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Category: Wage Index

Inpatient Prospective Payment System Proposed Rule – FFY 2023

Toyon’s FFY 2023 Proposed Rule Dashboard Analysis

CMS-1771-P drafted on 4/18/2022; Published in the Federal Register on 5/10/2022
 
Toyon is pleased to provide our summary of Medicare’s Inpatient Prospect Payment System (IPPS) and the Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) PPS for Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2023 (discharges on or after October 1, 2022). The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued Proposed Rule updates on Medicare payment policies and rates for hospitals on May 10, 2022. Comments are due to CMS no later than 5 p.m. EDT on June 17, 2022. In commenting, please refer to file code CMS–1771–P. Comments may be sent electronically at https://www.regulations.gov/ (see instructions under the ‘‘submit a comment’’ tab). Comments may also be submitted by mail to: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Department of Health and Human Services, Attention: CMS–1771–P, P.O. Box 8013, Baltimore, MD 21244–1850.
 
Toyon’s summary is focused on areas of the Proposed Rule directly impacting Medicare reimbursement, including Toyon’s Take on certain areas aimed to assist hospitals with comments to CMS. Please also see Toyon’s FFY 2023 Proposed Rule Dashboard Analysis for an analysis of Proposed FFY 2023 IPPS Payments for your hospital(s).
 
1.    National Medicare IPPS Estimates
CMS estimates hospitals are estimated to receive an overall change of -$300 million in IPPS payments, as compared to FFY 2022, resulting from:
  • + $700 million net increase in operating payments, including the proposed -$563 million reduction to UC DSH. 
  •  – $1 billion net decrease in payments related to payment changes in programs for new technology[1], low volume hospitals, GME, and capital.
Toyon’s Take
Toyon recommends providers comment to CMS requesting an increase to the market basket greater than the proposed increase of 3.1%. Furthermore, it is recommended CMS use its authority to eliminate the -0.4% ACA Productivity Adjustment cut for any year impacted by the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (PHE). 
 
At minimum, it is recommended providers request a market basket adjustment for a net increase of at least 5%. Toyon’s analysis of hospital costs from FFY 2020 vs. FFY 2019 HCRIS shows an increase in hospital expenses of 5.1%[4]. Examples of cost increases CMS should apply in the market basket update, include, but are not limited to, increased labor costs. Due to COVID-19, hospitals are paying over 200% for travel nurses with additional losses ranging from $5 million to $9 million per hospital due to nursing turnover[5]. Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting an increase to the market basket citing the increased cost of labor, as well as any other “stranded costs of COVID-19,” like rising insurance premiums. 
 
For more information, please contact Fred Fisher at 888.514.9312 or fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com.
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[1] CMS Proposes to discontinue 24 Technologies past the three-year window as eligible for New Technology Payment.
[2] MACRA adjustment applied after the Update Factor, combined with other budget neutrality adjustments computing the FFY 2023 Standardized Rate. 
[4] Healthcare Cost Report Information System (HCRIS), comparison of expenses reported on WS A Line 118, Column 7 for 4,056 hospitals (acute care, critical access and LTCHs) with data in FFY 2018 through FFY 2020. 
 
2.    Standardized Base Rates
CMS proposes a net increase of 2.7% to hospital base rates, after budget neutrality, for hospitals that comply with the CMS quality reporting program (QRP). There is also a 1.6% increase in the federal capital rate. As it has done in prior years, CMS will reduce payments to those hospitals which do not meet Hospital Inpatient Quality (IQR) or meaningful Electronic Health Record (EHR) requirements.
 
CMS provides two separate sets of base rates and variables for FFY 2023 rate setting. For FFY 2023, CMS proposes rates are updated to project fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations in FFY 2023 than in base-year data from FFY 2021 (i.e., FFY 2021 MEDPAR data[1]). In CMS’s alternative rates, CMS does not make an adjustment projecting a decline COVID-19 hospitalizations from FFY 2021 to FFY 2023. 
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[1] Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MEDPAR): Data on Medicare beneficiaries using hospital inpatient services at https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/MedicareFeeforSvcPartsAB/MEDPAR
 
For more information, please contact Scott Besler at 888.514.9312 or scott.besler@toyonassociates.com.
 
3.    Base Year Data for Discharge and Case Mix Index (CMI) Projections
For projecting reimbursement in FFY 2023, CMS provides discharges and CMI from 2021 (i.e., MEDPAR data) impacted by COVID-19. In FFY 2022, CMS provided Medicare discharges and CMI using pre-COVID-19 data (2019). In Toyon’s Analysis Proposed FFY 2023 payments, we hold discharges and CMI constant using the values provided in the FFY 2023 Proposed Rule. 
 
