Averting a government shutdown, Congress passed legislation last week to fund most of the government through next October. Known as the “cromnibus,” the spending bill was a mash-up of an omnibus bill, which is how Congress funds the government under normal circumstances, and a continuing resolution (CR), which is how Congress funds the government when they can’t come to a deal.

The legislation provides funding for everything in the government, other than homeland security, which is operating under a separate continuing resolution.

In addition to ensuring the continued operation of the federal government, the cromnibus also included several provisions that specifically relate to the provision of post-acute healthcare. While much attention has been given to the passage of the spending bill, little mention has been given to specific healthcare provisions:

  • Appeals Backlog. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) was directed to develop a timeline, measurable goals, and milestones for reducing the appeals backlog. Additionally, CMS will submit a report on the cross-agency working group reviewing the Medicare appeals process and its recommendations.
  • Home Health. CMS was tasked with studying the impact of home health face-to-face requirements and of the funding cuts to the Medicare home health benefit.
  • Rehabilitation Innovation Centers. The Department of Health and Human Services was directed with evaluating the current Medicare prospective pay system (PPS) rate with the goal of maintaining these rehabilitation centers of excellence and continuing the high quality of care provided by these centers.

By including these types of provisions in a large spending bill illustrates Congress’ growing interest in transitioning post-acute care to a system that rewards and recognizes value and quality outcomes.