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NABH Issue Brief: CMS Proposes Slight Payment Increase for PHPs and CMHCs in 2020

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a hospital-based partial hospitalization program (PHP) payment rate of $228.20 for 2020, up from the 2019 rate of $220.86, in the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System (OPPS/ASC) proposed rule the agency released on July 29.

CMS also proposed an increase for community mental health centers (CMHCs), which could see a payment rate of $124.59 in 2020 if the rule is made final. By comparison, CMHCs received a payment rate of $120.58 in 2019.

The rates set in the proposed CY 2020 rule are not based on the most recent average cost data from the PHP program, a deviation from CMS’ long-standing policy. When CMS calculated the average PHP program cost for the CY 2020 proposed rule, the agency found it had decreased by nearly 15 percent for CMHCs and 11 percent for hospitals-based PHPs.

After finding this decrease, CMS reviewed the data sets and found that a single provider in the CMHC set and a single provider in the hospital-based set had such dramatically lower-reported costs that it significantly skewed the average cost for both data sets.

Because the lower average costs were the result of single providers and could significantly reduce access for beneficiaries, CMS decided to use the CY 2019 cost average as a floor for both type of PHP rates in the CY 2020 rule. If not for this change, the rate for both types of PHPs would have been significantly lower than what CMS proposed in the rule.

It is important to note that CMS stressed that it does not intent to carry this policy forward: “To be clear, this policy would only apply for the CY 2020 rate setting,” the agency said in the rule.

CMS will accept comments on the CY 2020 proposed rule until September 27.

CY 2020 Rates
Level 1 Health and Behavior Services                                                         $28.59
Level 2 Health and Behavior Services                                                         $81.06
Level 3 Health and Behavior Services                                                         $130.27
Partial Hospitalization (3 or more services) for CMHCs                               $124.59
Partial Hospitalization (3 or more services) for Hospital-based PHPs         $228.20

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NABH Issue Brief: CMS Addresses OUD Treatment in OTPs and Office Settings in Proposed Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on Monday issued a proposed rule for establishing a Medicare Part B benefit and payment bundles for opioid use disorder (OUD) treatment services in opioid treatment program (OTP) settings and new HCPCS codes and bundled rates for office-based treatment of OUD.

OTP Bundled Payment

The proposal implements Section 2005 of the Substance Use Disorder Prevention that Promotes Opioid Recovery and Treatment for Patients and Communities (SUPPORT) Act.

The rule proposes:

  • A definition of OUD treatment services and OTPs, including an explanation that services include access to all FDA-approved medications, counseling and therapy, and toxicology testing;
  • Enrollment policies that align with SAMHSA OTP regulation and that do not have additional conditions of participation;
  • Bundled payment methodologies that separate drug from non-drug treatment components, account for different medications and variable intensity of services, provide for service add-ons and partial- and full-billing for weekly episodes;
  • Use of audio-video communication technology; and
  • Zero beneficiary cost-sharing requirement for a time-limited period.
Office-based Care Bundled Payment

The agency also proposed a bundled payment for office-based OUD treatment services, to encourage the expansion of access to OUD care, including:

  • Coverage of OUD management, care coordination, psychotherapy, and counseling; medication to be billed and reimbursed under existing Medicare Part B or D; toxicology testing to be billed under Clinical Lab Fee Schedule;
  • Bundled payment methodologies that are based on monthly billing cycles to better align with office-based practices; one bundle for the initial month of treatment that is more service-intensive; and a second bundle for subsequent “maintenance months,” service add-on codes, and not restricted to addiction specialists;
  • Three new HCPCS codes to Category I of the list of Medicare telehealth services for office-based substance use disorder (SUD)/OUD services, permits a patient’s home as a telehealth originating site; and
  • No changes to cost-sharing.
Emergency Departments

Also of interest, the proposed rule requests information on emergency department practice patterns related to the initiation and use of MAT, and referral or follow-up care, for developing such bundles in future rulemaking.

Comments are due September 27, 2019. NABH has engaged a consulting firm to help analyze the proposed bundled payment methodology and payment rates, and the association will submit comments.

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MHLG Letter of Support on Mental Health Professionals Workforce Shortage Loan Repayment Act of 2019

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NABH Alert: CMS Announces 1.5-percent Increase for Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities for 2020 in Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a Medicare payment increase of 1.5 percent next year for inpatient psychiatric facilities in the final Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities Prospective Payment System (IPF PPS) rule the agency released today.

Compared with the 2019 payment rate, the increase reflects a total increase of $65 million for Medicare-participating inpatient psychiatric facilities in fiscal year 2020. The payment update aligns with the agency’s proposed rule earlier this year.

The rule also adds one new claims-based measured starting in fiscal year 2021 payment determination and continuing in subsequent years. The measure—Medication Continuing Following Inpatient Psychiatric Discharge (National Quality Forum #3205)—assesses whether patients admitted to IPFs with diagnoses of Major Depressive Disorder, schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder filled at least one evidence-based medication within two days before discharge or during the 30-day, post-discharge period.

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CMS Releases Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) Memorandum

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on July 2 released Frequently Asked Questions on the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA) and Psychiatric Hospitals, a six-page memo addressing common concerns psychiatric hospitals and hospital emergency departments have regarding compliance with EMTALA.

EMTALA has been a top regulatory priority for NABH and our team has worked closely with CMS on this issue. In March, NABH released The High Cost of Compliance: Assessing the Regulatory Burden in Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, a detailed report that quantifies the compliance costs related to EMTALA for inpatient psychiatric care providers. The analysis—which NABH commissioned Manatt Health to produce—also addresses ligature risk, a topic CMS addressed this past April in draft guidance.

Here are key excerpts from CMS’ July 2 FAQ Memo:

  • How do surveyors evaluate whether a staff person is qualified to perform a Medical Screening Exam?
    • The surveyor can review state scope of practice as well as hospital bylaws or rules and regulations to determine if the medical screening exams being performed are within a professional’s scope of practice.
  • What is the expectation of a psychiatric hospital when a medical emergency presents in terms of who can conduct a medical screening exam?
    • EMTALA requires hospitals to perform medical screening examinations within their capabilities. If the psych hospital doesn’t have the ability to perform a comprehensive medical screening exam (or provide stabilizing treatment), but the screening exam it performs indicates that the patient may have an emergency medical condition, the hospital is required to arrange an appropriate transfer to a facility for further evaluation and treatment. The hospital is expected to use its resources to perform the exam and provide care within its capabilities prior to transfer. This might be as simple as performing ongoing assessments with repeat vital signs and ensuring the patient is in a safe environment.
  • What is required in terms of stabilization and transfer for non-psychiatric emergencies?
    • There is no expectation that a psych hospital with basic clinical services would be expected to provide the same level of comprehensive medical assessments or treatment as an acute care hospital.
  • How does EMTALA intersect with admission?
    • If the hospital has the staff and facilities to stabilize the emergency medical condition, it is expected to do so. This includes inpatient admission, as appropriate. Having an empty inpatient bed does not always translate to having the capability or capacity to stabilize the emergency medical condition.
  • Can an ER physician in a facility that does not provide psychiatric care conduct the mental health screening?
    • It is within the scope of practice for ED physicians and practitioners to evaluate patients presenting with mental health conditions, same with any other medical, surgical, or psychiatric presentation. The ED practitioner may utilize hospital resources to assist with the examination and treatment or arrange appropriate transfers if additional resources are needed.

Read the full memo here.

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