CMS's prepared statement includes this comment from Administrator Marilyn Tavenner: "This rule helps improve hospital care and establishes clearer guidance to hospitals for when we will consider inpatient care to be appropriate so the system works better for patients and providers."
From the AHA's perspective, "This Two Midnights standard is just arbitrary," Bathija said, adding the policy penalizes hospitals for being efficient in patient care or providing treatments that involve a short-term hospital stay.
Bathija said the AHA is asking CMS to either develop a better payment methodology within the Two Midnight policy or to replace the rule with a better method to pay for short-term hospital stays.
The American Medical Association, which has also been an outspoken critic of the new policy, expressed an even more skeptical view following the release of last week's guidance letter.
"The new policy does not solve the problem of unanticipated financial liabilities for patients, and increases documentation burdens for physicians," AMA President Ardis Dee Hoven, MD, told HealthLeaders on Thursday. "Recent guidance from… CMS on the order and certification requirements for physicians leaves many questions unanswered, and has not alleviated confusion. While we are encouraged by CMS's recent delay in enforcement and the decision to have Medicare Administrative Contractors review their application of the new policy, these issues continue to cause tremendous difficulties for physicians and patients."