Hospitals are required to deliver the Important Message from Medicare (IM), formerly CMS-R-193 and now CMS-10065, to all Medicare beneficiaries (Original Medicare beneficiaries and Medicare Advantage plan enrollees) who are hospital inpatients. The IM informs hospitalized inpatient beneficiaries of their hospital discharge appeal rights. Follow-up: The hospital must also present a copy of the signed notice to the beneficiary (or beneficiary's representative) prior to discharge.
For purposes of §§405.1204, 405.1205, 405.1206, and 405.1208, the term “hospital” is defined as any facility providing care at the inpatient hospital level, whether that care is short term or long term, acute or non acute, paid through a prospective payment system or other reimbursement basis, limited to specialty care or providing a broader spectrum of services. This definition includes critical access hospitals.
The Important Message from Medicare: In most cases, a minimum of three copies of the Important Message from Medicare, including the original, will be needed. The beneficiary keeps the original signed notice and will receive a follow-up copy of the signed notice, except when delivery of the original notice falls within two days of discharge. The hospital must retain a copy of the signed IM and may do so electronically.
The IM must NOT exceed two sides of a page in length. The IM is designed as a letter-sized form. If necessary, it may be expanded to a legal-sized page to accommodate information hospitals insert in the notice.
The IM and the Detailed Notice must meet the following font requirements in order to facilitate beneficiary understanding:
• Font Type: To the greatest extent practicable, the fonts as they appear in the notices on the CMS Web site should be used. Any changes in the font type should be based solely on software and/or hardware limitations of the notices. Examples of easily readable alternative fonts include: Arial, Arial Narrow, Times New Roman, and Courier.
• Font Effect/Style: Any changes to the font, such as italics, embossing, bold, etc., should not be used since they can make the notices more difficult to read.
• Font Size: The font size generally should be 12 point. Titles should be 18 point, but handwritten insertions in blanks of the IM can be as small as 10 point if needed.
• Insertions in Blanks: Information inserted by hospitals in the blank spaces on the IM and the Detailed Notice may be typed or legibly hand-written using the guidelines above.
Delivery Timeframe. Hospitals must deliver the original copy of the IM at or near admission, but no later than 2 calendar days following the date of the beneficiary’s admission to the hospital.
Hospitals may deliver the initial copy of the notice if the beneficiary is seen during a preadmission visit, but not more than 7 calendar days in advance of admission. If a beneficiary receives and signs the initial copy of the IM as part of the preadmission process, the follow-up copy of the notice must be delivered if delivery of the initial copy occurred more than 2 calendar days prior.
In-Person Delivery. The IM must be delivered to the beneficiary in person. However, if the beneficiary is not able to comprehend the notice, it must be delivered to and signed by the beneficiary’s representative.
Notice Delivery to Representatives. CMS requires that notification of a beneficiary who is not competent be made to a representative of the beneficiary. A representative is an individual who, under State or other applicable law, may make health care decisions on a beneficiary’s behalf (e.g., the beneficiary’s legal guardian ,or someone appointed in accordance with a properly executed “durable medical power of attorney”).
Full instructions for the Original Medicare, also known as Fee for Service (FFS), process are available in Section 200, of Chapter 30 of the Medicare Claims Processing Manual
42 C.F.R. §405.1205 Notifying beneficiaries of hospital discharge appeal rights.
(a) Applicability and scope. (1) For purposes of §§405.1204, 405.1205, 405.1206, and 405.1208, the term “hospital” is defined as any facility providing care at the inpatient hospital level, whether that care is short term or long term, acute or non acute, paid through a prospective payment system or other reimbursement basis, limited to specialty care or providing a broader spectrum of services. This definition includes critical access hospitals.
(2) For purposes of §§405.1204, 405.1205, 405.1206, and 405.1208, a discharge is a formal release of a beneficiary from an inpatient hospital.
(b) Advance written notice of hospital discharge rights. For all Medicare beneficiaries, hospitals must deliver valid, written notice of a beneficiary's rights as a hospital inpatient, including discharge appeal rights. The hospital must use a standardized notice, as specified by CMS, in accordance with the following procedures:
(1) Timing of notice. The hospital must provide the notice at or near admission, but no later than 2 calendar days following the beneficiary's admission to the hospital.
(2) Content of the notice. The notice must include the following information:
(i) The beneficiary's rights as a hospital inpatient including the right to benefits for inpatient services and for post-hospital services in accordance with 1866(a)(1)(M) of the Act.
(ii) The beneficiary's right to request an expedited determination of the discharge decision including a description of the process under §405.1206, and the availability of other appeals processes if the beneficiary fails to meet the deadline for an expedited determination.
(iii) The circumstances under which a beneficiary will or will not be liable for charges for continued stay in the hospital in accordance with 1866(a)(1)(M) of the Act.
(iv) A beneficiary's right to receive additional detailed information in accordance with §405.1206(e).
(v) Any other information required by CMS.
(3) When delivery of the notice is valid. Delivery of the written notice of rights described in this section is valid if—
(i) The beneficiary (or the beneficiary's representative) has signed and dated the notice to indicate that he or she has received the notice and can comprehend its contents, except as provided in paragraph (b)(4) of this section; and
(ii) The notice is delivered in accordance with paragraph (b)(1) of this section and contains all the elements described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section.
(4) If a beneficiary refuses to sign the notice. The hospital may annotate its notice to indicate the refusal, and the date of refusal is considered the date of receipt of the notice.
(c) Follow up notification. (1) The hospital must present a copy of the signed notice described in paragraph (b)(2) of this section to the beneficiary (or beneficiary's representative) prior to discharge. The notice should be given as far in advance of discharge as possible, but not more than 2 calendar days before discharge.
(2) Follow up notification is not required if the notice required under §405.1205(b) is delivered within 2 calendar days of discharge.