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CMS Proposes $540 Million Increase in Medicare Hospice Payments in FY 2020; Agency Seeks Comments on Integrating Hospice Benefit in Coordinated Care Models

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed a 2.7% increase in Medicare hospice payment rates for fiscal year (FY) 2020, which the agency estimates would result in a $540 million increase in Medicare payments to hospices compared with 2019 levels.  The annual update would be reduced by 2 percentage points for hospices that … Continue Reading

CMS Expands DMEPOS Items Subject to Prior Authorization Due to “Unnecessary Utilization”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is expanding the types of durable medical equipment (DME), prosthetic, orthotics, supplies (DMEPOS) that are subject to Medicare prior authorization requirements on the basis of being “frequently subject to unnecessary utilization.”  Specifically, CMS announced that it is adding to the Required Prior Authorization List: Seven power wheelchair … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes $887 Million Boost in Medicare Payments to Skilled Nursing Facilities in FY 2020 While Floating Expanded Group Therapy Definition

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released its 232-page proposed rule to update the Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) prospective payment system (PPS) for federal fiscal year (FY) 2020, which begins on October 1, 2019. Overall, CMS projects that SNF PPS payments would rise by $887 million under the proposed rule. Specifically, … Continue Reading

Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Payments Would Increase by $75 Million under FY 2020 Proposed Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to increase Medicare inpatient psychiatric facility (IPF) payments by $75 million – a 1.7% boost – in fiscal year (FY) 2020.  Specifically, CMS proposes a net market basket update of 1.85%, reflecting a 3.1% market basket update reduced by two statutory reductions. CMS estimates that … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Federal Funding Methodology for ACA Basic Health Program for 2019-2020

CMS has published a proposed rule setting forth its methodology for determining federal payment amounts to states that elect to establish a Basic Health Program (BHP) under the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Through the BHP, states may offer health benefits to low-income individuals otherwise eligible to purchase coverage through an Affordable Insurance Exchange/Marketplace.  CMS will accept comments … Continue Reading

CMS Seeks Input on How to Promote the Sale of Individual Health Insurance Coverage Across State Lines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has requested public comments on ways to remove barriers to the sale of health insurance coverage across state lines in order to expand consumer choice.  In particular, CMS is interested in how states can utilize Section 1333 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which authorizes two or … Continue Reading

CMS Restructures Medicare Shared Savings Program to Encourage Transition to Performance-based Risk

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized a major restructuring of the Medicare Shared Savings Program, dubbed “Pathways to Success.”  According to CMS, the program changes “are designed to increase savings for the Trust Funds and mitigate losses, reduce gaming opportunities, and promote regulatory flexibility and free-market principles.”  Most notably, CMS is … Continue Reading

CMS Seeks Input on Potential Conflicts of Interest Arising from Accrediting Organizations Offering Consulting Services to Providers they Survey

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is requesting public comments on actual or perceived conflicts of interest that could arise when Medicare-approved accrediting organizations (AOs) also offer fee-based consulting services for Medicare-participating providers and suppliers.  Such services — which CMS points out are not currently prohibited by law or regulation — may include: … Continue Reading

Medicare ESRD PPS Payments to Rise by 1.6% in 2019

Medicare end-stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system (PPS) payments are expected to increase by 1.6% — or about $210 million — in calendar year (CY) 2019 under the final rule published on November 14, 2018.  The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has adopted a CY 2019 ESRD PPS base rate of $235.27, … Continue Reading

Trump Administration International Pricing Index Plan for Medicare Part B Drugs:  Key Issues and Implications

The Trump Administration is considering a controversial plan, the International Pricing Index (IPI) model, which would tie Medicare Part B prescription drug payment rates to amounts paid for such drugs in other developed countries.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed IPI model also would replace the current “buy and bill” system for Part … Continue Reading

Two-Year Break in Store for Medicare DMEPOS Competitive Bidding Program, But CMS Gears Up for 2021 Restart with Expanded Product Categories and New Rules

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has confirmed that it expects to have a “temporary gap” in the durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies (DMEPOS) competitive bidding program (CBP) during calendar years 2019-2020.  As a result, beginning January 1, 2019, Medicare beneficiaries may receive DMEPOS items from any Medicare-enrolled supplier until such time … Continue Reading

