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Health Policy Digest for August 2020

Read the latest in health policy and legislative and regulatory developments that may be of interest to rehabilitation nurses.  

FY 2021 IRF PPS Final Rule Released
On August 4, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule on the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System (IRF PPS) for Fiscal Year (FY) 2021. Notably, CMS did not finalize its proposal to allow non-physician practitioners (NPPs) to perform all of the IRF coverage service and documentation duties that are currently required to be performed by a rehabilitation physician (which ARN opposed in its comments on the rule). Instead, CMS will allow an NPP to conduct 1 of the 3 required face-to-face physician visits with the patient per week, beginning with the second week of the patient's admission to an IRF. Additionally, CMS is no longer requiring a post-admission physician evaluation (PAPE). Read the final rule and CMS' accompanying fact sheet.

FY 2021 SNF PPS Final Rule Released

On July 31, CMS released its final rule on the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) PPS for FY 2021. The rule updated SNF payment rates for the coming year, revised ICD-10 code mappings for the Patient-Driven Payment Model, and updated the SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program (VBP), but did not include any major policy changes for SNFs or SNF providers. Read the final rule and CMS' accompanying fact sheet.

House Passes FY 2021 Health and Human Services Funding Bill

On July 31, the House of Representatives passed its FY 2021 Appropriations bill for the Departments of Labor, Health and Human Services (HHS), and related agencies. The bill includes nearly $275 million for Title VIII Nursing Programs and $170.6 million for the National Institute on Nursing Research (NINR). The Senate's appropriations process has largely stalled due to disagreements over the treatment of emergency funding, and it is unclear whether Congress will proceed to a bicameral appropriations bill or advance a Continuing Resolution (CR) to fund the government past the end of the fiscal year as a temporary measure. Read the House bill text and accompanying report.

ARN, DRRC Provide In-Depth Look at House Appropriations

As in past years, ARN has developed an appropriations chart to highlight the funding decisions for critical nursing and other programs relevant to ARN members. To review the topline numbers and compare with the previous year's funding, as well as ARN's requests and the President's budget, read our chart. Additionally, the Disability and Rehabilitation Research Coalition (DRRC, of which ARN is a member) developed a memo summarizing the House appropriations bill and providing an outlook for the overall congressional process. The memo also includes excerpts from the House report language, which instructs federal agencies how Congress intends to spend the appropriated amounts in the bill. These excerpts reflect a variety of policy statements relevant to disability and rehabilitation. Finally, the DRRC also produced a tracking chart with a wide range of disability and rehabilitation program funding for the previous decade as well as the FY 2021 House decisions. Read the DRRC memo and chart.

NCC Letter on Additional COVID Priorities

On July 29, the Nursing Community Coalition (of which ARN is a member) sent a letter to congressional leadership outlining policy priorities for inclusion in the next COVID stimulus package. The NCC recommendations include increased funding for Title VIII nursing programs, support for nursing education infrastructure, increased investments in public health and nursing research, expansion for telehealth, and frontline support and protections for nurses. Read the letter to Congress.

If you haven't already, we recommend that you visit ARN's COVID-19 Resource page on the ARN website for the latest information and resources for rehabilitation nurses.

Did you see something recently that would impact rehab nurses and/or patients? Share your health policy/advocacy news by emailing it to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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