On October 6, President Obama signed the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act) into law. According to a news release on the House Committee on Ways and Means website, the bipartisan legislation targets the strengthening and improvement of post-acute care for Medicare beneficiaries while paving the way to more accountable, quality-driven benefits to patients.

Dave Camp (R, Mich) Ways and Means Committee chairman, and Ranking Member Sander Levin (D, Mich) introduced the bill to the House.

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

This information is intended to allow future payment reforms to be driven by quality and efficiency, while protecting beneficiary access to appropriate services.

An American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) news release expands upon this, stating that the legislation specifically directs the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to standardize patient assessment data, quality, and resource use measures for PAC providers including HHAs, SNFs, IRFs, and LTCHs.

To learn more about the IMPACT Act, read a summary of the legislation prepared by House Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committee Staff.

[Source(s): House Committee on Ways and Means, APTA]