Toyon’s Take
Projecting Medicare discharges and acuity for FFY 2023 is difficult due to aberrant market conditions caused by the COVID-19 PHE. As hospitals project revenue for FFY 2023, Toyon recommends hospitals perform a current analysis of projected discharges and CMI. CMS’s projections of discharges and CMI values are based on historical data, per the DRG Impact File published here.
 
For more information, please contact Fred Fisher at 888.514.9312 or fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com.
 
4.    Proposed FFY 2023 DRG Weights and Outlier Cost Threshold
To account for the anticipated decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations of Medicare beneficiaries as compared to FFY 2021 base-year data, CMS proposes to calculate DRG relative weights by averaging rates with one set including COVID-19 diagnoses, and the other set excluding COVID-19 diagnoses. CMS seeks comment on whether rates should not be calculated using an average with and without COVID-19 diagnoses. CMS also proposes a permanent threshold for DRG weight changes, whereby the relative weight for a MS-DRG is capped at no more than ten percent reduction in a given fiscal year.
 
The FFY 2023 cost outlier threshold is proposed at $43,214 using charge inflation factors prior to the COVID-19 PHE as a more reasonable approximation of the increase in costs that will occur from FY 2021 to FY 2023.  If COVID-19 inflation was included, the fixed cost threshold would be abnormally high at $58,798. The FFY 2023 proposed outlier threshold represents a decrease in outlier payments of 1.8%, so that outlier payments are 5.1% of total estimated Medicare inpatient payments. 
 
Toyon’s Take
Toyon’s Analysis Proposed FFY 2023 payments estimates a national increase of $3 million (0.0025%) comparing CMS’s alternative rates to proposed rates. Although CMS’s alternative standard base rates are higher than the proposed rates (see Table 4 above), using data in CMS’s FY 2023 Proposed Rule Alternatives Considered Impact File (ZIP), Toyon estimates 1,060 hospitals experience a reduction in Medicare payments using alternative data. Toyon estimates these hospitals experience a reduction due to the respective DRG weights used to project case mix indices and outlier payments.
 
Toyon also recommends hospitals evaluate internal Medicare claim data under FFY2023 Table 5 Proposed and Alternative DRG weights for impacts on reimbursement.
 
For more information, please contact Scott Besler at 888.514.9312 or scott.besler@toyonassociates.com.
 
5.    Uncompensated Care (UC) DSH
CMS proposes to decrease Medicare UC DSH payments by -$563 million, to $6.6 billion in FFY 2023. National UC DSH payments are declining primarily due to COVID-19 data that is applied to CMS’s projection of FFY 2023 DSH expenditures[1].  
 
Factor 1
CMS first estimates UC DSH funding by calculating baseline empirical DSH payments from FFY 2019[2], updated by “future value” factors on patient volume and acuity for FFY 2023. The Factor 1 updates are therefore impacted by the COVID-19 PHE and decrease the baseline of empirical DSH payments by -$542 million (impact before the 75% ACA reduction). Contrary to FFY 2023, in FFY 2022 and FFY 2021, the Factor 1 update increased projected DSH expenditures by $103 million and 1.2 billion, respectively.
 
Factor 2
After CMS estimates empirical DSH payments in Factor 1, 75% of this amount is adjusted by “Factor 2.”  Factor 2 estimates the change in the uninsured population since the ACA. For FFY 2023, CMS estimates the uninsured rate at 9.2% compared to 14% in 2013 (before the ACA), resulting in a Factor 2 adjustment of 65.71%.
 

Factor 3
Factor 3 is the final step in determining each DSH hospital’s UC DSH payment. For most DSH hospitals[3], Factor 3 represents a “percent to total” of hospital UC Cost (Worksheet S-10, Line 30) compared to UC Cost for all DSH hospitals. A hospital’s “percent of total cost” is applied against national UC DSH Funding (i.e., $6.5 billion proposed for FFY 2023) to determine the hospital’s UC DSH payment. 
 
CMS proposes a significant change in FFY 2023 applying an average UC cost from FFY 2018 and FFY 2019[4] to determine Factor 3.  For FFY 2024 and forward, CMS proposes to use a three-year average of UC cost (i.e., FFY 2018, FFY 2019 and FFY 2020) to determine each DSH hospital’s Factor 3. CMS states using multiple years of UC cost “addresses concerns from stakeholders regarding year-to-year fluctuations in uncompensated care payments.” CMS’s proposal using multiple base years is a departure from the Agency’s prior support for a single base year of audited UC cost as the best available data to determine Factor 3.

