News & Analysis as of

Medicare RAC Program Improvements Delayed Until 2016 - Shorts on Long Term Care February 2015

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had planned to award new contracts to companies that act as Medicare’s recovery audit contractors (now referred to as recovery auditors) (RAs) for operation of the Medicare...more

Ways and Means Committee to Markup Medicare Fraud, Competitive Bidding, and other Medicare Policy Bills

On February 26, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on the following bills: H.R. 1021, “Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2015” – a sweeping bill to promote Medicare program...more

CMS Corrects 2015 Medicare OPPS/ASC Final Rule, Impacts Rates

Today CMS published a notice correcting its November 10, 2014 final rule updating the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies...more

False Claims Act – 2014 Year in Review

The False Claims Act (FCA) imposes liability on individuals and companies who defraud or submit false claims to the federal government. The FCA allows the federal government to seek treble damages, civil penalties and...more

Can an Arbitrator Rule Against a Hospital for Not Violating the Anti-Kickback Statute?

Here’s a nightmare. An arbitrator rules against your hospital for failing to honor an agreement to refer Medicare patients to a home health agency. Why? Because the home health agency paid your hospital good money for the...more

OIG Responds to Hospital Compliance Review Objections

The OIG has defended its hospital compliance review policies in response to objections raised by the American Hospital Association (AHA). Specifically, a January 15, 2015 OIG letter addresses four main areas of AHA concern...more

OIG Questions Potentially Duplicative Hospital Quality Improvement Efforts

The OIG recently issued a report that examined the extent to which Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) duplicate other CMS hospital quality improvement efforts, particularly Hospital Engagement Networks (HENs) and the...more

OIG Examines CMS Payments to Hospitals for Clinic Visits

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) estimates that CMS made $4.6 million in incorrect Medicare outpatient payments to hospitals for established patients’ clinic visits in 2012. ...more

Quality Over Quantity: The Shift from Fee-for-Service to Value-Based Payment Systems

The United States Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”) recently announced its intention to tie thirty percent of fee-for-service Medicare payments to alternative and value-based payment models by 2016. HHS hopes...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: President’s FY2016 Budget Request... FDA Commissioner Hamburg to step down... Tennessee Medicaid expansion plan rejected by legislature. 1. Congress House House Ways and Means Committee Hosts Hearing...more

HHS Identifies Specific Goals to Move Toward Paying for Quality of Care

On January 26, 2015, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced a new initiative to shift Medicare reimbursements from volume to value using new payment methodologies for physicians and hospitals. Such a...more

Medicare Hospital Compliance Reviews are Legal and Sound, According to OIG

The Office of Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) recently defended its practices pertaining to hospital compliance reviews in a published response to a letter from the American Hospital...more

HHS Announces First Timeline For Medicare Pay Reforms

On Monday, January 26, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") announced a timeline for moving physicians and hospitals into new payment systems and tying Medicare reimbursements to quality of care....more

HHS Payment and Delivery Reform Announcement Sets Priorities for Remainder of Obama Administration

One week prior to the unveiling of the President’s first budget under a completely Republican-controlled Congress, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) made its most formal announcement yet on the Obama...more

Second Circuit Revives Medicare Beneficiaries’ Observation Status Suit

On January 22, 2015, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit reversed a decision by the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut dismissing a lawsuit by Medicare beneficiaries alleging deprivation of due...more

OIG Defends Its Hospital Compliance Reviews in Response to AHA Criticism

The Office of the Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services(“OIG”) responded to concerns expressed by the American Hospital Association (“AHA”) regarding the OIG’s hospital compliance reviews,...more

Catching Up on the False Claims Act

From a corporate risk perspective, if your company is in the financial industry, healthcare, or defense industry, your greatest legal and compliance risk has to be the False Claims Act....more

Healthcare Fraud: Aggressive Enforcement Strategies

This week I am focusing on the persistent problem of healthcare fraud. For healthcare providers, the challenge of compliance and avoiding enforcement risks is particularly difficult. ...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

Health Care Enforcement in 2015: A Look Back on 2014 and Forecasting the Year Ahead

In testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Subcommittee on Health Care in April 2011, the now-pending nominee for U.S. Attorney General, Loretta E. Lynch, stated in no uncertain terms that “fighting health...more

AHA Responds to House Bill Concerning RACs and Two-Midnight Rule

In a December 18, 2014 letter to U.S. Representative Kevin Brady, the American Hospital Association (AHA) voiced its opinion on a discussion draft of the Hospital Improvements for Payment Act of 2014 (HIP). The House Ways and...more

Residents Can Be Hazardous to a Community Hospital's Medicare Health

Although Medicare graduate medical education reimbursement can be a helpful source of financing to facilitate resident training, many community hospitals have suffered a “gotcha” moment when trying to establish new programs....more

Health Reform + Related Health Policy News - December 2014, Issue 1

In This Issue: - Top News ..Congress Passes Omnibus Spending Package ..HRSA Cancels Plan for 340B ‘Mega Reg’; Congress Weighs Options ..Supreme Court to Hear Challenge to ACA...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

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