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

  • HHS Regulatory Developments. HHS has released its spring semiannual regulatory agenda, along with a final rule on the employment orientation limit applicable to Affordable Care Act (ACA) health coverage waiting periods. CMS has announced Medicare payment adjustments for low-volume hospitals and Medicare-dependent hospitals.
  • Other HHS Developments. Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has been sworn in as HHS Secretary. HHS has provided updates on ACA insurance costs and choices and announced management changes. HRSA is standing by its interpretation of the 340B orphan drug exclusion despite a court ruling. CMS is adding a “Provider Relations Coordinator” for MAC/RAC auditor process issues, and it plans to expand Medicare quality “star” ratings. CMS also has released Medicare Part B drug payment files and a variety of Medicare charge and other data. FDA has announced its “openFDA” data initiative, and it has released draft social media guidance documents and guidance on communicating new risk information about drugs.
  • OIG & GAO Developments. The OIG has issued a Special Fraud Alert on lab payments to referring physicians, along with reports on drug manufacturers’ Medicaid AMP determinations, state Medicaid drug rebate reporting, Medicare long-term care hospital interrupted stay policy, mail-order competitive bidding for diabetes test strips, and Medicare Part D drug formularies. The GAO has issued reports on Medicaid nursing home qualification, Medicaid managed care, and Medicare physical therapy self-referrals.
  • Legislative Developments. The Finance Committee is inviting comments on health care data transparency. Congress is considering a number of bipartisan public health bills, and committee hearings have addressed various health policy issues.
  • Odds & Ends. MedPAC has issued Medicare delivery reform recommendations, and Medicare contractors are cracking down on DMEPOS supplier violations.
  • Health Industry Events. Upcoming CMS events will focus on clinical laboratory payments, home health orders, and Medicare hospital outpatient payments and policies. An FDA workshop will address 3-D printing of medical devices.
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