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On November 3, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), published in the Federal Register (80 Fed. Reg. 68126), proposed revisions to requirements for discharge planning for hospitals, CAHs, and HHAs. The proposed rule is also available at http://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2015-11-03/pdf/2015-27840.pdf.  Comments on the proposed rule must be submitted to CMS by 5 p.m. on January 4, 2016.  The file code for submitting comments is CMS-3317-P.  The various ways of submitting comments are described in CMS’ summary of the proposed rule.

The proposed rule is designed to reduce avoidable hospital readmissions and improve patient care with a focus on improvements for psychiatric and behavioral health patients, including those with substance abuse disorders.  It calls for coordination, consultation, and use of information from community-based service providers as recognized by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (Impact Act of 2014) (Pub. L 113-185).  The proposed rule fits within the framework of existing discharge planning regulations which are found at 42 CFR §482.43, applicable to all inpatients.  (See also Section 1861(e) of the Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. §1395x (ee)).  See also the Center’s materials on discharge planning, including “Tip Sheets” for beneficiaries and for advocates at http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/medicare-info/discharge-planning/.

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