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Medicare's specific minimum health and safety standards for hospitals, known as conditions of participation, include requirements for discharge planning for patients who need such services. Discharge planning is intended to ensure smooth transitions from hospital to home or other health care facility. This publication reviews the current discharge planning requirements for hospitals as well as changes included in a proposed rule published by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on November 3, 2015. Key proposed changes include an expanded definition of which patients must receive discharge planning services, a requirement that providers responsible for follow-up care receive timely information about the patient, and a requirement that hospitals proactively follow-up with patients after discharge.

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