Category Archives: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”)

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CMS Issues Proposed Rule on Modernizing Part D and Medicare Advantage to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Expenses

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released the much-anticipated proposed rule to lower Part D and Medicare Advantage (“MA”) drug prices and beneficiary out-of-pocket expenses on November 26, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”). According to CMS, the primary purposes of the Proposed Rule are to revise the MA and Part D regulations to support … Continue Reading

Blog Series Part 7: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service, and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for 2020 and 2021

Part C and Part D Quality Rating System The November 1, 2018 proposed rule issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) includes enhancements and substantive changes to the Star Rating System in order to increase the stability and predictability of the Medicare Advantage program (aka “Part C”) and the Medicare Prescription Drug … Continue Reading

Blog Series Part 6: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for Years 2020 and 2021

Dual Special Needs Plans This part 6 of our 7 part series focuses on the provisions regarding dual special needs plans (“D-SNPs”) released by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) in the proposed rule issued on November 1, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”). D-SNPs enroll individuals who are entitled to both Medicare and medical … Continue Reading

Blog Series Part 5: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service, and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for 2020 and 2021

Part D Plan Sponsors’ Access to Medicare Parts A and B Claims Data Extracts As detailed in previous posts in this series, one major objective that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) addressed in a proposed rule issued November 1, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”), was to implement new Social Security Act provisions that … Continue Reading

Blog Series Part 4: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service, and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for Years 2020 and 2021

Quality Improvement Programs The proposed rule issued November 1, 2018 (the “Proposed Rule”) by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) includes two technical changes to 42 C.F.R. Part 422. The first change involves a clarification regarding the accreditation “deeming” standard for Medicare Advantage (“MA”) quality improvement programs. The second change, also related to … Continue Reading

Blog Series Part 2: CMS Proposed Rule on Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage, Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Medicaid Fee-For-Service, and Medicaid Managed Care Programs for Years 2020 and 2021

Requirements for MA Plans Offering Additional Telehealth Benefits As part of the proposed rule issued November 1, 2018 by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) regarding updates to the Medicare Advantage (“MA”) and Medicare prescription drug benefit programs, CMS addressed expanding the ability of MA plans to offer telehealth benefits to their enrollees. … Continue Reading

CMS Continues to Push for Hospital Price Transparency in Final Rule

As discussed in our previous blog, “CMS Pushes for Hospital Price Transparency in Proposed Rule”, on April 24, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced a proposed rule (CMS-1694-P) aimed at empowering patients through better access to hospital charge information. In an effort to fulfill the proposed rule’s objective, CMS suggested an … Continue Reading

CMS Pushes for Hospital Price Transparency in Proposed Rule

On April 24, 2018, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced a new proposed rule (CMS-1694-P) (“Proposed Rule”). In an attempt to “empower patients through better access to hospital price information,” CMS plans to alter the requirements previously established by Section 2718(e) of the Affordable Care Act.[1] Under Section 2718(e), “each hospital operating … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes “Wind Down” Plan for Federal Exchanges

Despite the Trump Administration’s unsuccessful attempts to fully repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (the “ACA”), the Administration has continued to target the ACA. In the Administration’s latest salvo, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced in its Fiscal Year 2019 Performance Budget (the “Budget”)[1] – as released by the federal Office … Continue Reading

Take-Aways from CMS’ Recent Listening Session Regarding E/M Services: Documentation Guidelines and Burden Reduction

On March 21, 2018, a representative from the Hospital and Ambulatory Policy Group at the CMS, held a listening session regarding proposed updates to documentation guidelines for Evaluation and Management (“E/M”) Services. The purpose of this listening session was for the agency to obtain stakeholder feedback in order to develop policy proposals for upcoming notice … Continue Reading

CMS Aims to Nix Obama-Era Payment Models

In a proposed rule published Tuesday, August 15, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced its intention to roll back a handful of payment models introduced under the Obama Administration. If implemented, the rule would cancel the Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Incentive Payment Model, each currently set to … Continue Reading

CMS Delays Implementation of New Payment Models (Again)

On March 21, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published an interim final rule (“Interim Final Rule”) delaying (i) the effective date of several new Medicare payment models developed by the CMS Innovation Center to advance care coordination, and (ii) the implementation of updates to an additional existing model.… Continue Reading

Medicaid Demonstration Waivers: A Shorter Path to Increasing State Control Over Healthcare Policy?

