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The Siege Continues: The Justice Department Is Investigating Four Additional Medicare Advantage Plans On Risk Adjustment Issues

WHO IS AT RISK - The federal government has indicated that it is still investigating, and could ultimately join a false claims whistleblower qui tam action against Aetna, Inc., Humana, Inc., Cigna, Inc. (through its Bravo...more

Medicare Advantage Plans Under Siege: Another Whistleblower Lawsuit

In a court decision last year in Swoben v. United Healthcare, the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit held that an allegation – that a Medicare Advantage Plan performed a “biased” HCC-RAF retrospective...more

Notes on Day 4 of the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference

Some interesting presentations on the last day of the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference that concentrated on common themes – the increasing importance of ancillary business line to bolster core business revenue and of filling in...more

The Old and the New – Day 3 Notes from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference

Day 3 of the JPMorgan healthcare conference was one of striking contrasts between the old and the new. (And, by the way, the rain finally stopped for a day, but it will be back tomorrow to finish off the last day of the...more

Food for Thought (and Health): Day 2 Notes from the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference

Addressing the Social Determinants of Health: Is the healthcare industry pushing a rock up a hill? We collectively are trying to provide healthcare with improved quality and reduced cost, but the structure of the nation’s...more

Looking Forward/Looking Backward – Day 1 Notes from the JPMorgan Healthcare Conference

A large amount of wind, much discussion about the U.S healthcare, and the public getting soaked again – if you were thinking about Washington, DC and the new Congress, you’re 3,000 miles away from the action. This is the week...more

“May You Live in Interesting Times” – Some Healthcare Predictions for the Trump Administration’s First Year

The ancient Chinese curse – “May you live in interesting times” – certainly springs to mind these days. What does the election of Donald Trump mean for the healthcare industry, the Affordable Care Act and current healthcare...more

New Study Finds Medicare Advantage Plans Pay Lower Prices Than Traditional Medicare

A new study by Stanford University researchers finds that Medicare Advantage plans pay lower prices than traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare for most types of hospital admissions. According to the study—published...more

Maryland Co-Op Claims Risk Adjustment Formula Discriminates Against Smaller Insurers

Maryland’s Evergreen Health Cooperative has filed for an injunction against the federal government to halt payment by the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (co-op) of the $22 million it owes to CareFirst BlueCross...more

RECAP: Highlights from the Sixty-Ninth World Health Assembly in Geneva, May 23rd to 28th

Every year in May, the health ministers from all 194 World Health Organization (WHO) Member States meet at the WHO headquarters in Geneva to attend the World Health Assembly (WHA). As the decision-making body of WHO, the WHA...more

Day Three Notes – JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, San Francisco

On January 13, 2016, conference sessions surfaced interesting questions and approaches regarding the post-acute sector, bundled payment, emergency medicine and anesthesia. Post-Acute Focus: With more and more focus on...more

Day Two Notes – JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, San Francisco

It was another interesting day at JP Morgan, the healthcare conference that never disappoints. Surprising declarations of war and peace, partnering that really works and strong growth stories all were heard today....more

Day One Notes – JP Morgan Healthcare Conference, San Francisco

Someone asked me last week what it was like to attend the JP Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, which started its annual run on January 11, 2016. Outside the conference hotel right now is the obligatory lunchtime...more

Federal Spotlight Continues to Shine on Physician-Owned Distributorships

A recent Senate Finance Committee hearing investigated the effects of physician-owned distributorships (“PODs”) on costs of care and patient safety, suggesting that the momentum for greater oversight of such business...more

The Next Rx: New Medicare Part D Initiative Advances Role of Medication Management in Reform

Medicare Part D’s Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program intends to optimize clinical benefits and avoid drug-related problems among eligible beneficiaries. MTM services—involving pharmaceutical and clinical...more

The Supreme Court Holds That Medicaid Providers Cannot Sue To Enforce Federal Reimbursement Rate Standards

On March 31, 2015, the U.S. Supreme Court issued its decision in Armstrong v. Exceptional Child Center, Inc., holding that Medicaid providers cannot sue to enforce reimbursement standards set forth in federal Medicaid law....more

Full Speed Ahead for Meaningful Use

On Friday, March 20, 2015, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a proposed rule which would make significant changes to the federal Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Records (“EHR”) Incentive...more

Time is Running Out to Avoid the Negative Effects of 2016 Value-Based Physician Payment Modifiers: CMS Releases Results of...

CMS recently released results of Medicare’s value-based payment modifier for 2015. This is the first year in which physicians are subject to adjustments under the payment system and, in this first phase of implementation,...more

3/16/2015  /  CMS , Medicare , Physician Payments , Physicians , PQRS

HHS Launches New Payment and Delivery Model to Improve Oncology Care

Cancer care is notoriously complex, intensive and costly. With more than 1.6 million people diagnosed with cancer each year, there is a strong impetus towards reforming service delivery. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of...more

2/26/2015  /  Cancer , Healthcare , HHS , Medicare

New Venture Seeks to Support Independent Physicians in Texas

The Texas Medical Association (TMA) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas are launching a new services company, TMA PracticeEdge, to facilitate bringing the benefits of value-based reimbursements to the state’s independent...more

Effects of the New Federal Spending Package on the Health Sector

In mid-December, President Obama signed into law a $1.1 trillion spending bill known as the “Consolidated and Further Continuing Appropriations Act, 2015” or “Cromnibus.”[1] This post explores provisions that relate to the...more

The National Association of Insurance Commissioners Weigh in on Issues of Network Adequacy

Network adequacy—a health plan’s ability to provide timely access to a sufficient number in-network providers—has become a matter of increased scrutiny during these early years of ACA implementation; Many consumer and...more

CMS Grants First Waiver of Stark Law Expansion Restrictions—Are More Ahead?

Are changes to the landscape of physician hospital ownership ahead? The Affordable Care Act amended the federal Stark Law to eliminate the “whole hospital exception” that permitted self-referrals provided the referring...more

Exploring the Relationship Between Price and Competition Among Physician Practices

The latest from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) is a thematic issue organized around a prominent topic in healthcare: price, cost, and competition. Contributing to the debate is an article titled,...more

From Competitors to Co-Adventurers, Seven Hospital Systems Join with Anthem Blue Cross to Shake Things Up in Southern California

Anthem Blue Cross and seven competing hospital systems in Southern California are joining forces to establish a new health plan offering, Vivity.[1] Operating with a combined 14 hospitals and approximately 6,000 physicians,...more

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