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

In This Issue: - Top News ..The Congressional Agenda is Light as the Focus Shifts to the Midyear Elections ..Physician Supervision Requirement for Small and Rural Hospitals ..CMS Offers Hospitals...more

Health Headlines: Also in the News - September 2014 #3

Congressman Sends Letter to Secretary of HHS Urging Her to Retract CMS’s Global Settlement Offer – On September 15, 2014, Congressman Kevin Brady (R-Tex), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee, sent a...more

OIG Reports Medicare Part B Supplying and Dispensing Fees Significantly Higher Than Those Under Part D and Medicaid

According to a recently released report from the HHS OIG, pharmacies are reimbursed significantly more for dispensing drugs under Medicare Part B than they would be for dispensing the same drugs under Medicare Part D and...more

New Hospice Cost Report Released: Effective for Cost-Reporting Periods Beginning Next Week

On August 29, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the final version of the new Medicare cost report, Form CMS 1984-14, applicable to freestanding hospice providers. Freestanding hospice...more

CMS Releases MSSP and Pioneer ACO Data on Shared Savings and Losses – Where Do We Go From Here?

On September 16, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced key shared savings and losses results of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that began participating in the Medicare Shared Savings...more

Court Dismisses AHA’s Challenge to CMS Billing Policy

On September 17, 2014, the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia dismissed a lawsuit brought by the American Hospital Association (AHA), three individual hospitals, and two health care systems that challenged CMS’s...more

CMS Continues to Struggle with How to Provide High Quality Care to Dual Eligibles

Last week CMS announced that it would not execute its option to terminate its 2015 contracts with Medicare Advantage Plans and Part D plans that had scored three stars or less for three consecutive years. ...more

Attention Hospitals! Act Now To Get 68 Cents For Your Medicare Dollar!

It’s no secret that CMS is drowning in appeals from denials of Medicare claims for inpatient care. The number of pending appeals was estimated at half a million back in February, and it’s only grown since then. One reason...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

A (Second) Lawsuit Seeks to Compel Statutory Timeframe for Administrative Law Judge Review of Medicare Claims Appeals

On August 26th, the Center for Medicare Advocacy filed a nationwide class action lawsuit against the Secretary of Health and Human Services. The complaint alleges that, as implemented, the Medicare administrative review...more

CMS Offers Global Settlement of Inpatient Status Claims with Pending Appeals

On August 29, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced a global settlement offer to acute care and critical access hospitals with currently pending appeals of inpatient status claims denials....more

A Primer on Medicare Requirements for Physician Supervision of "Incident to" Services

Services provided by a physician’s auxiliary staff that are “incident to” the physician’s services are paid under the physician fee schedule at a higher rate, as though the physician had personally furnished the services....more

Medicare Bundled Payments Initiative and Oncology Care

According to Modern Healthcare’s “Interest Surges in Medicare Bundled Payment Initiative” article on July 31, 2014, enthusiasm for bundled pricing has been associated with the Medicare Bundled Payments for Care Improvement...more

CMS Waves Partial White Flag in Appeals of Payment Status Denials

For the last several years, hospitals, on the one hand, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and its contractors (collectively, CMS), on the other, have been engaged in a spirited dispute over claims denials for...more

CMS Says: Let's Make a Deal

In the hours before everyone began enjoying Labor Day Weekend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an important inpatient hospital review update....more

CMS Issues Final Rule for Inpatient Stays in Acute Care and Long Term Care Hospitals

On August 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its annual final rule for policy and payment changes applicable to inpatient stays in acute care and long term care hospitals (Final Rule). This...more

CMS Makes Global Offer to Settle All Acute Care Inpatient Claims on Appeal

On August 29, 2014, CMS issued settlement terms to acute care hospitals with pending appeals of denials for inpatient claims. CMS is offering to settle all qualifying claims at 68 percent of the “net paid amount” of such...more

GAO Issues Report on Post-Payment Claims Reviews by CMS Contractors

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report entitled “Medicare Program Integrity: Increased Oversight and Guidance Could Improve Effectiveness and Efficiency of Post-Payment Claims Reviews,” which...more

AHRQ Releases Guidance for Reductions in Medicaid Hospital Readmissions

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has issued a comprehensive guide with an interactive toolkit for providers to target reductions in Medicaid hospital readmissions. While numerous CMS initiatives have...more

Health Care: Charting the Path Forward to DSRIP for Long-Term Care Providers (8/14)

Designed by New York State to seek a federal waiver for the expenditure of Medicaid funds, the Delivery System Reform Incentive Program (DSRIP) will allocate 6.42 billion dollars to health care providers in New York State to...more

FDA to Strengthen Oversight of Certain In Vitro Diagnostic Devices

In the wake of a new Medicare reimbursement framework, FDA plans stricter regulation of some in vitro diagnostic devices. On July 31, 2014, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA; Agency) announced its intent to...more

Who Audits the Auditors?

Since the advent of Medicare in 1965, hospitals have bemoaned the cost and burden of Medicare audits. The complaints increased when CMS hired private contractors for the audits. They became deafening in 2009 with the advent...more

GAO Concludes CMS Should Increase Oversight of Post-Payment Claims Review Process

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released the findings of its study of the steps taken by CMS to prevent Medicare contractors from conducting certain duplicative post-payment claims reviews. Based on its audit,...more

CMS Paying Some Providers’ Medicare EHR Incentive Payment Using Incorrect Transition Factor

We have learned that CMS has paid Medicare EHR Incentive Program Payments to some eligible hospitals using an incorrect transition factor, understating total payment. CMS personnel have informed us that they are aware of this...more

CMS Care Coordination Payments – A Boon to Doctors and Patients but Patient Participation Will be Essential

As the Affordable Care Act continues to mature, we are seeing new efforts by the Obama administration to incentivize care coordination across a spectrum of services provided to Medicare Fee-for-Service (FFS) patients. A New...more

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