CMS proposes to make interim UC DSH payments in FFY 2023 based on average discharges from FFY 2018, FFY 2019 and FFY 2021. The December 2021 HCRIS file was used for each DSH hospital’s WS S-10 UC costs, and CMS intends to use the March 2022 HCRIS update for the FFY 2023 Final Rule. CMS may use more recent UC cost data after the March 2022 HCRIS, if available. 
 
Supplemental UC DSH Fund
CMS proposes a separate $92 million Supplemental UC DSH fund for Indian Health Service (IHS)/Tribal and Puerto Rico hospitals in FFY 2023.  CMS proposes to no longer use low-income days as the Factor 3 proxy for these DSH hospitals. In FFY 2023 IHS/Tribal and Puerto Rico hospitals receive FFY 2023 Supplemental UC DSH payments using FFY 2022 UC DSH payments adjusted by “one plus the percent change” in total uncompensated care. CMS is seeking comment on alternatives for determining Factor 3 for IHS/Tribal and Puerto Rico hospitals. 
 
Verification of Worksheet S-10 UC cost
Hospitals have until July 8, 2022 to notify CMS for issues related to mergers and/or to report potential upload discrepancies due to MAC mishandling of Worksheet S-10 data during the report submission process (for example, report not reflecting audit results due to MAC mishandling or most recent report differs from previously accepted amended report due to MAC mishandling). Please see CMS’s UC DSH public use file [5], and hospitals may contact CMS at Section3133DSH@cms.hhs.gov to request corrections.
 
Toyon’s Take
Decreasing UC DSH funding is directly related to CMS’s estimate “future value” DSH expenditures in FFY 2023, impacted by COVID-19 PHE data.  National UC DSH funding is decreasing, while on the other hand, hospital UC costs are increasing. For instance, UC costs increased by $1.1 billion from FFY 2018 to FFY 2019, while the FFY 2023 UC DSH fund decreased by -$563 million. The prior year, comparing FFY 2022 to FFY 2021, UC costs increased by $1.2 billion, while the UC DSH fund decreased by -$1.1 billion. 
For appropriate funding to support care to critically vulnerable patients and improved outcomes, Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting additional UC DSH funding in FFY 2023, including, but not limited to:
 
“Factor 1” Adjustments
  • Discharge Factor – The proposed FFY 2023 Factor 1 discharge adjustment is 7 percentage points less in FFY 2023 as compared to FFY 2022.  In other words, CMS is reducing UC DSH payments based on a projection of less discharges in FFY 2023 than in FFY 2022.  CMS notes the data used for FFY 2023 is based on preliminary data (i.e., MEDPAR[6]), which likely includes claims from 2021 and approximately three months of 2022.
 
Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting an increase in the Factor 1 discharge adjustment. It is recommended CMS consider the limitation of any data in latter parts of CY 2021 and early CY 2022 used in the projection of discharges in FFY 2023. Providers may comment requesting CMS normalize any data used in its Factor 1 projections from CY 2021 and CY 2022 impacted by the COVID-19 Omicron variant. Furthermore, Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting an increase to the Factor 1 discharge adjustment citing CMS’s Advanced and Final Notice of 2023 Medicare Advantage rates[7] that “utilization will begin to rebound.” 
 
  • Case Mix Factor – The Factor 1 update for the CMI adjustment is a reduction of 0.9900 for FFY 2022 and FFY 2023 (the FFY 2021 CMI adjustment factor is 1.0290). Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting an increase to the Factor 1 CMI adjustment. It is recommended CMS consider recent trends on increased length of stay[8] and higher acuity of care resulting from delayed procedures for the projected CMI update in FFY 2023. 
 
“Factor 2” Adjustment
  • Declining Medicaid Enrollment – The CARES Act prohibits states from determining Medicaid eligibility for Medicaid beneficiaries through the PHE[9]. As the PHE is planned to end, it is estimated between 14 million[10] and 15 million[11] will lose Medicaid coverage, thus increasing the uninsured population. Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting an increase to “Factor 2” adjustment for these impending additional uninsured patients. 
 
  • American Rescue Plan (ARP) Enhanced Exchange Subsidies – It is projected the uninsured population will grow by another 3 million[12] as the ARP subsidies expire on December 31, 2022. Toyon recommends hospitals comment to CMS requesting an increase to “Factor 2” adjustment for these impending additional uninsured patients. 
 
