CMS Updates Hospital Policies for Fiscal Year 2024, Including Rural Emergency Hospital Policies

On August 1, 2023, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final rule for the Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-term Care Hospital payments (LTCH-PPS) for fiscal year 2024. Effective October 1, 2023, the IPPS rates will increase by 3.1% overall, increasing hospital payments by $2.2 billion. The rule continues the low wage index policy for FY 2024 and will treat rural classified hospitals as geographically rural for purposes of calculating the wage index. It finalizes a policy designating Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs) as graduate medical education (GME) training sites and codifies in regulation the information hospitals must include in their application to convert to an REH. The rule addresses policies around quality measurement, including the incorporation of a health equity adjustment for the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) Program. In addition, CMS received feedback from stakeholders on the potential future inclusion of two geriatric measures and on the establishment of a publicly reported hospital designation for geriatric care.