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CMS Announces Summer Meetings on 2018 Clinical Lab Fee Schedule Update

CMS has scheduled two days of meeting this summer on updates to the Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedule (CLFS) for 2018. First, the public meeting on payment amounts for new or substantially revised HCPCS codes being considered for Medicare payment under the 2018 CLFS will be held on July 31, 2017. This meeting also will … Continue Reading

CMS Expects Almost All Eligible Clinicians in Advanced APMs to Meet Qualifying APM Participant Status for 2017

CMS expects nearly 100% of eligible clinicians in Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs) to meet the Medicare Qualifying APM Participant (QP) standard for performance year 2017 and be eligible to receive a 5% APM incentive payment in 2019 under Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) rules. This projection is based on an … Continue Reading

CMS Retroactively Revises DMEPOS Fee Schedule to Implement Cures Act

CMS has announced revised Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) fee schedule amounts for the period of July through December 2016, as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. By way of background, the Affordable Care Act mandated that CMS use pricing information from competitive bidding to adjust certain DMEPOS fee schedule … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes 2018 Medicare Advantage/Part D Policies, Seeks Ideas for Improving Programs

CMS has released its 2018 Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D Rate Announcement and Call Letter. CMS estimates that plan revenues will increase by 0.45 percent in 2018; when coding acuity is considered, plans can expect a total revenue change of 2.95 percent. CMS also adopted provisions intended to reduce opioid misuse under Medicare Part … Continue Reading

CMS Rolls Out New Form for Disclosing Potential Stark Act Violations

CMS has released a new Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol (SRDP) Form for disclosing actual or potential violations of the physician self-referral law (known as the “Stark Act”) under CMS’s existing self-disclosure process. According to CMS, the streamlined and standardized format “will reduce the burden on providers and suppliers submitting disclosures to the SRDP” and facilitate CMS … Continue Reading

CMS Pauses Medicare Home Health Pre-Claim Review Demonstration in Illinois, Puts Off Expanding Demo to Florida for Now

CMS has announced that it is “pausing” its Pre-Claim Review demonstration in Illinois for at least 30 days, effective April 1, 2017, and it is not expanding the demonstration to Florida in April as previously planned. During this pause period, Medicare contractors will not accept additional pre-claim review requests; instead, home health claims will be … Continue Reading

CMS Encourages Providers/Suppliers Not To Put Off Emergency Preparedness Training Exercises; Educational Call Scheduled for April 27

CMS is reminding Medicare- and Medicaid-participating providers and suppliers that they will be expected to comply with training and testing requirements included in a September 2016 emergency preparedness final rule by November 15, 2017.  In particular, CMS warns providers and suppliers not to wait for interpretive guidance to begin planning emergency exercises, since those who … Continue Reading

Just Under the Wire, CMS Announces 60-Day Extension of PAMA Clinical Lab Reporting Deadline

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just announced that it is extending until May 30, 2017 the deadline for certain clinical laboratories to report to CMS private payor reimbursement information.  As required by the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 (PAMA) and its implementing regulations, this data will be used to … Continue Reading

Cuts to Medicare DMEPOS Payment Based on Competitive Bidding Prices – Opportunity to Comment

CMS is seeking input from stakeholders on how it should use data from the durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program to adjust (cut) Medicare DMEPOS fee schedule amounts outside of bidding areas (CBAs), as required by the 21st Century Cures Act. The Cures Act mandates that CMS take such stakeholder … Continue Reading

2018 “Next Generation” Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Models

CMS is soliciting applications for 2018 Next Generation ACOs, an Innovation Center initiative intended to promote Medicare quality improvement and care coordination. Letters of intent are due May 4, 2017. CMS is holding a series of calls to discuss the model and the application process, including the following: March 14, 2017: Application Overview and Participating … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Proposed 2018 Medicare Advantage/Part D Reimbursement Methodologies and Policies

CMS has released its 2018 Advance Notice and Call Letter, which outline proposed updates to Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D plan reimbursement methodologies and policies. CMS notes that it its proposed policies focus on four major outcomes: (1) improvement in quality of care for individuals, (2) promotion of alternative payment models, (3) program integrity … Continue Reading

CMS Provides Sneak Preview of Future DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Plans Before Retracting Announcement

One week after unveiling the next round of Medicare durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a “temporary delay” in order “to allow the new administration further opportunity to review the program.” Specifically, on January 31, 2017, CMS revealed plans for “Round … Continue Reading

CMS Call on Required Data Reporting for Global Surgery/Post-Operative Care (April 25)

CMS has scheduled an April 25, 2017 call to discuss new data reporting requirements for clinicians in selected states who furnish global surgery services, as authorized by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Specifically, the 2017 Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) final rule established a data reporting requirement for practitioners furnishing specified global … Continue Reading

CMS Guidance on Off-Campus Provider-Based Department Policy Changes

CMS recently released guidance on how hospitals can request from their CMS Regional Office a relocation exception from site-neutral payment rates for an excepted off-campus department of a provider due to an extraordinary circumstance, in conformance with the 2017 Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System Final Rule. A separate CMS document discusses implementation of 21st Century … Continue Reading

CMS Announces Three New Innovation Models, Focusing on Patient Engagement and Dual-Eligible Population

The CMS Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) continues to launch initiatives to test ways to improve the quality of health care while controlling cost, despite an uncertain fate under the future Trump Administration and Republican-controlled Congress. Specifically, two new CMMI Beneficiary Engagement and Incentives (BEI) Models seek to promote “shared decision making,” which … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Standardized Hospital Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice Form

Hospitals are facing a March 8, 2017 deadline to begin using the new Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON) to inform Medicare beneficiaries when they are outpatients receiving observation services and not inpatients of the hospital.  The notice is required by the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (NOTICE Act). … Continue Reading

CMS Releases 2017 Medicare DMEPOS and Clinical Lab Fee Schedules

 CMS has announced 2017 Medicare fee schedule rates for durable medical equipment (DME) prosthetic orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) furnished in non-competitive bidding areas.  The calendar year 2017 DMEPOS update factor is 0.7 percent, although other specific coding and pricing policies are applied to numerous types of DMEPOS items, as detailed in a CMS transmittal. In … Continue Reading

CMS Posts Final 2017 Medicare Clinical Lab Payment Determinations

CMS has released the final 2017 Medicare clinical laboratory fee schedule (CLFS) payment determinations for new and reconsidered test codes, including determinations regarding whether CMS will use crosswalking or gapfilling to establish payment rates for specific tests. Under the final determinations, all tests reviewed for 2017 are being crosswalked. CMS also released the final national … Continue Reading

CMS Publishes Final Rule Updating 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates and Policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its final Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) for calendar year (CY) 2017.  In addition to updating MPFS rates and policies, the final rule makes numerous other Medicare policy changes, including updates to Stark Law regulations related to unit-based compensation and new enrollment requirements for providers and … Continue Reading

$20 Increase in Medicare Outpatient Therapy Cap Limits Announced for 2017

Medicare outpatient therapy limits are set to increase slightly in 2017. Specifically, the 2017 cap will be $1,980 for physical therapy and speech-language pathology combined and $1,980 for occupational therapy, compared to $1,960 for 2016. The therapy caps exceptions process continues through December 31, 2017 under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015.… Continue Reading

CMS to Cut Medical Review Audits for Certain Advanced Alternative Payment Model Participants

In order to improve “clinician engagement” and minimize administrative burdens, CMS has announced an 18-month pilot program to reduce medical review audits for participants in selected Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs), beginning January 1, 2017. Under this program, CMS will direct Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs), Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs), and the Supplemental Medical Review … Continue Reading

CMS to Host Calls on Hospital Appeals Settlement Process (Nov. 16 & Dec. 12)

On November 16, 2016, CMS is hosting a call to provide an update on its latest plans to allow eligible providers to settle their inpatient status claims currently under appeal using the Hospital Appeals Settlement process. By way of background, this administrative settlement process will be available beginning December 1, 2016 for eligible hospitals that … Continue Reading
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