Revisions to FFY 2018 and FFY 2019 UC Costs
Although FFY 2018 and FFY 2019 UC cost data is audited, hospitals did not anticipate the results of the audits would apply for multiple years of reimbursement. In prior rule making, CMS supported the use of one base year in the determination of hospital UC DSH payments. Furthermore, there is no administrative or judicial review of UC DSH payments[13], so any potential misreporting of UC cost cannot be remedied through a future appeal. Toyon recommends hospitals request CMS to allow material revisions of FFY 2018 and FFY 2019 UC cost data for FFY 2023 and the subsequent federal years this data is used for UC DSH payments.  
 
For more information, please contact Fred Fisher at 888.514.9312 or fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com.
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[1] Factor 1 updates include Market Basket (Update Factor component), ACA Payment Reductions (Update Factor component), Multifactor Productivity Adjustment (Update Factor component), Documentation and Coding (Update Factor component), Discharge Factor, Case-Mix Index Factor, and an Other Factor. 
[2] Office of the Actuary’s Medicare DSH estimates were based on FFY 2019 data from the September 2021 update of the Medicare Hospital Cost Report Information System (HCRIS) and the FY 2022 IPPS/LTCH PPS final rule IPPS Impact File, published in conjunction with the publication of the FY 2022 IPPS/LTCH PPS final rule.
[3] With the exception of IHS and Tribal hospitals.
[4] If a hospital does not have data for combined years, CMS determines Factor 3 based on an average of the hospital’s available data.
[5] CMS file name “FY 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule: Medicare DSH Supplemental Data File (ZIP)”
[6] Medicare Provider Analysis and Review (MedPAR): Data on Medicare beneficiaries using hospital inpatient services at https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/MedicareFeeforSvcPartsAB/MEDPAR
[9]Currently scheduled to expire in mid-July 2022, per Kaiser Family Foundation Article
[13] Codified at 42 USC 1395ww(r)(3) – There shall be no administrative or judicial review under section 1869, section 1878, or otherwise of the following: ‘‘(A) Any estimate of the Secretary for purposes of determining the factors described in paragraph (2)… ‘‘(B) Any period selected by the Secretary for such purposes.”

6.    Empirical DSH
For FFY 2023, CMS proposes changes to its interpretation of “regarded as eligible” to the Section 1115 Waiver days. “Regarded as eligible” relates to:
 
Patients who receive health insurance through a section 1115 demonstration itself or purchase such health insurance with premium assistance authorized by a section 1115 demonstration, where state expenditures may be matched with Title XIX funds.
 
CMS proposes to allow Section 1115 days in the DSH fraction of individuals obtaining insurance coverage with Essential Health Benefits[1] (EHB), if bought with premium assistance, for which the premium assistance is equal to or greater than 90 percent of the cost of the coverage.  Patients must not be entitled to Medicare Part A coverage.
 
CMS also proposes Section 1115 days from a State uncompensated care payment are not allowable and excluded from the Medicaid fraction.
 
Toyon’s Take
Section 1115 Waiver demonstrations are state-specific and each state has their own individual waiver plans. It is important providers track and manage each state’s eligible waiver plans to include these patient days in the DSH Medicaid fraction. Although CMS proposed changes to Section 1115 in the FFY 2022 Proposed Rule, nothing was finalized. Therefore, any comments submitted in FFY 2022 should be again submitted in FFY 2023. Toyon is considering posting a comment to CMS asking for further clarification and transparency on this proposal. Toyon will continue to monitor any changes in policies and notify clients of updates. 
 
For more information, please contact Dylan Chinea at 925.685.9312, ext. 3121 or dylan.chinea@toyonassociates.com.
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[1]Meeting the EHB requirements set forth in 42 CFR part 440, subpart C, for an Alternative Benefit Plan

7.    Wage Index
Based on the CMS proposed rates for FFY 2023, the occupational-mix adjusted national average hourly wage is estimated to be $47.74[1], representing an increase of 2.9% from FFY 2022 (from FFY 2021 to FFY 2022 the AHW increase was 2.6%).
 
Continuation of Prior Year Wage Index Policy Changes
CMS proposed and finalized a policy in FFY 2020 to reduce wage index high-to-low disparities by increasing the values for low wage index hospitals below the 25th percentile (or a WIF of 0.8401 in FFY 2023). In FFY2020, CMS anticipated that it would continue this policy for at least four years, acknowledging that providers in these lower-quartile states would improve employee compensation within four years as a result of the higher wage index. Accordingly, CMS is proposing to continue this policy in FFY 2023, although CMS did not acknowledge FFY 2023 as the final year of this policy. Consistent with the finalized policy in previous years, in FFY 2023 CMS will “fund” this policy by applying a uniform budget neutrality adjustment.
 
