CMS has published a proposed rule on June 16, 2016 that would update the standards hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) must meet to participate in Medicare and Medicaid. Specifically, CMS proposes to revise the conditions of participation (CoPs) for hospitals and CAHs to, among other things:

  • Establish and implement a policy prohibiting a hospital from discriminating on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex (including gender identity), sexual orientation, or disability.
  • Require hospitals to demonstrate adherence to nationally-recognized hospital infection prevention and control guidelines.
  • Require hospitals to implement policies and procedures for an active and hospital-wide antibiotic stewardship program to help reduce inappropriate antibiotic use and antimicrobial resistance.
  • Change references to the term ‘‘licensed independent practitioners’’ to “licensed practitioner” to clarify that hospitals may use physician assistants to the extent of their educational preparation and scope of practice under state law.
  • Require CAHs to develop, implement, and maintain an effective, ongoing, facility-wide, and data-driven Quality Assessment and Performance Improvement (QAPI) program.
  • Revise documentation that must be include in each patient’s medical record and clarify patient access to such records.
  • Allow a hospital specify which, if any, outpatient departments that would not be required to have a registered nurse physically present as well as the alternative staffing plans that would be established under such a policy.
  • Eliminate a redundant CAH disclosure of ownership requirement.
  • Provide greater flexibility for CAHs to use dietitians and nutrition professionals, in accordance with state law, to meet the nutritional needs of patients.

CMS will accept comments on the proposed rule until August 15, 2016.