News & Analysis as of

GAO Calls for Changes to Medicare Payments to PPS-Exempt Cancer Hospitals

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “Medicare: Payment Methods for Certain Cancer Hospitals Should Be Revised to Promote Efficiency,” examines the Medicare reimbursement methodology for cancer hospitals...more

Senate Recesses Without Taking up House-Approved SGR Fix Legislation

The Senate has adjourned until April 13, 2015 without taking action on the House-approved Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, which would repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, reform Medicare physician...more

CMS Publishes Update to DME Items Subject to Face-to-Face Encounter, Written Order Prior to Delivery Requirements

Today CMS published a notice updating the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes on the Durable Medical Equipment (DME) List of “Specified Covered Items” that require a face-to-face encounter and a written...more

Health Care Update - March 2015 #4

In This Issue: - Permanent Medicare Doc-Fix Entering Critical Week - Implementation of the Affordable Care Act - Other Federal Regulatory Initiatives - Congressional Initiatives - Other...more

On the Horizon … A Possible “Permanent” Cure to Medicare’s “Doc Fix”

In a historic bipartisan moment, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly 300-page bill that is intended to “repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate [“SGR”] and strengthen Medicare access by improving physician...more

News from MGMA re SGR Repeal

Historic SGR repeal passes in House - Today, the House of Representatives passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, H.R. 2, by a vote of 392–37. This legislation permanently repeals the SGR and returns...more

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

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