Also in FFY 2020, CMS proposed and finalized a change to the rural floor calculation by removing urban-to-rural reclassifications from the statewide rural floor. CMS is proposing to continue this policy in FFY 2023 so that state rural floors would be calculated without including the wage data of urban hospitals that have reclassified as rural. This is despite a recent court case (Citrus HMA, LLC, d/b/a Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center v. Becerra) where the court found that CMS did not have the authority to establish a rural floor lower than the rural wage index for a state. CMS makes reference in the Proposed Rule that it may decide to take a different approach in the final rule for this policy, depending on public comments or developments in the court proceedings.
 
In FFY 2023, as required by Section 9831 of the American Rescue Plan of 2021 enacted on March 11, 2021, CMS proposed to permanently reinstate the imputed rural floor wage index calculation for hospitals located in all-urban States, which refers to States without designated rural areas. The statute specifies that the adjustment pertaining to the imputed rural floor policy shall not be applied in a budget neutral manner, which means that any increase to the wage index for these all-urban States will not be offset by a decrease to the standardized amount or applied to wage indexes. In the FFY 2023 Proposed Rule, CMS continues to apply the imputed rural floor to the all-urban States and further, provides the calculation using the two available methodologies that it used beginning in FFY 2013 prior to the previous imputed rural floor policy expiration in FFY2018.
 
For CMS’s FFY 2023 Proposed Rule Imputed State Floors, refer to this link and specifically Proposed Rule Data File no. 10.
 
Proposed Permanent Cap Policy for Wage Index
As a result of various policy changes to the wage index starting in FFY 2020 and continuing into FFY 2023, CMS has implemented a “transition” policy which included a cap of 5% on the decrease of any hospital’s wage index from the prior year. For instance, in FFY 2022, a hospital could not receive a final wage index that was less than 5% of what it received in FFY 2021.
 
As a result of comments received during the FFY 2022 rulemaking, for FFY 2023 and subsequent years, CMS is proposing a permanent cap “to smooth year-to-year decreases in hospitals’ wage indexes” regardless of circumstances causing a hospital’s decline. CMS is proposing to implement the proposed wage index cap policy in a budget neutral manner to be applied to the standardized amount each fiscal year, which is consistent with similar past transition policies involving a cap on wage index decreases. The proposed budget neutrality adjustment due to wage index cap policy is 0.999563.
 
CMS Table 2, which can be found here, provides the proposed FFY 2023 WIFs by provider and includes application of the bottom-quartile wage index adjustment and permanent 5% cap policy.
 
 
Toyon’s Take
The continuation of the policy changes implemented by CMS over the course of the last three years of rulemaking was anticipated, despite recent court cases ruling CMS’s lack of authority to implement such policy changes. It will be interesting to see if CMS makes a change to the policies as a result of these court proceedings upon issuance of the FFY 2023 Final Rule later this summer. That said, we appreciate CMS’s consideration to apply a permanent wage index cap, particularly given the ongoing PHE. It remains to be seen how the cap will impact labor rates and the wage index on a prospective basis. 
 
Important Dates regarding Wage Index
  • With the public display release of the FFY 2023 Proposed Rule on April 18, 2022, the specified “lock-in” date for hospitals to be included in the rural wage index calculation (upon rural redesignation) for FFY2023 is June 17, 2022. In addition, Medicare Geographic Classification Review Board (MGCRB) reclassification terminations and/or withdrawals will need to be submitted to the MGCRB no later than 45 days after the Proposed Rule was published in the Federal Register, which was May 10, 2022, thereby confirming a deadline of June 24, 2022.
  • Toyon Reminder: Reclassified hospitals are not eligible to receive an out-migration factor adjustment, so hospitals that are expected to receive a rural floor wage index (imputed or Statewide rural floor) should consider reclassification withdrawal to secure an outmigration adjustment.
 
For more information, please contact Ryan Sader at 888.514.9312 or ryan.sader@toyonassociates.com.
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[1] Estimated per updated FY 2023 April 29, 2022 Wage Index PUF data.

 
8.    Graduate Medical Education (GME)
 
Weighted Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Caps
CMS is proposing to modify the cost report formula for calculating Direct GME payments in cases where a hospital’s FTE count exceeds its FTE cap. CMS estimates the impact of this modified policy at $170 million in FFY 2023. 
 
