Tag Archives: CMS

The FDA looks inward as it tackles interoperability

Interoperability and patient access to data has been pushed to the forefront as a primary concern for the health industry. This is largely due to proposed rules published this spring by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) that seek to advance interoperability and support the access, exchange, and use of electronic health information. In August 2019, the ONC held its third annual National Coordinator for Health IT Interoperability Forum in Washington DC. The event brings together the Health IT technology community, developers, policymakers, and staff to promote the goal of interoperability. One of this year’s keynote speakers was the Food and Drug Administration (FDA)’s Principal Deputy Commissioner, Amy Abernethy, M.D. Ph.D.

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CMS Final Rule Offers the Promise of Additional Telehealth Services for MA Plan Enrollees

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has published a final rule that will expand access to telehealth services for Medicare Advantage (“MA”) plan enrollees.[1] CMS Administrator Seema Verma characterized the agency’s latest policymaking efforts as “a historic step in bringing innovative technology to Medicare beneficiaries” and a way for the agency to provide “greater flexibility to Medicare Advantage plans, [so] beneficiaries can receive more benefits, at lower costs and better quality.”[2]

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CMS Seeks to Improve Patient Care and Decrease Costs for Emergency Transportation by Implementing New Medicare Payment Model

On February 14, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) announced the Emergency Triage, Treatment and Transport reimbursement model (the “ET3 Model”), a demonstration project that aims to provide improved flexibility to ambulance crews addressing 911-initiated emergency calls for Medicare beneficiaries.

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CMS Attempts to Curb Fraud in the HHA Industry by Limiting HHA Reimbursement

Despite recent welcome news to the home health agency (“HHA”) industry in Florida, Illinois, Michigan, and Texas following an end to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS’s) long-standing HHA provider enrollment moratoria, CMS subsequently announced that it would place some newly enrolled HHAs in a provisional period of enhanced oversight. The purpose of the enhanced oversight period and the corresponding additional restrictions placed on certain HHAs is to help CMS address and closely monitor fraud, waste, and abuse concerns in the HHA industry, thus signaling CMS’s ongoing industry-wide scrutiny.

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Proposes Changes to the Methodology for Calculating Medicare Advantage/Part D Civil Money Penalties

On March 15, 2019, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released proposed changes to its methodology for calculating Civil Money Penalties (CMPs) for Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Prescription Drug Plan (MA and Part D) sponsors.  The proposed changes would impact both the calculation methodology for 2019 as well as the CMP amounts for 2019 and beyond in an effort to increase plan accountability.  CMS is accepting comments on these proposed changes until April 15, 2019 at 11:59 PM ET.

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CMS and ONC Tag Team to Promote Sharing of Patient Data

On February 11th, blockchain advocates, digital health enthusiasts, and patients received positive news from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (“ONC”) regarding patient data sharing.  These rules, taken together, seek to make data more liquid, which can promote patient access, continuity of care, research, collaboration across the industry and several other activities that previously faced challenges within a health care system built on data silos.

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Top Five Takeaways from MedPAC’s Meeting on Medicare Issues and Policy Developments – November 2018

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (“MedPAC”) held its monthly public meetings in Washington, D.C., on November 1-2, 2018. The purpose of this and other MedPAC public meetings is for the commissioners to analyze existing challenges and issues within the Medicare program and to provide future policy recommendations to Congress. MedPAC issues these recommendations in two annual reports, one in March and another in June. These meetings offer a comprehensive perspective on the current state of Medicare as well as future outlooks for the program.

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Hospitals Need to Be Aware of CMS Changes to PAMA

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule on November 1, 2018 that updates physician fee schedule (PFS) payments for calendar year (CY) 2019 and finalizes several policies. The final rule includes amendments to the regulations promulgated under Section 216 of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (“PAMA”) intended to increase the number of clinical laboratories that qualify as an “applicable laboratory” for reporting purposes; specifically (1) removal of payments received from Medicare Advantage (MA) Plans for determining applicable laboratory status and (2) the use of the Form CMS-1450 14x Type of Bill (TOB) to define an applicable laboratory.

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CMS Expands ASC Services

On November 2, 2018 CMS announced the finalization of the 2019 OPPS and ASC payment rules which were initially proposed in July of 2018.[1] [2] While the final document will not be officially published until November 21st, an Inspection Copy is available for the public to review on the Federal Register website. These new payment rules in many ways expand the range of services that CMS will reimburse when performed at Ambulatory Surgical Centers (ASCs), most notably, by including certain cardiac catheterization procedures on the approved list, and by lowering the threshold that determines allowable device intensive procedures.

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CMS Seeks to Revamp Medicare Part B Drug Reimbursement through Proposed International Pricing Index (IPI) Model

On October 25, 2018, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released an advance notice of proposed rulemaking (ANPRM) to solicit feedback on its newly proposed International Pricing Index (IPI) model for Medicare Part B drug reimbursement.  The IPI model will be tested by the CMS Innovation Center as a potential means to dismantle and replace the current buy-and-bill model and advance the Trump Administration’s agenda for drug pricing reform, as described in its May 2018 Blueprint to Lower Drug Prices and Reduce Out-of-Pocket Costs.  The framework of the IPI model is characterized by three components designed to achieve the following objectives:

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