May, 2021|Proposed rule would require hospitals to report vaccination rates among healthcare staff
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule (CMS-1752-P) for inpatient and long-term care hospitals that builds on the Biden Administration’s key priorities to close health care equity gaps and provide greater accessibility to care.
Major provisions in the proposed rule would fund medical residency positions in hospitals in rural and underserved communities to address workforce shortages, and require hospitals to report COVID-19 vaccination rates among their workers to contain the spread of the virus.
In accordance with the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2021, CMS is proposing to distribute 1,000 additional physician residency slots to qualifying hospitals, phasing in 200 slots per year over five years. CMS estimates that the additional funding for these additional residency slots, once fully phased in, will total approximately $0.3 billion each year to fund medical residency positions in hospitals to address the workforce shortages.
In this proposed rule, CMS is soliciting feedback on opportunities to leverage diverse sets of data (race, Medicare/Medicaid dual eligible status, disability status, LGBTQ+, socioeconomic status, etc.) and new methodological approaches to advance equity through the quality measurement and value-based purchasing programs.
Additionally, the rule proposes to update Medicare fee-for-service payment rates and policies for acute care inpatient hospitals and long-term care hospitals for fiscal year 2022. CMS estimates total Medicare spending on acute care inpatient hospital services will increase by about $2.5 billion in fiscal year 2022.
Strengthening COVID-19 Ongoing Response
In November 2020, CMS established the New COVID-19 Treatments Add-on Payment (NCTAP) to mitigate any potential financial disincentives for hospitals to provide new COVID-19 treatments during the PHE. The proposed rule would extend the NCTAP for certain eligible technologies through the end of the fiscal year in which the PHE ends.
CMS is proposing the adoption of the COVID-19 Vaccination Coverage among Healthcare Personnel (HCP) Measure to require hospitals to report COVID-19 vaccinations of workers in their facilities.
Additionally, CMS is proposing to modify the Promoting Interoperability program requirements for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to expand reporting within the Public Health and Clinical Data Exchange Objective. The proposal would require hospitals to report on all four of the following measures: Syndromic Surveillance Reporting, Immunization Registry Reporting, Electronic Case Reporting, and Electronic Reportable Laboratory Result Reporting.
Requiring hospitals to report these four measures would help to prepare public health agencies to respond to future health threats and a long-term COVID-19 recovery by strengthening public health functions, including early warning surveillance, case surveillance, and vaccine uptake which will increase the information available to help hospitals better serve their patients.