News & Analysis as of

Recent Changes to Stark Law's Whole Hospital Exception

The federal physician self-referral law, or Stark Law, provides a number of exceptions to the law's prohibition of physician referrals of designated health services to an entity in which the physician has an ownership or...more

How to Prepare Your Hospital or Medical Practice for a Meaningful Use Audit

For the past several years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has incentivized hospitals and eligible professionals to adopt and make “meaningful use” of certified electronic health records (“EHR”)...more

CMS Releases Final Rule That Increases Difficulty of Medicare Enrollment

In early December, CMS released a final rule that implements certain provider (i.e., Hospitals, SNFs, physicians, etc.) and supplier (i.e., DME companies, etc.) enrollment requirements (“Rule”). The goal of CMS’...more

CMS Final Rule Adds More Arrows but also Demonstrates Restraint

CMS reconsiders $10 million bounties for reporting of regulatory violations. On December 5, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a rule (the Final Rule) that expands its program integrity and...more

CMS Defines “Uninsured” for Medicaid DSH Payments But Leaves Impact on Hospital-Specific Payments Undefined

CMS’ Final Rule, “Medicaid; Disproportionate Share Hospital Payments – Uninsured Definition”, published on December 3, 2014, may offer relief to some hospitals receiving Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments...more

Hospitals and Health Insurers Prodded on Same-Sex and Transgender Issues

In separate actions yesterday, CMS and the New York State insurance regulatory authority took steps to (a) assure equal treatment of same-sex spouses by hospitals and (b) insurance coverage of medically necessary transgender...more

Government Applauds Gainsharing, But It's Still Illegal

It's frustrating enough when the government opposes a good idea and makes it illegal. But "gainsharing" presents an even more frustrating situation for hospitals. Why? Because the government continually signals its agreement...more

CMS Invites Comment on Availability of Waivers for ACOs That Particularly Affect Post-Acute Care

Solutions and opportunities may be on the horizon for post-acute providers (“PAPs”) and hospitals participating (or thinking of participating) in ACOs that have reservations about taking on additional downside cost risk...more

CMS Clarifies Definition of Uninsured Under the Hospital-Specific Limitation on Medicaid DSH Payments

On Friday, November 28, 2014, CMS issued a Final Rule providing that, for purposes of the hospital-specific limitation on Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments, the definition of “uninsured” will now be...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

CMS Publishes Additional (but Limited) Guidance on the Coverage with Evidence Development Process

On November 20, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published its latest round of guidance on its Coverage with Evidence Development (“CED”) policy for selected items and services under the Medicare...more

Final CMS CoPs: Navigating Revised Medical Staff Standards and New Requirements

In this presentation: - Hospital Governing Board - Hospital Medical Staff – Membership - Hospital Medical Staff – Separate or Unified? - Ordering Hospital Outpatient Services - Excerpt from...more

Representative Brady Introduces Discussion Draft of the Hospital Improvements for Payment Act of 2014

On November 19, 2014, House Ways & Means Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady introduced a 146-page discussion draft of the Hospital Improvements for Payment Act of 2014 (HIP). HIP seeks to, among other things, make...more

Proposed Federal Legislation Will Provide Relief to Hospitals and Medicare Patients in Need of Post-Acute Care

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced that the new RAC contracts in North Carolina should be ready by the end of the year. This means that, next year, RAC audits on hospitals and other providers will...more

Hospice and Home Health Update: Recent Legislative and Regulatory Efforts Continue to Change the Regulatory Landscape for Hospice...

October and November 2014 have been marked by several legislative and regulatory efforts impacting the hospice and home health industries: - President Obama signed the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation...more

2015 Medicare OPPS and ASC Final Rule

On November 10, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) final rule for 2015. The rule updates CMS’s payment rates and policies, value-based...more

Hospital Executive Pleads Guilty to False Meaningful Use Attestation for EHR Incentive Payments

The former CFO of Shelby Regional Medical Center, Joe White, pleaded guilty to knowingly making a false statement related to the hospital’s meaningful use of electronic health records (“EHR”). Shelby Regional had received...more

OIG's 2015 Work Plan Highlights Departmental Priorities

Each year the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General (OIG) issues its Work Plan to identify for the provider community the key fraud and abuse issues on which it will focus on in the coming...more

Hospitals Should Be Aware of ACA Requirement to “Make Public” Their “Standard Charges”

A provision of the Affordable Care Act includes a requirement that hospitals disclose their standard charges to the public. 42 U.S.C. § 300gg-18(e) states that “[e]ach hospital operating within the United States shall for...more

Highlights of the 2015 OPPS and ASC Final Rule

On October 31, 2014, CMS published its 2015 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System Policy Changes and Payment Rates final rule. This annual rule affects the 4,000...more

HHS Seeks Public Input To Address Growing Backlog of Medicare Appeals

The Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), a division of HHS that administers the Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearing program for Medicare claims appeals, recently issued a Request for Information (RFI) seeking...more

Blog: CMS Explains New Data Matching and Resubmission Process During Open Payments Webinar Today

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) held a webinar today to address the process for correcting and resubmitting records that were removed from the Open Payments system in August 2014 by CMS due to data...more

OIG Releases Its Workplan for 2015

HHS’s Office of Inspector General (OIG) released on Friday its Work Plan for fiscal year (FY) 2015. The 94-page work plan summarizes the new and ongoing reviews and activities that OIG plans to pursue across the full spectrum...more

CMS Finalizes OPPS Rule Packaging Pathology Services Ordered for Hospital Outpatients

As part of the Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Rule issued last week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized its proposal to conditionally package certain ancillary services assigned to APCs...more

Halloween Announcement of CMS Payment Changes

Maybe it was a coincidence, but CMS waited until Halloween to announce its final 2015 payment policies for physicians and hospital outpatient departments. While the announced changes are not really scary, one evoked sharp...more

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