News & Analysis as of

Tidbits and Takeaways from OIG’s 2016 Work Plan

The Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services (“OIG”) recently issued its 2016 Work Plan, which sets the agenda for its auditing and investigation in the year ahead. The broad mandate of the OIG is to...more

U.S. v. AseraCare and the Standard of Falsity Under the False Claims Act

Prosecutors, defense attorneys and health care providers alike have been closely watching the U.S. v. AseraCare (No. 2:12-cv-00245) matter pending in the Northern District of Alabama. The AseraCare case relates to hospice...more

OIG Work Plan Series Installment Two - Long Term Care - Nursing Homes, Hospice, and Home Health

In early November 2015, the Department of Health & Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) released its 2016 Work Plan, which includes projects specific to certain provider types. This alert will focus on the...more

AGG Helps Hospice Weather the Perfect Storm of Aggressive Medicare Payment Denials and Administrative Appeal Backlog

Medicare’s implementation of post-payment review through private contractors who are overly aggressive in denying payments, combined with a severe backlog of cases in queue for hearing before an Administrative Law Judge...more

OIG Releases FY 2016 Work Plan

On November 2, HHS OIG released its FY 2016 Work Plan. The Work Plan summarizes new and ongoing OIG reviews with respect to HHS programs and operations, providing an advance notice to the industry, policymakers, and the...more

Jury Sides with DOJ in First Phase of FCA Statistical Sampling Trial

Last week, a jury in Alabama federal court sided with the Department of Justice (DOJ) and qui tam relators in the first part of a False Claims Act (FCA) case against AseraCare Inc., a provider of hospice and palliative care...more

CMS Corrects FY 2016 Medicare Payment Rules

CMS has released corrections to a number of fiscal year (FY) 2016 final Medicare payment rules. Specifically, on October 5, 2015, CMS is publishing corrections to...more

HHS Issues Proposed 340B Program Omnibus Guidance: Five Things to Watch

The 340B Drug Pricing Program (340B Program), established by Section 602 of the Veterans Health Care Act of 1992, is administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) of HHS. The 340B Program requires...more

Whistleblowers — and Taxpayers — Win Lawsuit over Medicare Fraud

Here’s another story with a satisfying ending and the take-home lesson that it’s a bad idea to cheat taxpayers and abuse medical resources. A chain of hospices agreed to settle a lawsuit over its overbilling of...more

Also In The News - Health Headlines - September 2015 #2

Final ACO Fraud Waiver Under OMB Review – The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) reported on September 9, 2015, that it began its review of the final rule (CMS-1439-F; RIN 0938-AR30), titled “Medicare Shared...more

Tax Changes Made by Maine's 127th Legislature

The Maine Legislature ended its tumultuous session on July 16, 2015. After an advisory opinion by the Maine Supreme Court, we now know which bills actually became law. As usual, a number of significant tax issues were...more

Shifting Hospice Reimbursement – Moving in the Direction of Aligning Payment with Resource Concentration

The United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its update to the home health prospective payment system (HHPPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2016 in the August...more

Hospice Cap Demand Group Appeal Deadline

As you likely are aware, Medicare hospice payments were reduced by two percent in accordance with a sequestration order issued March 1, 2013, pursuant to Section 251A of the Balanced Budget and Emergency Deficit Control Act....more

Also In The News - Health Headlines - August 2015

CMS Issues SNF Final Payment Rule for FY 2016 – On July 30, 2015, CMS released the final Medicare FY 2016 payment rule for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). The final rule will result in an estimated increase of $430 million...more

CMS Finalizes Medicare Hospice Wage Index/Rates for FY 2016

On August 6, 2015, CMS is publishing its final rule to update Medicare hospice payment rates and the wage index for fiscal year (FY) 2016. CMS estimates that the final rule will increase overall payments to hospices by about...more

Key Ruling In False Claims Act Case Could Have Important Implications For Defendants

A recent decision out of a United States District Court in Alabama may signal that the playing field traditionally dominated by the government will no longer be so one-sided against providers defending against False Claim Act...more

CMS Announces Hospices Invited to Participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model

On July 20, 2015, CMS announced the hospices invited to participate in the Medicare Care Choices Model. Under current Medicare rules, a Medicare beneficiary must forgo curative treatments to receive palliative care provided...more

Final FY 2016 Medicare Payment Rules on the Horizon

Despite the recent flurry of activity on Medicare payment rules, more are in the pipeline. CMS has sent the final fiscal year (FY) 2016 Medicare skilled nursing facility, hospice, inpatient rehabilitation facility, and...more

Time to Revisit Your Physician Relationships

On June 9, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services, Office of Inspector General issued a new Fraud Alert entitled "Physician Compensation Arrangements May Result in Significant Liability" (Alert) in the wake of 12...more

Recent OIG Audits of Home Health and Hospice Surveys May Signal Increased Scrutiny on Worker Qualifications

Recent audits by the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) conclude that state survey agencies in a number of states and a leading national accrediting agency serving the home health and...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: House Ways & Means Committee Holds Markup; Makes Significant Legislative Changes to Health Care Bills... Senate Finance Committee Holds Markup on Medicare Appeals Process Bill... CMS Issues Final Rule on...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: House E&C 21st Century Cures Bill Passes Unanimously Out of Committee... House Votes to Codify Permanent R&D Tax Credit... CMS Released Proposed Rule Concerning Medicaid and CHIP Plans....more

CMS Proposes Updates to Medicare Hospice Wage Index/Rates for FY 2016

CMS published a proposed rule on May 5, 2015 that would update Medicare hospice payment rates and the wage index for fiscal year (FY) 2016. CMS estimates that the proposed rule would increase overall payments to hospices by...more

CMS Call on Hospice Quality Reporting (June 17)

CMS is hosting a June 17, 2015 provider call to discuss the Hospice Quality Reporting Program and the new Hospice Item Set (HIS) Manual (V1.02). The target audience includes quality staff at Medicare-certified hospice...more

CMS Proposes Payment Reform/Cap Adjustments

On April 30, 2015, CMS released its FY 2015 Hospice Wage Index, including long anticipated payment reform and some changes to the hospice cap calculation. Comments are due by June 29. Here is an initial summary and...more

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