(a) Content of certification and recertification. Medicare Part A pays for inpatient hospital services (other than inpatient psychiatric facility services) for cases that are 20 inpatient days or more, or are outlier cases under subpart F of part 412 of this chapter, only if a physician certifies or recertifies the following:
(1) The reasons for either -
(i) Continued hospitalization of the patient for medical treatment or medically required diagnostic study; or
(ii) Special or unusual services for cost outlier cases (under the prospective payment system set forth in subpart F of part 412 of this chapter).
(2) The estimated time the patient will need to remain in the hospital.
(3) The plans for posthospital care, if appropriate.
(b) Timing of certification. For outlier cases under subpart F of part 412 of this chapter, the certification must be signed and documented in the medical record and as specified in paragraphs (e) through (h) of this section. For all other cases, the certification must be signed and documented no later than 20 days into the hospital stay.
(c) Certification of need for hospitalization when a SNF bed is not available.
(1) The physician may certify or recertify need for continued hospitalization if he or she finds that the patient could receive proper treatment in a SNF but no bed is available in a participating SNF.
(2) If this is the basis for the physician's certification or recertification, the required statement must so indicate; and the certifying physician is expected to continue efforts to place the patient in a participating SNF as soon as a bed becomes available.
(d) Signatures -
(1) Basic rule. Except as specified in paragraph (d)(2) of this section, certifications and recertifications must be signed by the physician responsible for the case, or by another physician who has knowledge of the case and who is authorized to do so by the responsible physician or by the hospital's medical staff.
(2) Exception. If the intermediary requests certification of the need to admit a patient in connection with dental procedures, because his or her underlying medical condition and clinical status or the severity of the dental procedures require hospitalization, that certification may be signed by the dentist caring for the patient.
(e) Timing of certifications and recertifications: Outlier cases not subject to the prospective payment system (PPS).
(1) For outlier cases that are not subject to the PPS, certification is required no later than as of the 12th day of hospitalization. A hospital may, at its option, provide for the certification to be made earlier, or it may vary the timing of the certification within the 12-day period by diagnostic or clinical categories.
(2) The first recertification is required no later than as of the 18th day of hospitalization.
(3) Subsequent recertifications are required at intervals established by the UR committee (on a case-by-case basis if it so chooses), but no less frequently than every 30 days.
(f) Timing of certification and recertification: Outlier cases subject to PPS. For outlier cases subject to the PPS, certification is required as follows:
(1) For day outlier cases, certification is required no later than 1 day after the hospital reasonably assumes that the case meets the outlier criteria, established in accordance with § 412.80(a)(1)(i) of this chapter, or no later than 20 days into the hospital stay, whichever is earlier. The first and subsequent recertifications are required at intervals established by the UR committee (on a case-by-case basis if it so chooses) but not less frequently than every 30 days.
(2) For cost outlier cases, certification is required no later than the date on which the hospital requests cost outlier payment or 20 days into the hospital stay, whichever is earlier. If possible, certification must be made before the hospital incurs costs for which it will seek cost outlier payment. In cost outlier cases, the first and subsequent recertifications are required at intervals established by the UR committee (on a case-by-case basis if it so chooses).
(g) Recertification requirement fulfilled by utilization review.
(1) At the hospital's option, extended stay review by its UR committee may take the place of the second and subsequent recertifications required for outlier cases not subject to PPS and for PPS day-outlier cases.
(2) A utilization review that is used to fulfill the recertification requirement is considered timely if performed no later than the seventh day after the day the recertification would have been required. The next recertification would need to be made no later than the 30th day following such review; if review by the UR committee took the place of this recertification, the review could be performed as late as the seventh day following the 30th day.
(h) Description of procedures. The hospital must have available on file a written description that specifies the time schedule for certifications and recertifications, and indicates whether utilization review of long-stay cases fulfills the requirement for second and subsequent recertifications of all outlier cases not subject to PPS and of PPS day outlier cases.