The Senate recently passed the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act); legislation intended to strengthen and improve post-acute care for Medicare beneficiaries while paving the way for more accountable, quality-driven benefits to patients. A news release from the House Committee on Ways and Means reports that the bill passed the House on September 16 and the Senate passed the legislation on September 18.

In the release, congressman David Camp, (R, Mich), Committee on Ways and Means chairman, emphasizes that the bill is critical to “driving fundamental reform of care for seniors after hospitalization.”

Camp adds that by working together, the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees were able to produce a bill “that will ensure our seniors get the highest-quality and most cost-effective care possible.”

“The IMPACT Act represents the beginning of a much larger conversation. We owe it to our seniors to ensure the Medicare program is able to provide the seamless care that we all expect. This bill is a necessary first step and lays down the foundation of reform that will continue to evolve over the next several years,” Camp says.

The release notes that the legislation advances a long-standing policy goal centered on gathering standardized data from Medicare post-acute care (PAC) providers. The legislation is designed to align Medicare PAC providers and facilitate a more accountable, quality-driven PAC benefit.

The IMPACT Act, the release adds, specifically requires data standardization that enables Medicare to compare quality across different PAC settings, improve hospital and PAC discharge planning, and use this information to reform PAC payments (through site neutral or bundled payments or another reform) while ensuring continued beneficiary access to the most appropriate setting of care.

According to the release, the legislation that now moves on to the White House is largely a product of a discussion draft in March shaped by input lawmakers received from the post-acute care community. Last year, lawmakers reportedly invited interested stakeholders to submit ideas about how to strengthen post-acute care. Post-acute care encompasses services in Long Term Care Hospitals (LTHCs), Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), and Home Health Agencies (HHAs).

[Source: Committee on Ways and Means]