|UCAOA Submits Comments on Proposed Discharge Instructions|
On January 4, 2016, UCAOA offered comment to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) on the Agency’s to requirements for discharge planning for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies.
The proposed revisions are aimed at reducing avoidable hospital readmissions and patient complications, while at the same time improving the quality and safety of patient care and lowering health care costs.
CMS’ solicitation of public comment on the proposed requirements offered UCAOA yet another opportunity to promote the role urgent care centers can play in reducing costly readmissions, avoiding unnecessary visits to the emergency department, and preventing adverse events after discharge.
While the proposed discharge instructions would make several positive changes, the revisions would not instruct patients what to do if they cannot access a primary care provider for follow-up care of if they require non-emergent care post-discharge during evenings or weekends. UCAOA recommended in its comments that the Agency should require hospitals to provide patients written instructions for accessing after-hours and weekend care or when the practitioner responsible for follow up care is not available or has not been clearly identified. UCAOA’s letter also relayed the importance of including detailed patient information in post-discharge documents, as well as contact information for a practitioner who is familiar with the patient.
CMS received nearly 300 comments on its proposed revisions. CMS will take into account these comments before issuing final regulations.