Medicare Home Health Payments to Rise by 2.2% in 2019, Broader Reforms Adopted for 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) final calendar year 2019 Medicare home health prospective payment system (HH PPS) rule boosts rates by 2.2% next year and ushers in broader case-mix methodology reforms for 2020. With regard to the 2019 update, the final rule increases HH PPS rates by 2.2% ($420 million) compared with 2018 … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Tweaks to Medicare Appeals Rules to Reduce Administrative Burdens

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed revising its rules governing the process Medicare beneficiaries, providers, and suppliers use to appeal adverse determinations regarding claims for Medicare Part A and Part B benefits or determinations for Part D prescription drug coverage.  According to CMS, the revisions “would help streamline the appeals process … Continue Reading

FY 2020 IPPS New Technology Add-On Payment Applications to be Weighed at December 4, 2018 CMS Town Hall Meeting

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is holding a Town Hall Meeting on December 4, 2018 to discuss fiscal year (FY) 2020 applications for add-on payments for new medical services and technologies under the Medicare inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS).  Interested parties will have an opportunity to present recommendations and data regarding whether … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Regulatory Changes to Ease Burden on Medicare, Medicaid Providers

CMS has issued a proposed rule intended streamline the Medicare and Medicaid regulatory burden on numerous types of providers and suppliers.  CMS generally classifies the proposals as falling into the following categories:  (1) those that simplify and streamline processes, (2) those that reduce the frequency of activities and revise timelines, and (3) those that address … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Medicare Shared Savings Program Redesign to “Put Real ‘Accountability’ in Accountable Care Organizations”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing a “new direction” for the Medicare Shared Savings Program, with changes to Medicare accountable care organization (ACO) requirements designed to increase Medicare savings and reduce “gaming opportunities.”  In a press release announcing the “Pathways to Success” redesign, CMS Administrator Seema Verma asserts that “after six … Continue Reading

Medicare Hospital Inpatient and Long-Term Care Hospital Payment Policies Finalized for FY 2019

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final rule updating the Medicare inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2019.  The following are highlights of the lengthy rule, which is scheduled to be published August 17, 2018. IPPS Payments to Rise … Continue Reading

FY 2019 Medicare Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Payments to Rise by $105 Million under Final Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) expects Medicare payments to inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) to increase by 1.3% ($105 million) in fiscal year (FY) 2019 under the final IRF prospective payment system (PPS) rule.  For FY 2019, the IRF PPS update factor is 1.35%, based on an IRF market basket update of 2.9%, … Continue Reading

PDPM Activated:  CMS Finalizes FY 2019 SNF Rule Largely as Proposed

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized its annual update to Medicare skilled nursing facility (SNF) PPS rates and policies for fiscal year (FY) 2019, without significant changes to the rule as proposed.  Most notably, CMS adopted the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM) case mix classification system.  The PDPM, which will replace the existing … Continue Reading

Medicare Hospice Payments to Increase by $340 Million under Final FY 2019 Rule

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized its FY 2019 update to Medicare hospice rates and policies.  As forecast in the May 8, 2018 proposed rule, CMS is increasing FY 2019 hospice rates by 1.8% ($340 million), based on a 2.9% inpatient hospital market basket update that is reduced by both a … Continue Reading

Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Rates for FY 2019 Finalized

CMS has published its final rule to update fiscal year (FY) 2019 rates and policies for Medicare inpatient psychiatric facility (IPF) services.  CMS estimates that the final rule will increase payments by a total of $50 million (1.1%) compared to FY 2018 levels.  The final rule provides for a 1.35% payment update for FY 2019, … Continue Reading

Citing “Significant Potential for Fraud, Waste, and Abuse,” CMS Extends HHA/Ambulance Enrollment Moratoria in Selected States

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has determined that it should extend for an additional six months its current moratoria on the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment of new home health agencies (HHAs) and Part B nonemergency ground ambulance suppliers in selected states.  Under the latest notice, the moratoria … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes CY 2019 Medicare OPPS, ASC Update, with Emphasis on Promoting Site-Neutrality

CMS has issued its proposed rule to update Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to providing routine annual updates, the proposed rule includes several provisions intended to encourage “site-neutral payments” for different types of providers.  CMS also … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes CY 2019 Update to Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates, Policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its proposed Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the sweeping rule proposes changes to numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the proposed rule include the following: CMS proposes a 2019 … Continue Reading
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