The Joint Commission, one of the leading accrediting organizations of health care entities, recently announced significant updates to require that health care organizations invest in their health equity promotion infrastructure and The Joint Commission’s intention to acknowledge those organizations with more robust health equity initiatives and programs.

Effective January 1, 2023, The Joint Commission implemented new and revised standards for hospitals, ambulatory health care organizations, and behavioral health care organizations aimed at reducing health care disparities.

Most significantly, The Joint Commission added a new standard, LD.04.03.08, to the Leadership (LD) chapter. This standard provides: “Reducing health care disparities for the [organization’s] [patients] is a quality and safety priority.”[1] The new standard, which applies to all hospitals and certain ambulatory health care organizations and behavioral health care organizations, has the following six elements of performance:
Continue Reading The Joint Commission’s 2023 Focus on Health Equity

Announced in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2021, Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs) will be a new type of Medicare provider starting January 1, 2023.  REHs are meant to help address the stressed health care system of rural providers by providing an option to closure for distressed critical access hospitals (CAHs) and small rural hospitals.

Existing CAHs and rural hospitals with fewer than 50 beds will be eligible to convert to an REH.  CMS is streamlining this process so that this conversion to be an REH can be accomplished through a change of information on an existing Medicare 855A enrollment rather than through a new provider application, which carries potentially significant delays and potential gaps in payment.  REHs are designed to provide primarily emergency department, observation, and outpatient services.  Because REHs will not provide inpatient care, an area that often creates a significant financial and operational burden on CAHs and small rural hospitals, REHs will allow locally-delivered healthcare to continue to be furnished by existing providers.
Continue Reading Rural Emergency Hospitals – CY 2023 OPPS Final Rule Includes Additional Information on New Medicare Provider Type

From the Diagnosing Health Care PodcastHow have complaints of information blocking been submitted to the Office of the National Coordinator (ONC), and by whom? What does government enforcement action really look like?

In this episode of our special series on interoperability, hear from ONC attorneys Cassie Weaver and Rachel Nelson.

Continue Reading Podcast: Interoperability: Information Blocking Claims and Enforcement – Diagnosing Health Care

On April 7, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance terminating numerous blanket waivers applicable to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), inpatient hospices, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF/IIDs), and end stage renal disease (ESRD) facilities.  The amount of blanket waivers ending is notable; while there have been terminations of waivers previously, these were usually limited to a single waiver.

CMS expressed concern “about how residents’ health and safety has been impacted by the regulations that have been waived, and the length of time for which they have been waived.” CMS reported that findings from onsite surveys at these facilities “revealed significant concerns with resident care that are unrelated to infection control.” Accordingly, CMS is acting to remove certain operational flexibilities not directly related to infection control.

Continue Reading CMS Ending Numerous COVID-19 Blanket Waivers for SNFs, Inpatient Hospice, ICF/IIDs, and ESRD Facilities

On March 15, 2022, President Biden signed into law the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act containing the Cyber Incident Reporting for Critical Infrastructure Act of 2022 (the “Cyber Incident Reporting Act”). While President Biden’s remarks highlighted the $13.6 billion in funding “to address Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the impact on surrounding countries,” the 2022 Consolidated Appropriations Act contained numerous other laws, including the Cyber Incident Reporting Act, which should not be overlooked. The Cyber Incident Reporting Act puts in motion important new cybersecurity reporting requirements that will likely apply to businesses in almost every major sector of the economy, including health care, financial services, energy, transportation and commercial facilities. Critical infrastructure entities should monitor the upcoming rule-making by the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (“CISA”), as the final regulations will clarify the scope and application of the new law.

Continue Reading President Biden Signs into Law the Cyber Incident Reporting Act, Imposing Reporting Requirements for Cyber Incidents and Ransomware Payments

In this episode of the Diagnosing Health Care Podcast:  The interoperability and information-blocking rules have imposed new regulations and requirements on health information exchanges (HIEs). How are HIEs responding to these new regulations in a space they have been in for decades? In this episode of our special series on interoperability, hear from Dan Paoletti, CEO of the Ohio Health Information Partnership.

Continue Reading Podcast: Interoperability: The Role of Health Information Exchanges – Diagnosing Health Care