News & Analysis as of

HHS Asserts the Everybody-Does-It Defense

If that sounds familiar, your child may have a future as a lawyer for Health & Human Services. Because that’s one of the primary arguments asserted by HHS last Friday in its motion to dismiss the lawsuit by the American...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

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

Hospitals File Lawsuit Over Medicare ALJ Hearings Delays

Over 460,000 appeals requesting hearings before an administrative law judge (ALJ) were pending in the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) at the end of 2013, with 15,000 new appeals being submitted each week. At...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

Corridors Fall 2014 - News for NC Hospitals

In this issue: - North Carolina’s Medicaid RAC Program – Don’t Let Your Guard Down - A Primer on Medicare Requirements for Physician Supervision of “Incident to” Services - Hospital Options for Unused...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

Telehealth and Health IT Policy: Considerations for Stakeholders

In recent months, as the conversation about reforming the health care system has shifted to achieving greater delivery system efficiencies, cost containment, and patient satisfaction, the role of health care...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

OIG Advisory Opinion Approves Medigap Insurer’s Plan to Use Preferred Hospital Network

On August 25, 2014, the OIG released an advisory opinion declining to impose civil monetary penalties on a Medicare Supplemental Health Insurance – or Medigap – insurer that planned to discount inpatient hospital deductibles...more

OIG Okays Medigap Insurer’s Arrangement for Discount on Inpatient Deductibles

Last Monday the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of Health & Human Services posted an advisory opinion (No. 14-07) allowing a Medigap insurance company to strike a deal with hospitals for discounts—even waivers—of the...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

How the US Government is cracking down on Medicare fraud

Medicare fraud is a major problem in the United States, with estimates of fraud and systematic overcharging totaling $60 billion each year. That’s nearly five times the cost of healthcare fraud in Canada, and makes up a...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

Government Sues Hospital for Birthing Mama’s Babies

The Clinica de la Mama case could well serve as an instruction manual of what not to do to stay out of the government’s crosshairs. In this case, several hospitals entered into contracts for Clinica de la Mama to provide...more

Unnecessary Surgeries Put Hospital in Three-Front War

When the government accuses a hospital of committing Medicare fraud by billing for unnecessary surgeries, the hospital has a real problem on its hands. It’s at war with the government, and that’s expensive, as well as...more

CMS Publishes FY 2015 Final IPPS Rule

On August 4, 2014, CMS posted its final changes and updates to the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) that apply for fiscal year (FY) 2015, effective October 1, 2014. Below are some of the highlights of the...more

Early Report on Value-Based Purchasing: Less to It Than Meets the Eye?

Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program produced no improvement in either quality of care or patient satisfaction during its first nine months of operation. That’s the finding of a study led by Andrew Ryan, of the...more

Highlights from the Senate Special Committee on Aging’s Hearing on Medicare Observation Status

A recent Senate Special Committee on Aging hearing focused on the impact of Medicare observation status, a hospital outpatient designation for which Medicare covers fewer services and generally reimburses for services at a...more

Brace Yourself: The RACs Are Back

Under the controversial program private contractors audit hospitals and other Medicare providers for fraudulent and erroneous Medicare billing. Why is it controversial? Because the auditors are paid a percentage of...more

Impact on Medicare Payments of Shift in Site of Care for Chemotherapy Administration

Two independent trends, acting in combination, are currently resulting in increased Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) chemotherapy payments. The first trend is a shift in the site of care for cancer patients from physicians’...more

Does Medicare NOTICE Bill Miss the Point?

The bill would require hospitals to give meaningful notice to patients who have been assigned “observation” status for over 24 hours. Observation status is different from inpatient status under the rules of Medicare and other...more

The Probe and Educate Process For The Two-Midnight Rule

On August 2, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the final rule for the 2014 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (“IPPS”), effective October 1, 2013.[1] Introduced in the IPPS...more

Finally, Some Good News for Halifax–And All Other–Hospitals

It’s been a long time since Orlando’s Halifax Hospital got any good news from the federal court hearing the whistleblower case brought by employee Elin Baklid-Kunz. Earlier this year the hospital had to agree to an $85...more

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