On December 18-19, 2014, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) is meeting to discuss payment adequacy and payment update recommendations for Medicare payment systems.
On December 17, 2014, CMS is hosting a Special Open Door Forum (SODF) call to allow stakeholders to provide feedback on the planned addition of star ratings to the Medicare.gov Home Health Compare web site.
The FDA has scheduled a public workshop on the “Framework for Regulatory Oversight of Laboratory Developed Tests'' on January 8 – 9, 2015. The purpose of the workshop is to discuss FDA's proposal for a risk-based framework for addressing the regulatory oversight of “laboratory developed tests,” a subset of vitro diagnostic devices intended for clinical use and designed, manufactured and used within a single laboratory. Among other things, the FDA will address LDT labeling considerations; clinical validity and intended use; enforcement discretion; adverse event reporting; quality system regulation; and procedural issues. The workshop registration deadline is December 12, 2014. FDA will accept comments related to the public workshop until February 2, 2015.
On November 21, 2014, CMS is publishing a notice announcing that it will be holding a town hall meeting on February 3, 2015 to discuss fiscal year (FY) 2016 applications for add-on payments for new medical services and technologies under the Medicare hospital inpatient prospective payment system. Interested parties will have an opportunity to present comments and data regarding whether the FY 2016 new medical services and technologies applications meet the substantial clinical improvement criterion.
On December 2, 2014, CMS is hosting a provider call to discuss changes to the Medicare physician quality reporting programs in the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. Among other things, the call will cover changes impacting the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), Value-based Payment Modifier, Physician Compare, Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program, Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative (CPC), and Medicare Shared Savings Program.
CMS is hosting a call on December 16, 2014 to discuss a provision of the CY 2015 Home Health Prospective Payment System final rule that established a new patient certification requirement for home health agencies beginning January 1, 2015. Registration information is available here.
On December 9, 2014, CMS is hosting a call to provide an update on the CMS National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes. The partnership focuses on continuing to reduce the use of unnecessary antipsychotic medications and other potentially-harmful medications in nursing homes and eventually other care settings.
On November 6, 2014, the Senate Appropriations Committee is holding a hearing on the U.S. government response to the Ebola outbreak. This follows an October 24 House Oversight Committee hearing on coordination of a multi-agency response to the Ebola crisis, along with an October 16 House Energy and Commerce Committee hearing on the U.S. public health response to the Ebola outbreak.
CMS is hosting a conference call for inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) providers regarding the IRF Quality Reporting Program on October 29, 2014. Specifically, CMS will discuss data collection and submission information for outcome measures related to hospital-onset methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) bacteremia and Clostridium difficile infection (CDI), which IRF providers are required to report to CMS beginning January 1, 2015.
HHS Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA) Hosting Second Medicare Appellant Forum (Oct. 29)
On October 29, 2014, the OMHA is hosting its second OMHA Medicare Appellant Forum. The meeting will update OMHA appellants on the status of OMHA operations and discuss OMHA and CMS initiatives designed to mitigate the Medicare appeals backlog at the OMHA-level of the administrative appeals process. The deadline for in-person registration is October 28, and registration for remote/webinar attendance ends October 24.
On October 23, 2014, CMS is hosting a call on 2013 Quality and Resource Use Reports (QRURs) for physician group practices and physician solo practitioners. The 2013 QRURs contain quality and cost performance data that will be used in determining the applicable Value-Based Payment Modifier for 2015.
The Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment will be holding its first semi-annual meeting for 2015 on March 9-10, 2015. The purpose of the Panel is to advise CMS on (1) the clinical integrity of the Ambulatory Payment Classification groups and their associated weights, and (2) hospital outpatient therapeutic services supervision issues. Registration will be open January 19 through February 20, 2015. CMS will accept comments and presentations for the agenda until February 6, 2015.
