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Legislation Updates

Feb 10, 2016
  • On January 14, 2016, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) had a discussion on “Assessing Payment Adequacy and Updating Payments: Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities Services (IRFs).” After a lengthy discussion, the Commission unanimously recommended that Congress eliminate the update to the payment rate for FY 2017; that the Secretary conduct focused medical record review of IRFs that have unusual patterns of case mix and coding; and expand the outlier pool to redistribute payments more equitably across cases and providers. MedPAC commissioners also heard presentations on assessing payment adequacy for post-acute care, skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), home health, and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs). 
  • On December 18, 2015, President Obama signed the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2016 that funds the government through September 30, 2016. The FY 2016 Labor/Health and Human Services (HHS)/Education appropriation bill provides $32 billion for the National Institutes of Health (NIH), which is $2 billion more than the 2015 enacted level and the largest increase in NIH funding since FY 2003. It also includes increases of $85 million for the Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies® (BRAIN) Initiative. The bill also provides $3.7 billion for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), which is the same as the 2015 enacted level. The bill continues a provision to prevent the CMS program management appropriation account from being used to support risk corridor payments and the bill continues to rescind mandatory funding from the Independent Payment Advisory Board. Finally, the bill provides $7.2 billion for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which is $308 million more than the 2015 enacted level. This includes $70 million to increase efforts to combat prescription drug overdose abuse, which is triple of last year’s funding level.
  • On December 21, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) published a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) in the Federal Register that would implement the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014 that calls for transfer of the newly-named National Institute on Disability, Independent Living, and Rehabilitation Research (NIDILRR) from the Department of Education to the Administration for Community Living (ACL) of the Department of HHS. The Academy will work with the DRRC to draft a comment letter on the proposed rule.  

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