News & Analysis as of

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

GAO Calls for Expanded HHS Efforts to Reduce Antipsychotic Drug Use in Community Settings

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report examining the extent to which antipsychotic drugs are prescribed for older adults with dementia in nursing homes and other settings. ...more

HHS Secretary Burwell Testifies in House Appropriations Hearing Regarding Medicare Appeals Backlog

On February 25, 2015, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell testified in a budget hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations, Subcommittee on Labor, Health and Human Services, Education, and Related Agencies, about the Obama...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

MedPAC Approves Draft Recommendations To Reform RAC Program

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) voted unanimously on March 5, 2015, to approve draft recommendations to reform the Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program as part of a way to update Medicare policies related...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

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

News from the Health Law Gurus™:

Reporting Deadline for HIPAA Breaches – March 1, 2015 – Did you have a HIPAA breach this year involving less than 500 individuals? If so, the deadline to report such a breach to the U.S. Department of Health and Human...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

HHS Launches New Payment and Delivery Model to Improve Oncology Care

Cancer care is notoriously complex, intensive and costly. With more than 1.6 million people diagnosed with cancer each year, there is a strong impetus towards reforming service delivery. Accordingly, the U.S. Department of...more

Roadmap to Prison: Lessons Learned from the Criminal Prosecution of Alpha Ambulance’s Leaders

No one running an ambulance company ever planned to go to prison for doing his or her job. But that is a real possibility if the government knocks on the door, and the owner or manager is dishonest in his or her response to...more

Washington Healthcare Update

This Week: Upcoming Hearing: HHS Sec. Burwell Appearing Before E&C Committee on FY2016 Budget... CMS Issues 2016 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Health and Drug Plans... CMS Releases Improved Rating System for Nursing...more

Health Law Pulse - February 2015

On January 23, 2015, the United States Department of Labor (DOL) filed a notice of appeal with the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia (District Court) challenging two rulings in the case of Home Care...more

Supplemental Excepted Benefits? “It depends.”

Last week, HHS, along with the Department of Labor and the Treasury, provided long overdue guidance regarding the third category of supplemental “excepted benefits” as defined by Section 2791 of the Public Health Services...more

GAO Highlights Medicare Program Risks and Recommends Program Integrity Actions

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released its latest update to its “High-Risk Series” reports, which again lists Medicare as a high-risk program, in part because of the program’s substantial size and scope, and...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

CMS Extends Moratoria on Enrollment of New Providers and Suppliers in Six Locales

Last week, CMS announced that it has extended temporary moratoria on the enrollment of new ambulance suppliers and home health agencies within designated metropolitan areas in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Texas, Pennsylvania,...more

Compliance Corner: Long-Term Care and the OIG Work Plan: As HHS Sharpens its Focus, Providers Should Set Their Sights on...

In the fall of 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General released its 2015 Work Plan, which highlighted HHS’s compliance focus areas in the upcoming year. As in past years, areas of...more

Medicare Moves Strongly to Value Based Payment...A Tipping Point?

Over the last several years, doctors and other health-care professionals have worked to transform accountable care organizations (ACOs) from an academic idea into a meaningful presence in the health-care marketplace. Last...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

Task Force of Healthcare Providers and Insurers are Shifting to Incentive Based Contracts

Some of the largest healthcare providers and insurers in the country have joined to form the Healthcare Transformation Task Force in an effort to change healthcare industry payment models.  ...more

Locke Lord QuickStudy: Recent Health Care Updates

On January 29, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its plan to propose changes to the Electronic Health Record Incentive Program (EHR Incentive Program). According to CMS, the rule will address...more

Health Reform + Related Health Policy News - January 2015, Issue 1

In This Issue: - Health Proposals - Department of Health & Human Services - Medicare - For More Information - Excerpt from Health Proposals: Department of Health & Human Services...more

Health Care Update - February 2015

In This Issue: - President Obama Releases FY2016 Budget Proposal - Implementation of the Affordable Care Act - Other Federal Regulatory Initiatives - Congressional Initiatives - Other Health...more

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