In the words of the famous philosopher Aristotle, “The more you know, the more you know you don’t know.” This quote couldn’t be more appropriate for cost reports.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) generally publishes regulations and notices on the fourth Friday of each month. In 2015, this amounted to more than 200 notices, so keeping up is somewhat of a challenge!
One thing that may make it easier to stay current with the changes is a better understanding of your own facility. The cost report includes a Worksheet S-2 that has various questions about your facility and if you can develop an understanding of these, it could help you know when a newly published regulation has a potential impact on you.
Confirm all S-2 questions are answered properly (Pub 15-2, §4004)
Worksheet S-2 includes Part I (171 questions) and Part II (43 questions) and the corresponding instructions encompass twenty-seven pages; the entire instructions are 500+ pages so some “light reading” when you have some free time. Separate instructions exist for SNFs (Chapter 41) and Hospice (Chapter 43).
The instructions are available on the CMS website:
Welcome to Medicare Cost Report Talk! Medicare Cost Reports can be like the famous line from the movie Forrest Gump: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you’re going to get.” Until now! We’re starting this blog to share cost report tips to help you learn more about this complex document, and maybe save you some time in the process.
The Medicare cost report is a required filing for any facility that treats Medicare patients. Each “provider type” (e.g., hospital, nursing home, rural health clinic, home health agency, etc.) has its own specific report. The report contains information such as facility characteristics, utilization, costs and charges.
The instructions for completing each type of report are complex. They are available on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) website: