The Reed Smith Health Industry Washington Watch blog has been updated to report on recent health policy developments, including the following:

  • Legislative Developments. The Congressional Budget Office has raised the specter that pending Medicare physician fee schedule reform legislation could result in the Affordable Care Act’s Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB) mechanism being triggered. The President has signed into law an omnibus spending bill that specifies funding for HHS agencies and initiatives, and a number of Congressional hearings have focused on health policy issues.
  • Regulatory Developments. CMS has published a final rule to expand Medicaid home- and community-based service options, and the agency has loosened restrictions on disclosure of physician-specific Medicare payment data.  In other developments, HHS has published FY 2015 FMAP amounts. The FDA is seeking comments on drug company social media guidance. Reed Smith has issued a client alert on recent CMS and OIG rules extending protections for electronic health record (EHR) donations.
  • Other HHS Developments. A Medicare appeals backlog has prompted a hold on new provider appeals. The FDA has issued guidance for industry on “Dear Doctor” letters.
  • Fraud & Abuse Developments. OIG reports have addressed inconsistencies in local Medicare coverage policies, Medicare vulnerabilities associated with EHR use, enforcement of the HIPAA Security Rule, and organ procurement organization billing. The GAO has issued a report on the effect of prior health insurance coverage on Medicare beneficiaries.
  • Odds & Ends. An advisory panel has recommended access standards for medical diagnostic equipment.
  • Health Industry Events. Upcoming CMS events will focus on Medicare inpatient hospital admission and medical review criteria, new medical technologies under the inpatient prospective payment system, hospital outpatient services, and the National Partnership to Improve Dementia Care in Nursing Homes, and the HHS Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals is hosting a Medicare Appellant Forum.