Federal Health Policy Update for February 16

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for February 6-16.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. No Surprises Act A federal judge in Texas has vacated parts of a regulation governing the arbitration process that is a major aspect of implementation of the No Surprises Act.  In his ruling, the judge found that the arbitration process unfairly favored payers over providers, most notably by placing undue emphasis on the qualified payment amount (QPA) that is a major part of the arbitration process.  The decision explains that “The Court first [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for January 20

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of January 13-20.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services CMS has published updates to the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes on the Required Face-to-Face Encounter and Written Order Prior to Delivery List.  The update adds ten codes to the list of items that require a face-to-face encounter between provider and patient and a written order prior to delivery as a condition of payment.  Go here for a summary of the update [...]

CMS to Look at Accrediting Agencies

Health care accrediting organizations will be the subject of scrutiny and possible action by the federal government in the coming months. At a recent conference, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Seem Verma said that Receiving CMS’s authorization to inspect and deem healthcare providers compliant with Medicare’s quality standards is nothing short of assuming a sacred public trust…But an increasing amount of evidence indicates that accrediting organizations are not living up to that high bar. According to Verma, CMS’s interest is motivated by a number of recent incidents of “serious deficiencies” among hospitals that had been found compliant with [...]

2020-02-27T06:00:36+00:00February 27, 2020|Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services|

CMS Outlines New Medicaid Program Integrity Activities

The federal government will introduce a number of initiatives to combat Medicaid waste, fraud, and abuse in the coming months. In an article on the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ blog, CMS administrator Seema Verma outlined her agency’s major Medicaid program integrity efforts of the past year, including: Oversight of state Medicaid claiming and program integrity Disallowing unallowable claims of federal funding Increased audits and oversight Data sharing and partnerships Education, technical assistance, and collaboration Reducing improper payments Initiatives to be introduced in the coming months include (as described in the blog post): A proposed comprehensive update to Medicaid’s [...]

Mandatory Payment Models Coming to Medicare?

Even as CMS rolls out new, voluntary Medicare alternative payment models, it is contemplating making participation in future models mandatory rather than voluntary, as is currently the case. Or so Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator Seema Verma told a gathering in Baltimore last week. At the heart of the idea, Verma told her audience, is that while CMS is pleased with participation in voluntary accountable care organization models, organizations are choosing to participate in ACO models they think would benefit them most while posing little or no downside financial risk.  The agency may need to move away from [...]

CMS Unveils Rural Health Strategy

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had introduced what it calls its “first rural health strategy.” According to the agency, the purpose of the strategy is …to provide a proactive approach on healthcare issues to ensure that the nearly one in five individuals who live in rural America have access to high quality, affordable healthcare. “For the first time, CMS is organizing and focusing our efforts to apply a rural lens to the vision and work of the agency,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “The Rural Health Strategy supports CMS’ goal of putting patients first. Through its implementation and [...]

2018-05-10T06:00:28+00:00May 10, 2018|Uncategorized|

CMS Rejects Bid to Impose Lifetime Limit on Medicaid Services

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has denied a request from the state of Kansas to impose a lifetime limit on the Medicaid benefits individuals may receive. In a move that the agency appeared to signal last week and that appears to have national implications, CMS administrator Seema Verma explained that  We have determined that we will not approve Kansas’ recent request to place a lifetime limit on Medicaid benefits for some beneficiaries…We seek to create a pathway out of poverty, but we also understand that people’s circumstances change, and we must ensure that our programs are sustainable and [...]

2018-05-09T06:00:37+00:00May 9, 2018|Medicaid|

CMS Mulls Direct Provider Contracting for Medicare

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is seeking public input on a proposal to permit Medicare beneficiaries to enter into direct contracts with primary care and multi-specialty providers. According to CMS, A DPC [direct provider contracting] model would aim to enhance the beneficiary-physician relationship by providing a platform for physician group practices to provide flexible, accessible, and high quality care to beneficiaries that have actively chosen this type of care model. The request for information, issued earlier this week, seeks public input on experience with direct provider contracting and asks interested parties to describe how Medicare might structure such [...]

2018-04-27T09:17:46+00:00April 27, 2018|Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, Medicare|

CMS Shares Vision for Medicaid

Medicaid is about to undergo major changes, CMS administrator Seema Verma outlined in a news release yesterday and in a speech to state Medicaid directors. According to the news release, those changes include: re-establishing a state-federal partnership that Verma believes has become too much federal and not enough state giving states greater freedom to innovate offering new guidelines for how states can align their individual programs with federal Medicaid objectives new guidance on section 1115 waivers longer section 1115 waivers with simpler review processes CMS willingness to consider proposals to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries Medicaid and CHIP “scorecards” [...]

CMS Announces Drive to Reduce Paperwork

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is launching a new “Meaningful Measures” initiative that will seek to reduce the regulatory burden on health care providers. According to a CMS news release, Meaningful Measures …will involve only assessing those core issues that are most vital to providing high-quality care and improving patient outcomes.  The agency aims to focus on outcome-based measures going forward, as opposed to trying to micromanage processes.. In a speech at the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, CMS administrator Seema Verma explained that this project will include moving the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation [...]

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