The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expects Medicare payments to inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) to increase by 1.3% ($105 million) in fiscal year (FY) 2019 under the final IRF prospective payment system (PPS) rule.  For FY 2019, the IRF PPS update factor is 1.35%, based on an IRF market basket update of 2.9%, reduced by a 0.8 percentage point multifactor productivity adjustment and a statutory 0.75 percentage point reduction (the update for an IRF that does not submit required quality data is reduced by 2.0 percentage points).  The final FY 2019 standard payment conversion factor is $16,021, compared to $15,838 in FY 2018.  CMS estimates that aggregate payments will decrease by an additional 0.1% due an update to the outlier threshold, from $8,679 in FY 2018 to $9,402 for FY 2019.

CMS finalized several policies intended to reduce the administrative and regulatory burdens for IRFs.  Specifically, applicable to IRF discharges beginning on or after October 1, 2018, CMS is: allowing the post-admission physician evaluation to count as one of the required face-to-face physician visits; allowing the rehabilitation physician to lead the interdisciplinary meeting remotely without any additional documentation requirements; and removing the admission order documentation requirement.  Furthermore, for IRF discharges beginning on or after October 1, 2019, CMS is removing the Functional Independence Measure instrument and associated Function Modifiers from the IRF-Patient Assessment Instrument.  The final rule also updates IRF Quality Reporting Program policies and measures.