Accreditation

New rule for hospital discharges takes effect July 1

Briefings on Accreditation and Quality, March 1, 2007

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Rule sets forth requirements for notifying Medicare beneficiaries

CMS has made changes to its notice delivery process rule after receiving hundreds of responses aimed at balancing existing hospital discharge processes with a beneficiary's right to be informed of his or her discharge appeal rights. The new final rule, "Notification of Hospital Discharge Appeal Rights," entered into the Federal Register in November 2006 and sets forth requirements for how hospitals must notify Medicare beneficiaries who are hospital inpatients about their hospital discharge appeal rights.

Notice is required both for original Medicare beneficiaries and for beneficiaries enrolled in Medicare health plans. The rule takes effect July 1.

The most notable change is that you must implement a separate new discharge notice. The rule requires that hospitals use a revised version of the Important Message from Medicare (IM), an existing statutorily required notice, to explain the discharge rights.

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