients, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will test a new payment system that would increase some payments and reward multidisciplinary care planning.

    The test, set to launch in the fall of 2016, would increase payments to physicians conducting a comprehensive assessment in an SNF to the same amount they receive for providing the assessment in a hospital, according to a CMS news release. The new model would also provide new payments to practitioners "for engagement in multidisciplinary care planning activities," and for treatment of 6 conditions that CMS says are linked to 80% of avoidable hospital admissions: pneumonia, dehydration, congestive heart failure, urinary tract infections, skin ulcers, and asthma.

    CMS plans to select approximately 250 SNFs to participate in the model, which will apply to both Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries.

    The test system will be coordinated through Enhanced Care and Coordination Providers (ECCPs), CMS-funded groups that have been working with the agency since 2012 to reduce avoidable hospitalizations for SNF patients. A total of 7 ECCPs have been collaborating with SNFs to provide training and preventive services; now 6 of those 7 will serve as hubs for the new payment model.

    The 6 participating ECCPs are the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation, HealthInsight of Nevada, Indiana University, the Curators of the University of Missouri, The Greater New York Hospital Foundation, and Pennsylvania-based UPMC Community Provider Services.

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