With the Medicare Comprehensive Error Rate Testing program projected error rate for skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) showing a significant increase in 2022 (15.1%, up from 7.9% in 2021), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has instructed each of its Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) that review SNF Medicare claims to initiate a five-claim probe and educate medical review for each SNF in the MAC’s jurisdiction.

Continue Reading CMS Takes Steps to Lower SNF Medicare Payment Error Rates

The Inflation Reduction Act (the “IRA”) requires drug manufacturers to pay rebates to Medicare when the prices of their Part B and Part D prescription drug increase faster than the rate of inflation. We recently discussed the guidance documents issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) detailing the proposed implementation of the Medicare Part B and Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate Programs.

Continue Reading CMS Releases First Set of Part B Rebatable Drugs for Coinsurance Adjustment Under IRA

On February 15, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would require nursing homes enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid to disclose new information about their ownership and management structures. If finalized, the rule would require nursing homes to disclose any ties to private equity companies or real estate investment trusts (REITs) (defined below), as well as the names and information of individuals and entities that provide certain administrative, management or consulting services.

Continue Reading CMS Issues Proposed Rule Requiring Nursing Homes to Disclose Additional Ownership Information, Including Ties to Private Equity and REITS

On February 9, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released two highly-anticipated guidance documents (the “Guidance”) detailing the agency’s proposed implementation of the Medicare Part B (“Part B”) and Medicare Part D (“Part D”) Prescription Drug Inflation Rebate Programs (each, a “Rebate Program” and, collectively, the “Rebate Programs”). The Rebate Programs are administered as part of the prescription drug affordability provisions of the Inflation Reduction Act (the “IRA”), which is aimed at “lower[ing] out-of-pocket drug costs for people with Medicare and improv[ing] the sustainability of the Medicare program for current and future generations.”[1] The IRA represents the most sweeping healthcare legislation passed by Congress since the Affordable Care Act.[2] Please refer to our previous blog post on the IRA.

Continue Reading CMS Releases Guidance on Implementation of Rebate Programs for Certain Medicare Part B and Part D Drugs

The Inflation Reduction Act (“IRA”) was signed into law by President Biden on August 16, 2022. The expansive legislation includes key health care provisions, including drug pricing reforms, inflationary rebates, Medicare Part D benefit redesign, as well as myriad other updates. Overall, the healthcare provisions of the IRA reflect the Administration’s goal of expanding the accessibility of healthcare to individuals by reducing costs to beneficiaries and capping charges by drug manufacturers. Nonetheless, additional clarification in the form of regulations is anticipated, as the text of the IRA defers multiple matters to the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) for implementation.

Continue Reading Healthcare Reforms Under the IRA: Expanding Access to Care

On January 5, 2022, we discussed the Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2023 proposed rule released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). On April 28, 2022, CMS issued the NBPP 2023 Final Rule. CMS published a Fact Sheet and other resources on April 28, 2022. The rule will take effect on January 1, 2023, but the optional early bird application deadline is May 18, 2022 and the final deadline for issuers to submit changes to their QHP Application is August 17, 2022.
Continue Reading 2023 Payment Rule’s Nondiscrimination Provisions and Anticipation of New Section 1557 Rules

On April 29, 2022, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), issued the final rule on Contract Year 2023 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs (the “Final Rule”).  CMS promotes the Final Rule as advancing “CMS’ strategic vision of expanding access to affordable health care and improving health equity in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D through lower out-of-pocket prescription drug costs and improved consumer protections.”  With a few exceptions, the Final Rule is a wholesale codification of the proposed rule. Except as noted below, the requirements of the Final Rule are effective January 1, 2024.
Continue Reading CMS Issues Contract Year 2023 Final Rule for Medicare Advantage Organizations and Prescription Drug Sponsors

Last month, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector (“OIG”) released a report that studied prior authorization denials and payment denials by Medicare Advantage Organizations (“MAOs”) (the “Report”). While the Report found that the “vast majority” of prior authorizations and payment requests were approved, the Report focused on the finding that MAOs “sometimes” denied prior authorization and payment requests that met Medicare coverage rules claiming that the denials delayed or denied beneficiaries’ access to medically necessary services.
Continue Reading HHS OIG Report On Prior Authorizations Under Medicare Advantage

Physicians and other providers can take a deep breath as Congress has acted to prevent the trio of Medicare payment cuts that were set to take effect at the beginning of 2022—a 3.75% cut due to scheduled changes in the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (“PFS”), a 2% cut for Medicare sequestration, and a 4% Statutory Pay-As-You-Go (“PAYGO”) Act cut would have slashed Medicare payments by nearly 10% during a tumultuous time for healthcare. The Protecting Medicare and American Farmers from Sequester Cuts Act (S. 610) was approved by the U.S. House of Representatives on December 7 and passed the U.S. Senate on December 9, 2021.  The bill has been sent to President Biden’s desk for his signature.

Continue Reading News Flash: Last Minute Congressional Action Saves Physicians from a Nearly 10% Cut to Medicare Payments

On November 12, 2021, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) revised and finalized draft guidance first issued on May 3, 2019, for co-location of hospitals with other hospitals or healthcare providers[1] (the “Finalized Guidance”). The Finalized Guidance is intended to guide CMS Surveyors in evaluation of such hospitals’ compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation related to shared space, services, and staff.

Continue Reading CMS Loosens Restrictions on Co-Located Healthcare Providers; Enforcement Interpretation Still to Be Determined