The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released a pair of proposed rules on April 27, 2023 that make substantial changes to the structure of Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), both in the traditional fee-for-service setting and for services provided through managed care organizations (MCOs), and incorporate feedback from stakeholders in
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regulations
A Potential Route to RADV Judicial Review: Part III
In part I, we discussed whether federal district courts could exercise jurisdiction under the federal-question statute over legal challenges to overpayment determinations made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the agency’s controversial Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) program for Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations. In part II, we discussed whether MA organizations must exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit under the federal-question statute.
In this final installment, we discuss a litigation nuance of potential significance in this unique context: namely, whether a district court may find that a MA organization can only challenge a RADV overpayment determination in the United States Court of Federal Claims.…
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A Potential Route to RADV Judicial Review: Part II
In part I, we discussed whether federal district courts could exercise jurisdiction under the federal-question statute over legal challenges to overpayment determinations made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the agency’s controversial Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) program for Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations. After concluding that existing Supreme Court precedent provided a substantial basis for arguing in favor of such jurisdiction, we left for another day the antecedent question whether MA organizations must exhaust administrative remedies before filing suit under the federal-question statute.
The seemingly straightforward exhaustion question presents a host of considerations that belie a one-size-fits-all answer. The practical answer likely depends on the nature of the specific overpayment determination at issue and the grounds upon which the MA organization wishes to challenge that determination.…
Continue Reading A Potential Route to RADV Judicial Review: Part II
A Potential Route to RADV Judicial Review: Part I
The Medicare Act does not expressly provide for judicial review of overpayment determinations made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the agency’s controversial Risk Adjustment Data Validation (RADV) program for Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations. With the first wave of such overpayment determinations expected in the coming months, MA organizations impacted by RADV audits should begin considering a potential route to judicial review of such overpayment determinations and whether courts may deem exhaustion of administrative remedies a prerequisite to judicial review.…
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Proposed legislation to tackle Medicare Advantage upcoding in response to overpayment concerns
On March 27, 2023, two United States Senators, Bill Cassidy, MD (R-LA) and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) introduced the bipartisan No Unreasonable Payments, Coding, or Diagnoses for the Elderly (“No UPCODE”) Act to address perceived financial incentives inherent in the Medicare Advantage patient risk scoring reimbursement methodology. Senator Merkley alleges that the current reimbursement…
CMS Wants to Know Who Owns Nursing Facilities
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published a proposed rule on February 15, 2023 that would require Medicare-enrolled skilled nursing facilities (“SNFs”) and Medicaid-enrolled nursing facilities (“NFs”) to disclose additional ownership and management information to CMS and state Medicaid agencies.
The proposed rule would implement Section 1124(c) of the Social Security Act, which was created by the Affordable Care Act to require the disclosure of information about ownership and oversight of SNFs and NFs. CMS first published a proposed rule in 2011 to implement the provision; after receiving public comments, that rule was not finalized. Twelve years later, CMS is trying again, citing concerns about the standard of care that residents receive in these facilities, including those owned by private equity companies and real estate investment trusts (“REITs”).…
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“Contrary to the Public Interest” Part II: CMS Again Invokes Retroactive-Rulemaking Authority
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a Medicare-related final rule invoking the agency’s statutory authority to promulgate retroactive rules after finding that failure to apply the final rule retroactively would be “contrary to the public interest.” The final rule is expected to face vigorous legal challenges in the coming years.
Of note, such challenges may ultimately provide the Supreme Court of the United States with an opportunity to reexamine a constitutional question whose importance goes beyond just the Medicare program: namely, whether a “public interest” statutory standard—whereby Congress directs an agency to regulate according to what the agency determines to be in the public interest—complies with the constitutional prohibition against Congress delegating its legislative power to agencies.…
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CMS issues guidance for rural emergency hospital eligibility requirements
On January 26, 2023, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance for Rural Emergency Hospitals (REHs), through which CMS outlined requirements on eligibility, the conversion process for eligible facilities, and other related information. The guidance clarifies the final rule CMS issued in November that established REHs as a new Medicare provider type, effective January 1, 2023.
This provider type was established to address the concern over closures of rural hospitals, which was particularly problematic during the COVID-19 pandemic. The final rule set forth the Conditions of Participation (CoPs) that REHs must meet in order to participate in the Medicare and Medicaid programs. The standards for REHs closely align with the current CoPs for Critical Access Hospitals (CAHs), available here.