Since the original statutory caps were implemented using unweighted FTEs, CMS has historically applied the cap to weighted FTEs by multiplying the ratio of a hospital’s cap to its total unweighted FTEs, by its weighted FTE counts, to arrive at capped weighted FTEs. This formula was disadvantageous to many hospitals with a material number of residents who exceeded their initial residency period (e.g., fellows). 
Effective retroactively for cost reporting periods beginning on or after October 1, 2001, CMS proposes a hospital’s total weighted FTE count equal to the FTE cap if a hospital’s:
  • unweighted FTE count exceeds the FTE cap, and
  • weighted FTE count also exceeds the FTE cap.
CMS’s proposal is in response to a case decision where the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia struck down CMS’s method of calculating Direct GME payments to teaching hospitals whose FTE resident counts exceeded their FTE cap.
 
CMS proposes the modified policy is applied prospectively for all teaching hospitals and retroactively to the providers and years included in the GME case. Specifically, the proposed rules states:
 
“Because we are proposing to establish this policy retroactively, it would cover cost reporting periods for which many NPRs have already been final settled. Consistent with Section 405.1885(c)(2), any final rule retroactively adopting the proposed new policy would not be the basis for reopening final settled NPRs.”
 
Table 8 below illustrates an example of the Direct GME calculation where the hospital exceeds the cap.
 
GME Affiliated Group Agreements for Certain Rural Training Tracks
CMS is proposing to allow urban and rural hospitals that participate in the same separately accredited 1-2 family medicine rural training track (RTT) program[1], that already have RTT FTE limitations, to enter into “Rural Track Medicare GME Affiliation Agreements”. Programs that are not separately accredited in the 1-2 format and that are not in family medicine, would not be permitted to enter into these agreements under CMS’s proposal.
 
The Proposed Rule requires the responsible representatives of each urban and rural hospital entering into the RTT Medicare GME affiliation agreement to attest that each participating hospital’s FTE counts and RTT FTE limitations in the agreement do not reflect residents or caps associated with programs other than the RTT program. CMS proposes to only allow urban and rural hospitals to participate in rural track Medicare GME affiliated groups if they have rural track FTE limitations in place prior to October 1, 2022. Eligible urban and rural hospitals may enter into RTT Medicare GME affiliation agreements effective with the July 1, 2023 academic year.
 
Toyon’s Take
The Proposed Rule language on weighted FTE counts applies to open cost reports dating back to FFY 2002. Toyon recommends that teaching hospitals affected by this rule request that total weighted FTE counts be adjusted to equal the FTE cap for all open[2] cost report years. If the weighted FTE count was listed as a protested item on the hospital’s filed cost report, Toyon recommends teaching hospitals pursue the opportunity to increase their GME FTE count through cost report amendments and/or re-openings. CMS is not likely to restate weighted GME counts for cost reports that have already been issued an NPR, unless the hospital appealed this issue. 
 
For more information, please contact Tom Hubner at 888.514.9312 or tom.hubner@toyonassociates.com.
 
[1] 1-2 RTT format is 1 year of training in a large, urban residency program followed by 2 years in a rural community.
[2] Cost report years where an NPR has not been issued or currently under appeal.
 

9.    Low-Volume Adjustment Eligibility
For FFY 2023 and subsequent years, CMS proposes a low-volume hospital must be more than 25 road miles from another subsection (d) hospital and have less than 200 total discharges during the fiscal year. This proposal reflects an “Expiration of Temporary Changes to Low-Volume Hospital Payment Policy” and reverts back to Section 1886(d)(12)(C)(i) of the Act. 
 
In FFYs 2019 through 2022, hospitals were eligible for a Low-Volume Adjustment if the hospital was more than 15 road miles from another subsection (d) hospital (as compared to 25 miles) and has less than 500 total discharges (as compared to 200 discharges) during the fiscal year. 
Hospitals have until September 1, 2022 to request low volume status for FFY 2023. 
 
For more information, please contact Robert Howey at 888.514.9312 or robert.howey@toyonassociates.com
 

10.    Medicare Dependent Hospital (MDH) Status Expiration
Unless otherwise extended by law, the MDH status is set to expire effective FFY 2023. CMS notes in the past, these payments have been extended by legislation, but if they were to expire the estimated impact to hospital payments is-$600 million.
For more information, please contact Fred Fisher at 888.514.9312 or fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com.
 
11.    Medicare Cost Reporting and Deferred Compensation
The FFY 2023 Proposed Rule includes a section clarifying the reporting of deferred compensated expense to be codified at 413.99(a)(3). CMS clarifies allowable Non-Qualified Deferred Compensation Plan costs are based on reasonable benefits paid to participating employees. Allowable Defined Contribution plan costs are based on reasonable contributions to Defined Contribution accounts. 
 
For more information, please contact Ryan Sader at 888.514.9312 or ryan.sader@toyonassociates.com.
 