MedPAC is meeting on October 9 and 10, 2014 to discuss a variety of Medicare policy issues, including: international comparison of rates paid to hospitals; sharing risk in Medicare Part D; potentially inappropriate opioid use in Medicare Part D; the next generation of Medicare beneficiaries; private-sector initiatives to manage post-acute care; and validating relative value units in Medicare’s fee schedule for physicians and other health professionals.
HHS Workshop: Integrating Plans for Long-Term Services and Supports & Health Care Delivery through Health IT (Oct. 16)
On October 16, 2014, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) and the HHS Office of the National Coordinator on Health Information Technology (ONC) are holding a public workshop entitled “Putting the Person at the Center: Integrating Plans for Long-Term Services and Supports and Health Care Delivery through Health Information Technology.” The workshop will focus on the use of health information technology to enable a person-centered approach for planning and delivering long-term services and supports and health care, including how to improve communication and collaboration among community-based organizations and health care partners. The agenda includes care planning, technology and integration; key opportunities and challenges; and delivery and payment reform policy levers. The registration deadline for the event is October 10, 2014.
CMS is hosting a call on November 5, 2014 to discuss implementation issues associated with the transition to ICD-10 on October 1, 2015. The call will cover the following topics: final rule and national implementation; Medicare Fee-For-Service testing; the Medicare Severity Diagnosis Related Grouper (MS-DRG) Conversion Project; partial code freeze and annual code updates; plans for national coverage determinations and local coverage determinations; home health conversions; and claims that span the implementation date.
On October 8, 2014, CMS is hosting a call to discuss its plans to begin publicly reporting Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) Star Ratings on the Hospital Compare website. CMS intends to begin the HCAHPS Star Ratings reporting in April 2015.
Yesterday the FDA issued final guidance entitled “Content of Premarket Submissions for Management of Cybersecurity in Medical Devices,” which includes recommendations for medical device manufacturers on cybersecurity management and information that should be included in a pre-market submission. The recommendations are intended to supplement previous FDA guidances, “Guidance for the Content of Premarket Submissions for Software Contained in Medical Devices,” and “Guidance to Industry: Cybersecurity for Networked Medical Devices Containing Off-the-Shelf (OTS) Software.”
In a related development, on October 21-22, 2014, the FDA is holding a public workshop on “Collaborative Approaches for Medical Device and Healthcare Cybersecurity.” Through the workshop, FDA seeks to encourage collaboration among stakeholders, identify challenges, and discuss strategies and best practices for promoting medical device cybersecurity.
On September 17, 2014, CMS is hosting a call on negative payment adjustments that could apply under several Medicare quality reporting programs in 2016. Specifically, the call will offer instructions on how eligible professionals and group practices can avoid the 2016 Physician Quality Reporting System negative payment adjustment, satisfy the clinical quality measure component of the EHR Incentive Program, and avoid the automatic CY 2016 Value-Based Modifier downward payment adjustment.
In an effort to reduce the backlog in Medicare appeals related to certain short-stay hospital claims, CMS is offering an "administrative agreement" providing partial payment to hospitals that drop their appeals. Specifically, CMS would provide a payment equal to 68% of the net payable amount to acute care hospitals or critical access hospitals (CAH) willing to resolve their pending appeals (or waive their right to request an appeal) for inpatient-status claim denials with dates of admissions prior to October 1, 2013, and where the patient was not a Part C enrollee. Such denials involve services that may have been reasonable and necessary, but the contractor contends that treatment on an inpatient basis was not. A hospital may not choose to settle some claims and continue to appeal others, and certain hospitals could be excluded from participating in the settlement based on pending False Claims Act investigations. Also note that PPS-excluded hospitals are not eligible to participate in this program. CMS is encouraging eligible hospitals with such claim denials "to make use of this administrative agreement to alleviate the burden of current appeals on both the hospital and Medicare system." Hospitals should send their request for agreement by October 31, 2014 or request an extension from CMS. CMS is hosting a national provider call on September 9, 2014 to discuss the settlement process.