CMS proposes 1.3% pay bump for skilled nursing facilities, several new quality measures

The Biden administration is proposing a $444 million increase in Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities for the federal fiscal year 2022, a roughly 1% increase compared to current levels.

The proposed payment rule, released late Thursday by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), also includes new quality requirements that aim to close health equity gaps.

The pay bump of approximately $444 million doesn’t incorporate reductions in the Value-Based Purchasing Program that ties incentive payments to the quality of care provided.

CMS is also proposing two new measures to the quality reporting program for nursing facilities. The program could penalize nursing facilities by a 2% payment reduction if they do not meet the quality metrics.

The agency is seeking feedback on how to create a new measure that aims to address racial and health equity gaps.

One area the agency wants information on is expanding measure development and the collection of new patient data that address gaps in health equity, CMS said in a press release.

The agency is also proposing the adoption of a new claims-based measure to address health-associated infections that require hospitalization.

The proposed measure “uses Medicare fee-for-service claims data to estimate the rate of HAIs that are acquired during SNF care and result in hospitalization,” CMS said. “Some of the [hospital-acquired infections] identified int his measure include sepsis, urinary tract infection and pneumonia.”

CMS said the goal of the proposed measure is to better assess the nursing facilities compared to a national average of hospital-acquired infections.

CMS is also proposing the adoption of a new measure that aims to require skilled nursing facilities to report vaccination coverage of healthcare personnel. The agency proposed that rehabilitation and psychiatric facilities measure the same thing.

Comments on the rule are due June 7.

In a separate proposed payment rule, CMS also is floating a 2.3% increase in payments to hospice facilities for the federal fiscal year, which starts Oct. 1.