12.    Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) Adjustment
In FFY 2023, CMS proposes to:
  • Resume the hospital 30-Day, All-Cause, Risk- Standardized Readmission Rate (RSRR) following Pneumonia Hospitalization measure (NQF #0506) for the FFY 2024 program year;
  • Modify the Hospital 30-Day, All-Cause, Risk-Standardized Readmission Rate (RSRR) following Pneumonia Hospitalization measure (NQF #0506) to exclude COVID-19 diagnosed patients from the measure denominator, beginning with the Hospital Specific Reports (HSRs) for the FFY 2023 program year; and
  • Modify of all six condition/procedure-specific measures to include a covariate adjustment for patient history of COVID-19 within one year prior to the index admission beginning with the FFY 2023 program year.
CMS is also seeking comment on provider performance for socially at-risk populations.
 
For more information, please contact Robert Howey at 888.514.9312, ext. 3147 or robert.howey@toyonassociates.com
 

13.    Value Based Purchasing (VBP) Adjustment
For FFY 2023, CMS proposes to not calculate a Total Performance Score (TPS) for any hospital. To comply with statute on the 2% withhold for VBP, CMS is then adding back the same 2% to suppress VBP scores in FFY 2023. Therefore, there is a $0 net impact of VBP in FFY 2023. 
 
For more information, please contact Robert Howey at 888.514.9312, ext. 3147 or robert.howey@toyonassociates.com.
 
14.    Hospital Acquired Conditions (HAC) Adjustment
CMS proposes no hospital receive a HAC adjustment in FFY 2023 by suppressing the
CMS Patient Safety Indictor (PSI) 90 measure and the five CDC National Healthcare Safety Network (NHSN) Healthcare Associated Infection (HAI) measures from the calculation of measure scores and the Total HAC Score. CMS also proposes to not calculate or report CMS PSI 90 measure results for the HAC Reduction Program FY 2023 program year.
 
For more information, please contact Robert Howey at 888.514.9312, ext. 3147 or robert.howey@toyonassociates.com.
 

15.    Inpatient Quality-Reporting (IQR) and Interoperability Programs
For the FFY 2023 IQR, CMS proposes to adopt ten new measures on Medicare spending per beneficiary, health equity, social drivers of health, hip and knee arthroplasty, elective primary risk complication rates, malnutrition, perinatal care Electronic Clinical Quality Measures (eCQM), and opioid-adverse event eCQMs. CMS also proposes additional changes to reporting and collection of other certain measurements.
 
Among other proposed changes to FFY 2023 Interoperability Program, CMS proposes to increase point values for the Electronic Prescriptions, Public Health and Clinical Data objectives. CMS proposes to decrease point values for the Health Information Exchange and Electronic Access for Patients. CMS also proposes to adopt eCQMs, as proposed in for the IQR Program.
 
For more information, please contact Robert Howey at 888.514.9312 or robert.howey@toyonassociates.com.
 

16.     Payment Adjustment for Domestically Made Surgical N95 Respirators
CMS seeks comment on IPPS and OPPS payment adjustments for FFY 2023 and potentially subsequent years that would ensure an adequate supply of domestically produced N95 respirators. CMS provides a list of ten questions for comment concerning this payment adjustment, including questions on reimbursement methods as follows:
  • Bi-weekly interim lump-sum payments to hospitals that would be reconciled at cost report settlement that account for the marginal difference in costs between NIOSH-approved surgical N95 respirators that were wholly domestically made and those that were not; or
  • A claims-based approach where Medicare could establish a MS-DRG add-on payment when hospitals meet or exceed a threshold of purchasing 50 percent or more wholly domestically sourced surgical N95 respirators.
Toyon’s Take
It is recommended providers comment to CMS regarding obstacles determining domestic vs. non-domestic units of N95 respirators. CMS may want to consider industry standards for determining domestic vs. non-domestic N95s in potential future payments.
 
For more information, please contact Fred Fisher at 888.514.9312 or fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com.
 

17.    Proposals on National Healthcare Issues
In addition to proposed changes to Medicare rates, CMS seeks information on important healthcare issues, as listed below. 
  • Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) – CMS seeks comments on how reporting on SDOH may improve the acuity and complexity under the MS-DRGs. CMS also seeks comment through a Request for Information (RFI) on measurements and stratification considerations for addressing health care disparities. 
  • Climate Change – CMS seeks comment through a Request for Information (RFI) on what the Agency can do to help determine the impact of climate change, and actions to reduce emissions. 
  • Maternity Care – CMS proposing measurements indicating hospital quality and safety with a public designation in the Fall of 2023. Hospitals that report “yes” on questions in the Maternal Morbidly Structural Measure would receive the CMS designation.  
  • COVID-19 and Seasonal Influenza Reporting – CMS proposes hospital reporting will continue through April 30, 2024[1], while establishing a process to report data to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in case of another infectious disease PHE.
__________
[1] After the conclusion of the PHE, unless an earlier date is established by the HHS Secretary.