This article provides a brief overview of CMS’s recent eligibility guidance.…
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CMS Specifies Info Needed for Small Biotech Exception to Medicare Drug Price Negotiation
As the September 1, 2023 deadline for Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to publish the first 10 “selected drugs” subject to negotiation of “maximum fair prices” under Medicare Parts B and D fast approaches, CMS has recently specified information that manufacturers must submit in order for their drugs to qualify for the “Small Biotech Exception” to being included on the list. The information is to be submitted during the summer of 2023; the specific deadline has not yet been announced.
On August 16, 2022, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 (IRA). Among other provisions, the IRA provides for the CMS to negotiate “maximum fair prices” with manufacturers of “selected drugs” covered under Medicare Parts B and D. The price negotiation process begins on September 1, 2023, when CMS is required to publish the list of the first 10 selected drugs subject to negotiation, for maximum fair prices which will take effect beginning January 1, 2026.
The IRA provides that the selected drugs will be the 10 “negotiation-eligible drugs” having the highest total expenditures under Medicare Part D during the period June 1, 2022 through May 31, 2023. Negotiation-eligible drugs generally consist of “qualifying single-source drugs”, which are generally defined as branded drugs and biologicals approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) at least 7 years (with respect to drugs) or 11 years (with respect to biologicals) before the date the list is published, and which do not have a marketed generic equivalent or biosimilar. However, for 2026 through 2028, the IRA provides that negotiation-eligible drugs exclude certain drugs under what CMS refers to as the “Small Biotech Exception”.…
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CMS Proposes Amending Identified Overpayment Rules to Align with FCA Knowledge Standard
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has proposed a new rule that, among other changes, would amend the “identified overpayment” standard in the current regulations for Medicare to align with the False Claims Act’s (“FCA”) “knowingly” standard. The proposed rule plans to remove “the exercise of reasonable diligence” language from the relevant regulations and replace that language with the “knowingly” standard from the FCA.
The regulations at issue — 42 C.F.R. § 401.305(a)(2); 42 C.F.R. § 422.326(c) and 42. C.F.R. § 423.360(c) — are supposed to implement, in part, Section 6402(a) of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), codified at 42 U.S.C. § 1320a-7k. This section of the ACA explains that if an overpayment under the various Medicare programs has been identified and has not been reported and returned in a set amount of time, then an enforcement action can be brought under the FCA. This section also states that the terms “knowing” and “knowingly” have the same meaning as under the FCA.
The FCA defines these terms to mean that a person has actual knowledge of information, acts in deliberate ignorance of the truth or falsity of information, or acts in reckless disregard of the truth or falsity of information; the terms do not require a specific intent to defraud. 31 U.S.C. § 3729(b)(1).…
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Recent Medicare Advantage and Part D rule increases regulatory oversight on third party marketers
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has published a final rule that governed the way that Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D plans interact with third-party marketing organizations. The rule, which goes into effect on June 28, 2022, will have a wide ranging impact on the insurers who run these plans.
CMS Issues Updated Open Payments FAQs
CMS recently issued updated Open Payments Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs). The FAQs are revised periodically to reflect the most up to date program requirements. This latest revision both added and removed FAQs, and also included some general edits.
The following FAQs were added: #2014, #2015, #2016, #2017, #2018, #2019, #2020, #2021 and #2022. Each new FAQ is reproduced in full below. They provide additional guidance regarding topics such as archived reporting years, salaries paid to covered recipients, reporting of device identifiers, valuing long-term device loans, debt forgiveness, and the definition of Nurse Practitioner.
Additionally, the following FAQs have been removed from the FAQ document “due to being no longer applicable, redundant with another FAQ, or of low utility” (according to CMS):…
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CMS Gives the IPO List the Godfather 3 Treatment
Just when the procedures thought they were out(patient), CMS pulls them back in(patient).
Last year, in the final CY 2021 Outpatient PPS rule, CMS announced its intention to eliminate the Inpatient Only (IPO) List by January 1, 2024. The IPO list featured more than 1,700 procedures that were surgically invasive or required more than 24 hours of post-operational recovery time. As a result, any procedure on the list would only be paid for by Medicare on an inpatient basis.
With the CY 2021 rule, those procedures would be released to outpatient providers in stages, allowing physicians to clinically determine whether inpatient admission was indicated for a particular procedure.
