News & Analysis as of

OIG Recommends Greater Scrutiny for Hospice Services in ALFs

The OIG’s recently released study examining Medicare hospice claims from 2007 to 2012 calls for targeted reviews of hospices that receive a high proportion of their payments for care in assisted living facilities....more

MedPAC Voices Concerns about Growing Volume, Burden of Medicare Quality Measures

In December 2014, CMS released a 329-page list of quality measures under consideration for the Medicare program. In a January 13, 2015 comment letter, MedPAC observes that volume of measures under consideration “reinforces...more

Health Care Update - January 2015 #2

In This Issue: - Changes Ahead for Health Policy In 2015 - Implementation of the Affordable Care Act - Other Federal Regulatory Initiatives - Congressional Initiatives - Other Health Care...more

Manatt on Health Reform: Weekly Highlights: January 2015 #3

This week, leadership changes at CMS continue, Montana’s Governor introduces Medicaid expansion legislation, and the California Marketplace allows new health plan entrants into the individual and SHOP Marketplaces for the...more

New Limitations on RAC Program

In March 2014, CMS temporarily suspended the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program until it secured new contracts. The contracts for the program expired in June 2014, and in August, CMS said that it would restart the...more

Paperwork Burden Eased in CMS Voluntary Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol Filings

In late December 2014, CMS made a small change to its voluntary Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol (SRDP) to help reduce some of the paperwork burden associated with filing under the SRDP. Section 6409 of the Affordable...more

CMS Announces Updated List of RAC Program Improvements For New Contracts, Beginning With the Newly Awarded DME, Home Health, and...

On December 30, 2014, CMS announced that it has awarded a new Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) contract to Connolly LLC to identify improper Medicare payments nationwide made to suppliers of durable medical equipment,...more

Health Headlines: Also in the News - January 2015

MACS to Hold Certain 2015 Date-of-Service Claims – CMS announced on December 29, 2014, that Medicare Administrative Contractors will hold claims containing 2015 services paid under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS)...more

The Overuse of Antipsychotic Drugs in Nursing Homes

Many nursing homes are improperly prescribing antipsychotic drugs to patients even though federal law restricts their use. Almost 300,000 nursing home residents are currently receiving antipsychotic drugs normally used to...more

Medicare Enrollment Rules - Expanded Enforcement Finalized in Regulations

On December 5, 2014, CMS published final regulations that expand the bases for CMS to deny enrollment or revoke billing privileges of an enrolled provider or supplier. These final regulations also change the method to...more

Skilled Nursing Facilities: Steps for Reducing FCA Liability

Several government agencies have voiced concerns related to the level of therapy services necessary to care for residents of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs). The level of therapy services indicated for SNF residents...more

Pain Clinic Sues CMS Over $25 Million Repayment Demand

Alabama Pain Center thought it knew all about pain, but nothing had prepared it for the bill it received when CMS decided to retroactively “reprice” certain compounded drugs: $25 million....more

A Quick Look at Healthcare Issues Expected to Make News in 2015

As we look into our crystal balls, we do not expect a lot of new issues in 2015. Rather, we believe that most of the significant issues will be a continuation of issues that arose in 2014 or earlier. ...more

CMS Proposes Changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program MSSP

On December 1, 2014, CMS published its proposed changes and updates to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). Comments are due by February 6, 2015. Below is a summary of the...more

CMS Issues Final Rule on Reimbursement for Chronic Care Management Services

On November 13, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule, including a new code and guidance for billing for chronic care management services (CCM),...more

Debate Intensifies Over Medicare Advantage Plans’ Removal of Providers

Which is more important in a Medicare Advantage plan: the plan’s flexibility to change its provider list during the plan year, or the enrollees’ right to confidence that their providers won’t be removed from the plan after...more

CMS Releases Key Proposals for the 2016 Qualified Health Plan Application Process

Stakeholders received insight on the Obama administration’s expected approach to the certification and oversight of qualified health plans (“QHPs”) on December 19, 2014, with the release by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid...more

CMS Releases the Civil Money Penalty Analytic Tool

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently released the civil money penalty (“CMP”) analytic tool used by CMS Regional Offices (“RO”) to review, approve or modify the proposed fines for nursing facilities...more

2014 – The Health Law Year in Review

Each year brings significant changes and challenges in the laws governing the health care industry, and 2014 proved to be no exception. What the year may have lacked in the high drama that accompanies comprehensive health...more

Health Headlines: Also in the News - December 2014 #4

CMS Awards $665 Million in Second Round of State Innovation Models Initiative – CMS announced the recipients of the second round of the State Innovation Models (SIM) awards on December 16, 2014. The recipients—28 states,...more

CMS Announces Latest Group Of MSSP ACOs And May Allow ACOs To Remain As “Upside-Risk Only” Longer

December has been a busy month for CMS with respect to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”). Last week CMS announced that eighty-nine (89) more ACOs would begin participating in the MSSP starting in 2015, bringing the...more

Health Care Reform Implementation Update

The 113th Congress concluded its final legislative work with a $1.1 trillion spending bill, a tax extenders package, and a flurry of nomination confirmations including a new surgeon general. Additionally, the Affordable Care...more

Manatt on Health Reform: Weekly Highlights: December 2014 #4

With the holiday season underway, this week the Federal government awarded $110 million in exchange establishment grants, released proposed rules to permit employees to receive employer-sponsored insurance and tax credits,...more

Touching Up that Old Two Step: CMS Proposes Revisions to its Beneficiary Assignment Methodology

On Dec. 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a new proposed rule for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). This advisory focuses...more

CMS Proposes Financial Revisions to MSSP to Encourage Continued and Expanded Participation

Many critics have suggested that the November 11, 2011 final rule establishing the MSSP created a financial model that over time would not be sustainable. ACOs viewed the requirement to take risk after the initial three years...more

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