CMS Final Rule Postpones NOTICE Act Implementation

Updates to a new program will delay the original NOTICE implementation date.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently published a final rule with impacts reaching into next year. Though the inpatient rule is for fiscal year 2017, it's based on decisions made a year ago. McKnight's recently noted that the Notice of Observation, Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act, or NOTICE, is among these.

Under NOTICE, hospitals will be required to tell Medicare beneficiaries of their outpatient status within 36 hours upon discharge or sooner.  This observation notice would contain coverage information, among other details. The original timeline would have required implementation on August 6, 2016, but the new rule would establish October 1 as the effective date instead.

It is now likely that NOTICE won't be implemented until after this date. The related Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice or MOON is also facing a new guidance timeline via a 30-day public comment period on August 22.

During a remote town hall session on December 21, 2015, Roslyne Schulman of the American Hospital Association addressed the demands associated with the new rules.

"With regard to the implementation timeline, hospitals will need an adequate amount of time to develop and operationalize the policies and procedures to implement the NOTICE Act," Schulman said, according to the official transcript. "So we believe that a six-month period after the final rule is issued would provide hospitals of the time necessary to do this."

So what does all of this mean for long term care facilities? Individuals who leave a hospital for a short stay in a skilled nursing center will now know what their hospital status is, which could save them thousands of dollars.

This information will be beneficial for the nursing home prior to admission in order to determine if the resident meets the technical eligibility for Medicare. This includes the three night stay requirement as an inpatient and if they have Medicare days to use.

Partnering with a long term care consultant can help facilities adapt and prepare for changing legislation. To learn more about how these changes could potentially affect your facility, contact LW Consulting, Inc. at 800.320.5401 or check out our industry page to learn more about how we are preparing facilities like yours for success.

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