Medicare Finalizes Outpatient Payment and Policy Updates for 2024

Last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized calendar year 2024 payment rates and policy changes for hospital outpatient facilities and Ambulatory Surgical Centers.  In addition to increasing pay rates by 3.1 percent, this rule establishes an intensive outpatient program to serve beneficiaries who require more intense mental and behavioral services than traditional outpatient therapy but less than inpatient-level care. Hospital outpatient departments, as well as federally designated Community Mental Health Centers, Federally Qualified Health Centers, Rural Health Clinics,  or Opioid Treatment Programs may provide these services.  The rule also finalized the adoption of four measures for the Rural Emergency Hospital (REH) Quality Reporting program and a policy that Indian Health Service and Tribal facilities that become REHs will be paid for hospital outpatient services using their current all-inclusive rate. These facilities will also receive the REH monthly facility payment.  Finally, this rule updates Hospital Price Transparency requirements to increase standardization of the data files, clarify how to find the files online, and add provisions on how compliance will be enforced. The final rule is effective January 1, 2024.