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CY 2022 OPPS and ASC Proposed Rule – Inpatient Only List and ASC Covered Procedure List

Published on 

Tuesday, July 27, 2021

 | Coding 
 | Billing 

The Calendar Year (CY) 2022 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System Proposed Rule (link) was released on July 19, 2021.

CMS estimates “that total payments to OPPS providers (including beneficiary cost-sharing and estimated changes in enrollment, utilization, and case-mix) for calendar year (CY) 2022 would be approximately $82.704 billion, an increase of approximately $10.757 billion compared to estimated CY 2021 OPPS payments.”

CMS, in general, plans to use 2019 claims data for rate setting due to the COVID-19 PHE. Examples of specific decreases or increases in claims in CY 2020 cited by CMS includes:

  • An approximate 20 percent decrease in the overall volume of outpatient hospital claims,
  • An approximate 30 percent decrease in volume in the APCs for hospital emergency department and clinic visits,
  • For HCPCS code Q3013 (Telehealth originating site facility fee) in the hospital outpatient claims, the approximate 35,000 services billed in CY 2019 increased to 1.8 million services in the CY 2020.

Inpatient Only Procedure List

Historically, CMS used the following five criteria to assess for removal of a procedure from the Inpatient Only (IPO) list.

  • Most outpatient departments are equipped to provide the services to the Medicare population.
  • The simplest procedure described by the code may be furnished in most outpatient departments.
  • The procedure is related to codes that we have already removed from the IPO list.
  • A determination is made that the procedure is being furnished in numerous hospitals on an outpatient basis.
  • A determination is made that the procedure can be appropriately and safely furnished in an ASC and is on the list of approved ASC services or has been proposed by us for addition to the ASC list

In a complete one-eighty, CMS has proposed to halt the elimination of the IPO list and, “after clinical review of the services removed from the IPO list in CY 2021,” add the 298 services removed in CY 2021 back to the IPO list beginning in CY 2022. CMS has also proposed to codify the five longstanding criteria for potential removal from the IPO list.

CMS noted that “many commenters, including hospital associations and hospital systems, professional associations, and medical specialty societies, vociferously opposed eliminating the IPO list. These commenters primarily cited patient safety concerns, stating that the IPO list serves as an important programmatic safeguard and maintains a common standard of medical judgment in the Medicare program.”

CMS requests public comments on several questions related to the IPO list. For example, “what information or support would be helpful for providers and physicians in their considerations of site-of-service selections?

Proposed Medical Review of Certain Inpatient Hospital Admissions under Medicare Part A for CY 2022 and Subsequent Years

Once a surgical procedure has been removed from the IPO List, documentation in the record must support the need for the inpatient admission. CMS reminds providers that “removal of a service from the IPO list has never meant that a beneficiary cannot receive the service as a hospital inpatient – as always, the physician should use his or her complex medical judgment to determine the appropriate setting on a case-by-case basis.”

For CY 2020, CMS finalized a two-year exemption from site-of-service claim denials, Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO) referrals to RACs, and RAC reviews for “patient status” (that is, site-of-service) for procedures that are removed from the IPO list under the OPPS beginning on January 1, 2020.

For CY 2021, CMS finalized “that procedures removed from the IPO list after January 1, 2021, were indefinitely exempted from site-of-service claims denials under Medicare Part A, eligibility for BFCC-QIO referrals to RACs for noncompliance with the 2-Midngiht rule, and RAC reviews for “patient status” (that is, site-of-service).” This exemption was to remain in place until Medicare claims data indicated a procedure was being performed more than 50 percent of the time in the outpatient setting.

On Monday, July 19th, WPS posted the following notice about spinal neurostimulators prior authorization requests:

For CY 2022, CMS has proposed to “rescind the indefinite exemption and instead apply a 2-year exemption from two midnight medical review activities for services removed from the IPO list on or after January 1, 2021.”

As a provider, keep in mind this exemption is specific to site-of-service claim denials and does not include exemption from medical necessity reviews of services provided based on a National or Local Coverage Determinations (NCDs and LCDs) when applicable.

Proposed Changes to the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Covered Procedure List (CPL)

CMS is also doing an about face for the ASC CPL. Of the 267 procedures added to the list in CY 2021, CMS has proposed to remove 258 procedures as they do not believe they meet the proposed revisions to the CY 2022 ASC CPL criteria.

CMS notes, “Based on our internal review of preliminary claims submitted to Medicare, we do not believe that ASCs have been furnishing the majority of the 267 procedures finalized in 2021. Because of this, we believe it is unlikely that ASCs have made practice changes in reliance on the policy we adopted in CY 2021. Therefore, we do not anticipate that ASCs would be significantly affected by the removal of these 258 procedures from the ASC CPL.”

A complete list of the 258 procedures can be found in table 45 of the proposed rule.

Proposed Revisions to the CY 2022 ASC CPL Criteria

In CY 2021, CMS revised their policy for adding surgical procedures to the ASC CPL. For CY 2022, they have proposed to revise the requirements for covered surgical procedures to reinstate the specifications established prior to CY 2021. One key proposal would once again define covered surgical procedures as surgical procedures specified by the Secretary and published in the Federal Register and/or via the Internet on the CMS website that are separately paid under the OPPS, that would not be expected to pose a significant safety risk to a Medicare beneficiary when performed in an ASC, and for which standard medical practice dictates that the beneficiary would not typically be expected to require active medical monitoring and care at midnight following the procedure.

Inpatient, outpatient or ASC, documentation is crucial to accurately reflect the complexity of the patient, support the medical necessity for services provided and support the setting in which the services are performed.

While this article highlights a couple of topics in the proposed rule, I encourage you to review the entire document for other key proposals such as the proposed increase in civil monetary penalties (CMP) for hospital noncompliance with the Price Transparency requirements. You can also read more about what is being proposed in a related CMS Fact Sheet (link).

Article Author: Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS
Beth Cobb, RN, BSN, ACM, CCDS, is the Manager of Clinical Analytics at Medical Management Plus, Inc. Beth has over twenty-five years of experience in healthcare including eleven years in Case Management at a large multi-facility health system. In her current position, Beth is a principle writer for MMP’s Wednesday@One weekly e-newsletter, an active member of our HIPAA Compliance Committee, MMP’s Education Department Program Director and co-developer of MMP’s proprietary Compliance Protection Assessment Tool.

This material was compiled to share information.  MMP, Inc. is not offering legal advice. Every reasonable effort has been taken to ensure the information is accurate and useful.