Seema Verma’s nomination to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) places Section 1115 Medicaid demonstration waivers into increasing spotlight. This article explores some of the current applications of waiver authority and the role it may play in the new administration.… Continue Reading

House Republicans Push Back on Medicare’s New Mandatory Bundled Payment Models

On July 25, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule that promises to deliver coordinated, high-quality care for Medicare beneficiaries. The proposed rule (effective July 1, 2017) establishes a mandatory bundled payment program for cardiac care and expands the existing hip and knee bundled payment initiative that launched earlier … Continue Reading

The MACRA Final Rule: The Art of the Transition

On Friday, October 14, 2016, CMS released the much-anticipated final rule (the “Final Rule”) implementing the Quality Payment Program (QPP), mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).  Pursuant to MACRA and the Final Rule, most clinicians will be required to participate in either a new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) … Continue Reading

Vermont to Launch a First-in-the-Nation All-Payer System for All Healthcare Providers

As recently reported by Modern Healthcare and other major healthcare news outlets, the Obama administration has granted tentative approval for Vermont to establish an all-payer reimbursement system. If granted final approval, the Vermont All Payer Accountable Care Organization Model (Model) would be effective for five years from January 1, 2017 to December 31, 2022. The … Continue Reading

CMS says to physicians: Pick your pace for MACRA implementation. Physicians say to CMS: Thank you for hearing us.

On April 27, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued proposed regulations (Proposed Regs.) as a first step in the implementation of the Quality Payment Program (QPP) provisions of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).  In response to public comments regarding the Proposed Regs., CMS announced on September … Continue Reading

CMS Releases 2017 Medicare Hospital Payment Rates, Penalties for Poor Performers

Earlier this month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule (Final Rule) modifying the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long Term Acute Care Hospital (LTCH) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2017. CMS pays acute-care hospitals for services provided to Medicare beneficiaries under the IPPS and … Continue Reading

New Study Finds Medicare Advantage Plans Pay Lower Prices Than Traditional Medicare

A new study by Stanford University researchers finds that Medicare Advantage plans pay lower prices than traditional fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare for most types of hospital admissions. According to the study—published earlier this month in Health Affairs—Medicare Advantage plans pay hospitals about 8% less than FFS Medicare for the same services. These findings may come as … Continue Reading

CMS Oncology Care Model Reforming Payment for Beneficiaries with Cancer

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation first introduced its Oncology Care Model (OCM) last year. OCM went into effect July 1, 2016, and will run through June 30, 2021. The new multi-payer model is the first CMS physician-led care model aimed at improving cancer treatment for Medicare beneficiaries. CMS hopes to see improvements in … Continue Reading

The Overpayment Rule and the Implied False Claims Theory: “What You Don’t Know Can Still Hurt You”

In 2010, the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) enacted new rules governing overpayments made by the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Under these rules, providers have 60 days from the date that the overpayment has been identified to return the overpayment or face penalties and treble damages under the False Claims Act (“FCA”).  As described below, recent … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes to Limit Site Neutral Payment Exceptions Applicable to Certain Off-Campus Hospital Departments Following Relocation, Service Expansion, or Certain Ownership Changes

On July 6, 2016, CMS released the 2017 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Proposed Rule which, among other things, implements Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  Despite extensive lobbying efforts by the hospital industry, CMS’ proposed rule would effectively preclude the relocation or the expansion of service lines of existing off-campus provider-based … Continue Reading

CMS 2017 Proposal Reduces Home Health Reimbursements by $180 Million

On June 27, CMS issued a proposal for the 2017 Medicare home health prospective payment system (HH PPS). CMS is proposing a $180 million reduction in 2017. This equates to a 1% drop in reimbursements for home health agencies caring for Medicare beneficiaries. This cut is the next in a series of reductions mandated by … Continue Reading

Maryland Co-Op Claims Risk Adjustment Formula Discriminates Against Smaller Insurers

Maryland’s Evergreen Health Cooperative has filed for an injunction against the federal government to halt payment by the  Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (co-op) of the $22 million it owes to CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield based on the Affordable Care Act’s risk adjustment formula.  Of the 23 co-ops that launched in 2014, at least half of … Continue Reading
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