However, in the proposed CY 2022 Outpatient PPS rule, announced on July 19, 2021, CMS reversed that decision and announced that it will now keep the IPO List, reinstating the 298 procedures that were removed by the 2021 rule. CMS said it was responding to concerns from stakeholders about patient safety. In particular, CMS indicated that the 2021 rule removed the procedures on too steep of a timeline. The agency said it wanted to provide “greater consideration of the impact removing services from the list has on beneficiary safety and to allow providers impacted by the COVID-19 PHE additional time to prepare to furnish appropriate services safely and efficiently before continuing to remove large numbers of services from the list.”…
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CMS acknowledges improvement in nursing home COVID-19 response, eliminates certain blanket waivers
The 2019 Novel Coronavirus pandemic (“COVID-19”) introduced several unfamiliar hardships adversely impacting the long-term care industry, especially for nursing homes. Acknowledging these hardships, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) enacted several temporary emergency blanket waivers effective March 1, 2020, lending flexibility to nursing homes in their COVID-19 response efforts. Since that time, according…
CMS finalizes rule to ensure no-cost COVID-19 vaccine
On October 28, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an interim final rule with comment period (IFR) in an effort to ensure that participants in CMS programs have no-cost access to any forthcoming Food and Drug Administration (FDA or Agency) authorized or approved COVID-19 vaccine.
The IFR governs any vaccine that…
CMS releases roadmap for states to accelerate adoption of value-based care
On September 15, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued guidance to state Medicaid directors on how to advance value-based care (VBC) across their health care systems, with an emphasis on Medicaid populations, and how to share pathways for adoption of such approaches. Within the 33-page letter, CMS highlights the merits of…
CMS issues proposed rule that would expedite approval of “breakthrough” devices and codify the standards for “reasonable and necessary” determinations
The October 3, 2019 Executive Order 13890 (“EO 13890”), entitled “Executive Order on Protecting and Improving Medicare for our Nation’s Seniors,” directs the Secretary of Health and Human Services to “propose regulatory and sub-regulatory changes to the Medicare program to encourage innovation for patients.” EO 13890 explicitly requests that the Secretary make coverage…
CMS unveils additional COVID-19 LTC facility testing and reporting rules during public health emergency
On August 27, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) filed an interim final rule with comment period (“IFC”), detailing new long-term care (“LTC”) facility COVID-19 testing requirements and strengthening enforcement of existing related facility reporting requirements. According to CMS, the IFC represents the agency’s latest effort in an ongoing initiative to control…
Federal Court stays repeal of “On the Basis of Sex” definition in recent nondiscrimination final rule one day before regulations take effect
With only one day left before the final rule scaling back nondiscrimination regulations took effect, the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York (EDNY) issued an order staying the repeal of certain parts of the former regulations. On June 19, 2020, the Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office for Civil Rights (OCR) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule scaling back nondiscrimination regulations first released in 2016 to implement Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The 2016 regulations had imposed significant requirements on health care providers to ensure that all individuals were provided “meaningful access” to care. As part of the 2016 regulations, OCR banned discrimination “on the basis of sex,” which was defined broadly as “on the basis of pregnancy, false pregnancy, termination of pregnancy, or recovery therefrom, childbirth or related medical conditions, sex stereotyping, or gender identity.” The 2020 final rule revised the 2016 regulations significantly, however. In one of its most controversial changes, OCR removed the definition of “on the basis of sex” contending that “on the basis of sex” shall revert to the “plain meaning” of the term “sex” in Title IX of the Civil Rights Act – meaning not to encompass discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. OCR’s decision came on the heels of a Supreme Court ruling in Bostock v. Clayton County, Ga. four days prior which concluded that discrimination “on the basis of sex” encompasses claims based on gender identity and sexual orientation under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. Accordingly, within the course of less than a week, the Supreme Court broadly interpreted the same term that OCR severely limited.
Shortly after OCR announced its reversal of the nondiscrimination requirement based on gender identity and sexual orientation, various interest groups began mounting legal challenges. With the order issued by EDNY on August 17, 2020, we are already seeing evidence of the legal battles likely to ensue over the definition of “on the basis of sex,” placing certain parts of OCR’s final rule in legal limbo.
Continue Reading Federal Court stays repeal of “On the Basis of Sex” definition in recent nondiscrimination final rule one day before regulations take effect
“Contrary to the Public Interest”: CMS invokes retroactive-rulemaking authority to escape consequences of Allina
Earlier this month and with little fanfare, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule that would invoke CMS’s rarely used retroactive-rulemaking authority to essentially ensure that, despite the Supreme Court’s adverse rulemaking decision in Azar v. Allina Health Services, 139 S. Ct. 1804 (2019), CMS will apply the same Medicare payment methodology found procedurally improper in Allina. CMS’s invocation of its retroactive-rulemaking authority to effectively circumvent Allina sets a potentially dangerous precedent that should not go unnoticed by all Medicare stakeholders.
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