News & Analysis as of

With a New Year Rolls in a New OIG Work Plan

Recently, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (“Work Plan”). The OIG protects the integrity of HHS programs by identifying...more

CMS Proposes Changes to 2016 Star Rating Calculations - Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Plans May Be...

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS or the Agency) released a memorandum requesting comments regarding proposed changes to the 2016 star ratings systems for Medicare Advantage Plans (MA Plans) and Medicare...more

Impact of Health Care Reform on Provider Liability

In this presentation: - The Changing Healthcare Landscape - Key Features of an ACO/CIN - ACO Standards and Quality Metrics - Examples of Quality Standards - Impact on Board and Corporate...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

Health Care Update - November 2014 #3

In This Issue: - 21st Century Cures Remains Top Bi-Partisan Priority for 2015 - Senate Passes Critical Access Hospital Direct Supervision Bill - Implementation of the Affordable Care Act - Other...more

Do You Offer or Accept Copayment Coupons? OIG says YOU are Responsible for Compliance with Federal Law

In recent years, copayment coupon programs have become standard promotional practices for both large and small pharmaceutical manufacturers. Copayment coupons are typically offered to commercially insured patients in order...more

What Employer Shared Responsibility Does Not Say

So much energy has been spent on what the final regulations on the employer shared responsibility tax and the related final reporting regulations (the “ESRR”), that some of the most significant considerations have been missed...more

Want To Complain About The 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule? Take A Number.

Apparently Americans feel that way about Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service physician compensation schedule. Everybody complains about it, but nobody likes any proposed changes. That’s clear from the reaction to the...more

What's the Difference Between Medicare and Medicaid in the Context of Long-Term Care?

Although their names are confusingly alike, Medicaid and Medicare are quite different programs. Both programs provide health coverage, but Medicare is an “entitlement” program, meaning that everyone who reaches age 65 and is...more

OIG Advisory Opinion Approves Medigap Insurer’s Plan to Use Preferred Hospital Network

On August 25, 2014, the OIG released an advisory opinion declining to impose civil monetary penalties on a Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance – or Medigap – insurer that planned to discount inpatient hospital deductibles...more

Efforts to Stop Health Insurance Fraud Through Use of Contractors Under Fire

In recent reports, from June 25, 2014 and August 13, 2014, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) highlights the mixed results achieved by the federal government's increased efforts to crack down on health insurance fraud...more

Bundling Gains Momentum, Even as New Study Raises Questions

Health care cost bundling—the aggregating of all the costs of an episode of medical care into a single bill—seems to be here to stay. After all, it’s the way most all other billing is done. When your car is serviced, you...more

Does Medicare NOTICE Bill Miss the Point?

The bill would require hospitals to give meaningful notice to patients who have been assigned “observation” status for over 24 hours. Observation status is different from inpatient status under the rules of Medicare and other...more

Health Update - July 2014

Avoiding the Regulatory Land Mines of Commercial ACOs - While providers are showing great interest in creating ACOs to participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), they are showing even greater enthusiasm...more

News from the Health Law Gurus™: July 2014

Survey of ACA Navigators Finds 10.6 Million People Sought Enrollment Help — In a survey released this week, the Kaiser Family Foundation (“Kaiser”) estimates that approximately 10.6 million people received assistance...more

The ACA’s Bumpy Ride

From the monumental failure of the initial government website for the federal health insurance marketplace (healthcare.gov) to the looming employer mandate, the Affordable Care Act has garnered its fair share of criticism....more

Health Systems Continue To Acquire Insurers

The wall between health care providers and health insurers continues to erode, as Ascension Health’s CEO acknowledges Ascension is in talks to acquire WellCare Health Plans. Ascension is the nation’s largest nonprofit health...more

Health Care Reform Implementation Update - April 21, 2014

On April 14, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation (JCT) reported their findings that show a smaller rise in insurance premium costs under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) than previously...more

Health Care Providers May Waive Patients' Copayment Obligations, But...

In a difficult economic environment, many health care providers are actively trying to increase cash flow and reduce administrative expenses. One potential way for providers to accomplish these goals is to discount their...more

Private Health Insurance Fraud — Billions And Billions

When it comes to health insurance fraud, Carl Sagan’s obsession with the words – billions and billions — are particularly accurate. As the government’s role in health care increases, it is inevitable that fraud against...more

OIG Advisory Opinions Provide Some Helpful Guidance

In spite of a slow start, the OIG has issued a number of interesting advisory opinions to date in 2013. Here are a few of the highlights. The OIG reiterated its long-standing concern about arrangements which “carve out”...more

Pathology Lab That Cannot Demonstrate Adequate Physician Orders Suffers Medicare Loss

Much has been written regarding various Medicare policies that may cause a clinical laboratory to suffer the resulting financial consequences when a test requested by a physician is found to be not medically necessary, most...more

Federal Government Aggressively Pursuing Health Care Fraud

Proactive self-audits help providers identify potential problems - The Federal Government is using every tool available to fight health care fraud and recover overpayments from health care providers. According to the...more

OIG Publishes Audit of Outpatient Therapy Services Seeking Return of $3.1 Million in Reimbursements

In June 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Investigator General (OIG) published a review of its audit of an outpatient therapy services provider. The OIG concluded that the outpatient therapy...more

U.S. Supreme Court Ruling: Defense of Marriage Act ("DOMA")

While the U.S. Supreme Court(the “Court”) ruled section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (“DOMA”) unconstitutional, that does not mean that the changes for human resources departments and employee benefits plans can be...more

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