Skip to content Skip to navigation

CMS issues proposed rule for patient preferences in discharge summaries

October 30, 2015
by Pamela Tabar, Editor-in-Chief
| Reprints

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a new rule Thursday to change the discharge planning requirements, using the model set forth by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act).

The goal is to align the culture change of data exchange to improve quality measures and resources during the discharge process. The alignment should provide better customer transparency and involvement in the discharge process, notes CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt. “CMS is proposing a simple but key change that will make it easier for people to take charge of their own health care. If this policy is adopted, individuals will be asked what’s most important to them as they choose the next step in their care – whether it is a nursing home or home care,” he said in a CMS announcement. “Policies like this put real meaning behind the words consumer-centered health care.”

The proposed rule would require discharging entities to standardize documentation and communication, including:

  • Providing discharge instructions to patients who are discharged home (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only);
  • Having a medication reconciliation process with the goal of improving patient safety by enhancing medication management (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only);
  • For patients who are transferred to another facility, sending specific medical information to the receiving facility; and
  • Establishing a post-discharge follow-up process (proposed for hospitals and critical access hospitals only).

The goal is to increase patient participation in the discharge process and allow patients to express their preferences and goal. “These improvements should better prepare patients and their caregivers to be active partners for their anticipated health and community support needs upon discharge from the hospital or post-acute care setting,” according to the CMS release.

Read the CMS proposed rule here.