The US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid have guidelines that must be followed at each stage of a patient’s care. As of November 30th, 2019, the CMS applied an additional discharge rule that helps refocus some of the attention on a patient’s desire. This rule applies to patients being moved from a hospital to a long-term care facility and others similar to it. As a result, it has greatly improved the patient’s choices and preferences when going through a care transition. However, the rule is still lacking in the area of physical therapists, since they weren’t included in the original guidelines as part of the discharge team.

Although there is still a bit of red tape to be cleaned up, the CMS has developed some great points that should be highlighted. The biggest aspects have been outlined below as per what we believe has been the greatest advantage.

Noteworthy Points of the Rule

The biggest positive aspect of this new rule from CMS is that the patient will receive more information on care facilities, have more control over the transition process, have better access to their medical records, and the overall patient goals are given a front seat throughout. To expound, a patient will receive a list of care facilities within a specific geographical area that supports Medicaid. The patient will be able to choose from the list and is also given performance data on each facility they’re interested in. In order to ensure that no preference is given to one facility or another in order to steer the patient towards a specific provider, only the information pertinent to the care goals of the patient may be offered.

The rule is very clear that the patient’s care goals should be at the top of the planning process. Further, it’s also clear that the patient should be involved in every step of the process. In other words, the patient will have a bigger voice when going through a care transition. This rule is an effort to ensure less confusion and more control on the part of the patient. It’s all too common for a discharge to occur and a patient to be broadsided by it. This can result in stress, confusion, mistakes being made, and high cost. However, with the new rule in place and already in effect, a lot of these issues should be reduced to a minimum, allowing even better care with the patient and their goals in mind.

Although there were some aspects that were left to be desired with the new rule, it’s an overall success. Definitely a step forward for patients when it comes to their overall care through such a transition. Overall, as changes roll out, we are hopeful that this rule will gain the lacking aspects which only further make patient care at its