Archives: Department of Health and Human Services

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HHS Secretary Nominee Azar to Face Senate HELP Committee after Thanksgiving

President Trump has nominated Alex Azar to be Secretary of Health and Human Services, which would fill the vacancy created when Tom Price, MD resigned the post in September.  Mr. Azar, an attorney who previously served in senior HHS positions and as a pharmaceutical industry executive, is scheduled to appear before the Senate Health, Education, … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes IPPS/LTCH Payment and Policy Changes for FY 2018

CMS has published its final rule to update the Medicare acute hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. Acute Hospital Rate & Policy Updates CMS projects that the rate and policy changes in the rule will increase total IPPS payments by about … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2018

Rule Would Delay Appropriate Use Criteria Requirement until 2019, Cut Rates for Off-Campus Hospital Departments The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its proposed rule to update the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) for calendar year (CY) 2018. The proposed rule addresses numerous Medicare policies, including:  implementation of appropriate use criteria (AUC) … Continue Reading

CMS Issues Final Rule to Stabilize ACA Insurance Markets, While Emphasizing Marketplace Woes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has published a final rule intended to help improve the risk pool and stabilize the Affordable Care Act (ACA) Insurance Exchanges for 2018 – even as CMS contends that consumers “have faced double-digit premium increases, fewer plans to choose from, and a market that continues to be threatened … Continue Reading

Regulatory Freeze Notwithstanding, Trump Administration Increases Health Fraud CMPs

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is once again applying an inflation increase to maximum civil monetary penalty (CMP) amounts for HHS agencies and programs – less than five months after the last inflation hike and notwithstanding the Trump Administration’s recently-announced regulatory freeze.  Specifically, in a final rule to be published on February … Continue Reading

Reexamining HIPAA’s Applicability During Emergencies After the Tragedy in Orlando

Immediately following Sunday’s tragic shooting at a nightclub in Orlando, friends and family frantically gathered at Orlando Regional Medical Center, attempting to get information about their loved ones.  However, hospital officials hesitated to provide specific updates.  Why?  Because the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and implementing regulations restrict the patient-identifiable health information that … Continue Reading

Extensive Medicare & Medicaid Funding and Program Integrity Provisions in Obama’s Released FY 2017 Budget Proposal

On February 9, 2016, the Obama Administration released its proposed fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget, which contains significant Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and program integrity legislative proposals – including $419 billion in Medicare savings over 10 years. These proposed policy changes would require action by Congress, and Republican Congressional leaders have already voiced general opposition … Continue Reading

Medicare and Medicaid Drug Policy Provisions in the Obama Administration’s Proposed FY 2017 Budget

The Obama Administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget, released on February 9, 2016, includes a number of legislative proposals that would revise Medicare and Medicaid policies to achieve budget savings and make other program reforms.  The largest pool of Medicare savings would result from various Medicare prescription drug proposals, including the following (all savings … Continue Reading

340B Drug Pricing Program Omnibus Guidance Notice Published by HRSA

On August 28, 2015, the Health Services Resources Administration (HRSA) published long-awaited 340B Drug Pricing Program Omnibus Guidance.  Although many aspects of the notice reiterate previous HRSA guidance, several elements will generate significant debate among program stakeholders regarding the scope of the 340B program, particularly because of its potential to narrow the scope of permissible … Continue Reading
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