News & Analysis as of

House Approves Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act

Repeals SGR Formula, Adopts Medicare and Other Policy Changes - Today the U.S. House of Representatives approved a major Medicare package, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which would reform...more

No SGR Action by Senate

Senate leaves for recess with no action on SGR repeal - Despite a successful vote in the House yesterday, the Senate failed to bring to a vote legislation to repeal the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR)...more

House Plans to Vote Thursday on Medicare Physician Payments, CHIP Extension Legislation

After a decade of short-term actions, congressional leaders are pushing this week to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment rates, and replace the system with one...more

Is Health Care Fraud on the Rise? Or Just the Accusations??

Recent stories in the news seem to suggest that health care fraud is running rampant. We’ve got stories about Eric Leak‘s Medicaid agency, Nature’s Reflections, funneling money to pay athletes, a seizure of property in...more

Timeline tightens for provider, supplier responses to MAC and ZPIC requests starting April 6, 2015

MAC and ZPIC reviewers have the right to request additional documentation when a claim itself is insufficient to make a payment determination. Effective April 6, 2015, in response to a pre-payment review and additional...more

HHS Releases List of 25 Unimplemented Recommendations to Save Money and Improve Quality in Medicare and Medicaid

On March 16, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the Compendium of Unimplemented Recommendations, an 83-page document that identifies 25 priorities for saving money and...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: Bipartisan, Bicameral Permanent SGR Fix Introduced... House Budget Committee Advances FY2016 Budget Proposal... National Coverage Determinations Proposed for Removal... HHS Releases Proposed Rules on EHR Incentive...more

Congressional Leaders Introduce Legislation to Repeal Medicare's SGR Formula, Increase Physician Reimbursement Rates

A group of bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders introduced a bill, on March 19, to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment rates. The formula has called for dramatic...more

OIG Reviews Medicare Reimbursement for Critical Access Hospital (CAH) Swing-Bed Services

A recent OIG report examines increasing use of CAH “swing-bed” services, which the OIG describes as being equivalent to services performed at a SNF, but which are reimbursed at 101% of a CAH’s reasonable cost rather than at...more

Health Care Update - March 2015 #3

In This Issue: - Permanent Medicare Doc-Fix Could be a Reality, CHIP Reauthorization May Be Lynchpin - Implementation of the Affordable Care Act - Other Federal Regulatory Initiatives -...more

CMS Publishes Final Rule Establishing Appeal Process for Applicable Plans in Medicare Secondary Payer Cases

On February 27, 2015, CMS published a final rule, effective April 28, 2015, to establish a formal, multilevel administrative appeals process for applicable plans against which Medicare Secondary Payer (MSP) recovery demands...more

New Postings on the Reed Smith Health Industry Washington Watch Blog

The Reed Smith Health Industry Washington Watch blog has been updated to report on recent health policy developments, including the following...more

Next Generation ACOs: CMMI Doubles Down on the Two-Sided Risk ACO Model

While one part of the Affordable Care Act, exchange subsidies, hangs in the balance with the Supreme Court’s upcoming decision in King v Burwell, CMS is moving forward aggressively with the evolution of a less controversial...more

OIG Wants CMS to Take a Scalpel to Surgery Costs

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of Health & Human Services is recommending that CMS make a major reduction to the amount it pays hospitals for certain kinds of surgery. ...more

CMS Releases April 2015 Medicare Part B Drug ASP Update

CMS has posted its April 2015 update to the Medicare average sales price (ASP) drug pricing files, which contain the payment amounts CMS will use to pay for Part B covered drugs for the second quarter of 2015....more

GAO Report Highlights Improper Medicare/Medicaid Payments

Despite the efforts of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to combat fraud and contain costs in federal healthcare programs, Medicare’s fee-for-service program (Parts A and B) and Medicaid were two of the top...more

OIG Repeats Calls for Expanded Medicare Part B Drug Price Substitution Policy

The OIG has issued the latest in a long line of reports comparing Medicare Part B drug average sales prices (ASP) and average manufacturer prices (AMP), this time with a focus on 2013 pricing. By way of background, CMS has...more

DME Suppliers, Get More Information on Your Medicare Appeals

A new Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) website offers intel on reimbursement appeal status, but does little to speed up the appeal process or eliminate the current backlog. It does, however, provide useful...more

Washington Healthcare Update

1. Congress - House - House Republican Working Group Outlines King v. Burwell “Off-Ramp” Plan The House Republican Health Care Working Group has released an outline of policies they would support if the...more

Health Alert (Australia) - March 9, 2015

In This Issue: Judgments; Legislation; and Reports. - Excerpt from Judgments: Australia. Federal Court - 5 March 2015 - Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation v Kaizen Hospitals (Essendon) Pty Ltd...more

Medicare Advantage Insurers May See Positive Growth in 2016 Despite CMS’ 0.95% Payment Rate Cut Announcement

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed a 0.95 percent decrease in Medicare Advantage payment rates for 2016 in its Advance Notice and Draft Call Letter released on February 20, 2015. Medicare Advantage...more

CMS Call Letter: Medicare Advantage Contracting Considerations

As a final addition to our series on the 2016 Draft Call Letter, we highlight some of the MA contracting issues raised by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (“CMS”). Specifically, CMS (1) recommends Medicare...more

Health Care Update - March 2015

In This Issue: - King v. Burwell before the Supreme Court and the Potential Congressional Response - Implementation of the Affordable Care Act - Other Federal Regulatory Initiatives - Congressional...more

CMS Call on Physician Quality Reporting Programs (March 18)

On March 18, 2015, CMS is hosting a call to discuss how providers may report once across various 2015 Medicare Quality Reporting Programs, including the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Medicare Electronic...more

MA Risk Adjustment in the 2016 Call Letter and … in Health Care Fraud Charges

In past Call Letters, CMS has proposed and finalized significant changes to the Medicare Advantage risk adjustment system including, recalibrations, deletions and additions of diagnoses codes, and questioning of the value of...more

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