The House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health has approved the following seven bipartisan bills addressing the Medicare Part B program:
- HR 3245, which would significantly increase various Medicare civil and criminal penalties under sections 1128A and 1128B of the Social Security Act, which sponsors note have not been updated in 20 years. Maximum penalties would at least double under the bill. For instance, CMPs that are now $10,000 would be increased to $20,000, while criminal fines that are now a maximum of $25,000 would increase to $100,000. Maximum sentences also would be doubled, from five years to 10 years.
- HR 1148, the Furthering Access to Stroke Telemedicine Act, to provide for Medicare reimbursement of neurological consults via telemedicine for beneficiaries presenting at hospitals or mobile stroke units.
- HR 2465, the Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act, to make permanent the current Medicare coverage of speech generating devices under the “routinely purchased” durable medical equipment payment category.
- HR 2557, the Prostate Cancer Misdiagnosis Elimination Act, to provide coverage of DNA Specimen Provenance Assay (DPSA) testing for prostate cancer.
- HR 3120, to amend the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act to remove the mandate that meaningful use standards become more stringent over time.
- HR 3263, to extend the Medicare Independence at Home Medical Practice Demonstration Program.
- HR 3271, to revise Medicare competitive bidding rules pertaining to diabetes test strips (DTS), including stronger enforcement of requirement that bidders cover at least 50 percent of the types of diabetes test strips on the market.
Furthermore, the Ways and Means Committee approved the following two bills (in addition to the Stark Act amendments discussed here):
- HR 3727, the Increasing Telehealth Access to Medicare Act, which would allow Medicare Advantage plans to include certain additional telehealth services in their bids.
- HR 3729, the Comprehensive Operations, Sustainability and Transport Act, which would extend Medicare ground ambulance add-on payments and establish related cost-reporting requirements.
The full House has not yet voted on these bills.