Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

In a long-awaited and controversial Final Rule posted on April 22, 2024,[1] the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted new federal minimum staffing requirements that will require long-term care facilities to (1) ensure the presence of a registered nurse (RN) on-site 24 hours per day, seven days per week; and (2) provide a minimum of 3.48 total nurse staffing hours per resident day (HPRD), which includes at least 0.55 HPRD for RNs and 2.45 HPRD for nurse aides (NAs). Despite industry-wide opposition to federal minimum staffing standards and the lack of any new funding, CMS believes that these new standards will increase staffing in more than 79 percent of nursing facilities nationwide. Notably, the Final Rule establishes staffing requirements that exceed the current minimum staffing standards in all 50 states.Continue Reading CMS Finalizes Federal Minimum Staffing Standards for Nursing Homes

On April 4, 2024, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued the contract year 2025 (CY2025) Medicare Advantage and Part D final rule (the “Final Rule”). In addition to finalizing its CY2025 proposed rule, CMS also addressed several key provisions that remained from the CY2024 proposed rule. According to CMS’ Fact Sheet, the Final Rule builds on existing Biden-Harris Administration policies to strengthen protections and guardrails, promote healthy competition, and ensure Medicare Advantage and Part D plans best meet the needs of enrollees. The Final Rule also promotes access to behavioral health care providers, promote equity in coverage, and improve supplemental benefits.Continue Reading CMS Issues CY2025 Medicare Advantage and Part D Final Rule

On March 28, 2024, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), announced that it is extending the temporary special enrollment period (the Unwinding SEP) for prior beneficiaries of Medicaid and Medicaid-expansion Children’s Health Insurance Programs (CHIP) to enroll in the Health Insurance Marketplace (Marketplace). The Unwinding SEP was previously scheduled to terminate on July 31, 2024, but now the end date is extended to November 30, 2024. This 4-month extension will help millions maintain insurance coverage as they navigate their new post-pandemic eligibility statuses.Continue Reading Continuity in Coverage: CMS Extends the Unwinding SEP & Issues Final Rule for Medicaid and CHIP Enrollment

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General (the “OIG”) released a report highlighting concerns about the extent to which Medicare Advantage Organizations (“MAOs”) are using health risk assessments (“HRAs”) to improve care and health outcomes under the Medicare Advantage Program (“MA”), as intended, and about the sufficiency of oversight by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”).
Continue Reading HHS OIG Issues Report Critical of Medicare Advantage Risk Adjustment Practices

In recent years, there has been a trend towards the provision of cardiovascular procedures in the outpatient setting and particularly in ambulatory surgery centers (“ASCs”).  This trend is in part motivated by the fact that outpatient cardiovascular services, in comparison to cardiovascular services performed on an inpatient basis, tend to be less expensive and offer greater comfort and convenience for patients.[i]  As a result of the emphasis on outpatient cardiovascular services, there is growing interest in the development and expansion of cardiovascular programs in ASCs.
Continue Reading The Expansion of Cardiovascular Procedures in the ASC Setting

[1] On January 25, 2018, Associate Attorney General Rachel Brand issued a memorandum on behalf of the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) (the “Brand Memo”) which effectively limits the use and enforcement power of guidance documents for the purposes of affirmative civil enforcement cases, a development that could have a significant impact on how certain healthcare cases are handled at the federal level by federal departments, agencies, and administrations, including those that are fixtures of the healthcare marketplace – the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and its constituent agencies, including the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG).
Continue Reading New DOJ Guidance Policy Limits Use of Guidance Documents in Federal Civil Actions

In November of last year, we wrote about a preliminary injunction being sought by hospital advocacy groups attempting to stop implementation of the Trump administration’s cuts to the 340B Drug Pricing Program (“340B Program”). Last week, the Motion for a Preliminary Injunction was denied and the case was dismissed in a final, appealable order. As a result, the final rule effecting such cuts – “Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs” (“Final Rule”), promulgated by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on November 13, 2017 – went into effect on January 1, 2018.
Continue Reading 340B Drug Pricing Program Litigation Update

On November 13, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final rule, “Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs” (“Final Rule”). The Final Rule, in addition to the usual collection of annual Medicare payment updates and adjustments for the coming year, includes provisions that substantially lower reimbursements for hospitals that purchase prescription medications under the 340B Drug Pricing Program (the “340B Program”).
Continue Reading The 340B Drug Pricing Program: New CMS Final Rule Draws a Motion for Preliminary Injunction from Hospital Groups