News & Analysis as of

MedPAC Issues March 2015 Report to Congress on Medicare Payment Policies

On March 13, 2015, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) issued its annual report to the Congress on Medicare payment policies (Report). The Report includes recommendations for inflation updates and payment...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

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

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

Attention Seniors! Check Into a Hospital and Get $100!

OIG Advisory Opinion 15-03 approves a Medigap insurer’s program that, among other things, calls for (a) network hospitals to waive the deductible for Medicare enrollees, (b) the insurer to pay the hospital network a fee each...more

CMS Made Payments to Providers with Delinquent Medicare Debts

The OIG has issued a report on its findings that Medicare in some cases continued to make payments to physicians who have delinquent Medicare debts that have been referred to Treasury for collection. ...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

OIG Report Outlines Five Recommendations for Hospice Care Reform

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) to reform the hospice payment system, collect data relevant to revising hospice payments and develop quality...more

Gear Up for Increased CMS Scrutiny of Hospice Services for Assisted Living Facility Residents - EndNotes February 2015

A recent study issued by the evaluation and policy division of the U.S. DHHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) indicates that hospices can expect increased scrutiny regarding the services they provide to assisted living...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

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

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

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

OIG Report Recommends Reforms to Reduce Hospice Incentives to Provide Care in Assisted Living Facilities

On January 14, 2015, OIG published a report that analyzes Medicare payments for hospice care in assisted living facilities (ALFs). OIG concluded that CMS should implement measures to reform Medicare payments to hospices,...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

OIG Questions Incentives for Hospice Care in Assisted Living Facilities

Today the OIG issued a report examining the growing use of Medicare hospice care in the assisted living facility (ALF) setting. According to the OIG, Medicare payments for hospice care in ALFs grew by more than 119% from 2007...more

OIG Recommends Greater Scrutiny for Hospice Services in ALFs

The OIG’s recently released study examining Medicare hospice claims from 2007 to 2012 calls for targeted reviews of hospices that receive a high proportion of their payments for care in assisted living facilities....more

OIG Examines Appropriateness of Medicare Ophthalmology Claims

The OIG recently assessed the appropriateness of claims submitted by providers for screening for, diagnosing, evaluating, or treating cataracts, wet age related macular degeneration (wet AMD), and glaucoma in 2012....more

What You Need To Know About the AKS Proposed Local Transportation Safe Harbor

On October 3, 2014, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) published a proposed rule to expand the safe harbors and make other modifications applicable to the federal...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

With a New Year Rolls in a New OIG Work Plan

Recently, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released its Work Plan for Fiscal Year 2015 (“Work Plan”). The OIG protects the integrity of HHS programs by identifying...more

HHS to Audit Hospital Reporting of GPO Payments: GAO Report Suggests Further Scrutiny of GPO Shareback with Hospitals

On November 24, 2014, the Government Accountability Office (“GAO”) published a report examining the contracting practices and funding structures of health care group purchasing organizations (“GPOs”) and their potential...more

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