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Estimated FFY 2023 IPPS Medicare Payments for Your Hospital(s)

 

Toyon is pleased to provide complimentary access to estimated hospital payments
per the Medicare
Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2023
IPPS Proposed Rule. 
 
  Please visit Toyon’s website to access a dashboard analysis of estimated FFY 2023 Medicare Fee for Service (FFS) IPPS payments for your hospital(s). Below is an animation on how to interact with the dashboard to see estimated payments and details on CMS IPPS rates for your hospital(s).   

Over the coming weeks, Toyon will provide a summary with further insight into the FFY 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule. You and your team are also invited to Toyon’s FFY 2023 IPPS Webinar on Friday, May 20, from 10 a.m. PDT to 11 a.m. PDT. To sign up for the IPPS Proposed Rule Webinar, please register here.    
 
Below are Toyon’s initial observations impacting Proposed FFY 2023 IPPS rates: 
  • Medicare discharges and Case Mix Indices (CMI) – For projecting future reimbursement, CMS provides discharges and CMI from 2021 (i.e., MEDPAR data) impacted by COVID-19. In FFY 2022, CMS provided Medicare discharges and CMI using pre-COVID-19 data (2019). In the dashboard reports, Toyon holds discharges and CMI constant using the values provided in the FFY 2023 Proposed Rule.   
  • Alternative Rates for FFY 2023 – CMS provides two separate sets of base rates and variables for FFY 2023 rate setting. CMS is proposing rates are updated by factors projecting fewer COVID-19 hospitalizations in FFY 2023 than in FFY 2021. In CMS’s alternative rates, CMS does not make an adjustment projecting a decline in COVID-19 hospitalizations from FFY 2021 to FFY 2023.   
  • Uncompensated Care (UC) DSH – CMS is proposing UC DSH payments of $6.6 billion, a reduction of $563M as compared to FFY 2022 ($1.8 billion reduction compared to FFY 2021). Decreasing UC DSH funding is an important area of focus for FFY 2023, and Toyon will be sending comments to providers and CMS, aimed at increasing this funding.    
  • Wage Index – CMS is proposing to cap wage indices so providers can experience a decrease of no more than 5% as compared to prior year (i.e., FFY 2022).   
  • Low Volume Adjustment and Medicare Dependent Hospital Status – Unless otherwise extended by law, these provisions are set to expire for FFY 2023. Therefore, CMS does not propose rate adjustments for these provisions in the FFY 2023 Proposed Rule. 
  • Value Based Purchasing (VBP) Adjustment – CMS is also proposing to not calculate a Total Performance Score (TPS) for any hospital and to instead award all hospitals a VBP amount for each discharge that is equal to the amount withheld, which is 2% of the base operating rate. Toyon’s estimated VBP amount for FFY 2023 is estimated at 2% of base rate payments.   
 
We look forward to our next update on the FFY 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule. In the meantime, please feel free to contact Fred Fisher at 888.514.9312, or fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com with any questions or comments. 
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You’re Invited – FFY 2023 IPPS PROPOSED RULE WEBINAR

 

Save the Date!
Toyon University® Presents:
The FFY 2023 IPPS
Proposed Rule  
 
You and your team are invited to Toyon’s open webinar on the FFY 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule May 20, from 10 a.m. PDT to 11 a.m. PDT.  
 
To sign up for the IPPS Proposed Rule Webinar, please register here.   
 
The Proposed FFY 2023 IPPS webinar will include analysis, insight, and recommended comments on CMS’s proposed rates including empirical DSH, Uncompensated Care DSH, Graduate Medical Education, Wage Index, and data impacted by COVID-19 affecting Medicare payments.   
 
Toyon will be providing a written summary of the FFY 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule prior to this webinar. Please feel free to email Fred Fisher at fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com with any questions or topics of interest for your hospital(s). 
 
Toyon Analytics – FFY 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule 
Toyon is pleased to provide complimentary access to estimated hospital payments per the Medicare Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2023 IPPS Proposed Rule via an interactive dashboard here.
 
Please feel free to email Fred Fisher at fred.fisher@toyonassociates.com with any questions on this forthcoming analysis. 
 
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