Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regulations

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.

Scot Hasselman

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Additionally, the following FAQs have been removed from the FAQ document “due to being no longer applicable, redundant with another FAQ, or of low utility” (according to CMS):
Continue Reading CMS Issues Updated Open Payments FAQs

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.”

Continue Reading CMS Gives the IPO List the Godfather 3 Treatment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.
Continue Reading “Contrary to the Public Interest”: CMS invokes retroactive-rulemaking authority to escape consequences of Allina

On June 9, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced additional distributions from the CARES Act Provider Relief Fund to several groups of providers, totaling approximately $25 billion. $15 billion of these funds is targeted towards eligible Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) providers participating in state Medicaid and CHIP

On June 1, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) unveiled new measures designed to enhance enforcement and oversight of nursing homes and related state survey agencies.  CMS announced the new policies concurrently with the release of federal data detailing the incidence of nursing home COVID-19 infections, which was also made available on

With portions of the country beginning to reopen, on May 18, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its recommendations to state and local officials for best practices regarding the reopening of nursing homes. Because nursing homes have been severely impacted by COVID-19, CMS issued a memorandum to state officials regarding the

On May 11, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new suite of blanket waivers for hospitals and other health care providers in response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.[1] The blanket waivers have a retroactive effective date of March 1, which extends through the end of the public health emergency declaration and, in CMS’s view, “provide the flexibilities needed to take care of patients during the COVID-19 public health emergency.” The new blanket waivers relate to the following:
Continue Reading CMS releases additional COVID-19 blanket waivers for health care providers

On May 6, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued additional guidance, by way of updated FAQs, for providers receiving relief from the $50 billion general allocation of the Public Health and Social Services Emergency Fund (known as the Provider Relief Fund) that was appropriated in the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. And on May 7, HHS announced a 15-day extension for Provider Relief Fund recipients to attest to payments received and accept the Terms and Conditions governing the use of those funds. This extension comes just days prior to the initial deadline that many providers were facing for submitting attestations.

Continue Reading CARES Act Relief Funds: HHS updates General Distribution Fund FAQs and extends attestation deadline from 30 days to 45 days

As discussed in our client alert, recent legal developments have greatly expanded funding for and access to telehealth services during the COVID-19 crisis.

Among the changes instituted by HHS are expanded Medicare coverage and payment for services, reduced or waived cost-sharing obligations for physicians, and loosening of the HIPAA enforcement policies for covered entities

Shortly after President Trump declared a national emergency related to COVID-19, CMS issued blanket waivers under section 1135 of the Social Security Act that are intended to ensure there are sufficient health care items and services available to meet the increased need, as well as reduce related administrative burdens on health care providers.

Our comprehensive

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a new voluntary Part D Senior Savings Model (the Model) intended to reduce Medicare beneficiary cost sharing for insulin.  Under the Model, participating insulin manufacturers and participating sponsors of Medicare Part D prescription drug plans (PDPs) and Medicare Advantage Part D plans (MA-PDs) will make available 30-day supplies of insulin to beneficiaries of certain “enhanced benefit” PDPs and MA-PDs, with cost-sharing capped at no more than $35 during all phases of the Part D benefit, other than the catastrophic benefit.

The Model appears to reflect a balancing of plan and manufacturer concerns.  If there is significant participation by Part D sponsors, the Model could provide meaningful relief to beneficiaries facing high out-of-pocket costs for insulin under Part D.  As of the writing of this post, three of the largest insulin manufacturers – Eli Lilly, Novo Nordisk and Sanofi Aventis –have announced their intention to participate.

The Model, which was announced March 11, 2019, will be a five-year program, beginning in plan year 2021.  CMS is offering the Model through the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI) pursuant to authority under section 1115A of the Social Security Act (added by the Affordable Care Act).  The following is a summary of the new Model, along with our initial observations regarding some of its implications.

Continue Reading CMS Rolls Out New Medicare Part D “Senior Savings Model” Designed to Drive Down Insulin Copayments

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a proposed rule that would extend and modify the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model, under which CMS makes a “bundled” payment to participant hospitals for an “episode of care” for lower extremity joint replacement (LEJR) surgery, covering all services provided during the inpatient admission through 90 days post-discharge (with certain exceptions).  Notably, CMS has proposed incorporating outpatient hip and knee replacements into the episode of care definition, now that these procedures are no longer on the CMS “inpatient only” list.  CMS also requests comments on a potential future bundled payment model focusing on LEJR procedures performed in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs).  CMS will accept comments on until April 24, 2020.

Highlights of the proposed rule include the following:

  • Extension of CJR Model. The CJR Model began April 1, 2016 and currently is scheduled to run through December 31, 2020.  CMS has proposed extending the model for an additional three years, through December 31, 2023 for participant hospitals physically located in the 34 mandatory metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), excluding rural or low-volume hospitals in those MSAs.  CMS anticipates that approximately 350 participants would participate in the CJR model during the proposed three-year extension, compared with about 470 providers as of October 2019.
  • Outpatient Joint Replacements. The proposed rule would expand the definition of a CJR “episode” to include outpatient total knee arthroplasty (TKA) and total hip arthroplasty (THA), in light of previously-adopted CMS policies that allow total knee and total hip replacements to be treated in the outpatient setting.  This change would apply to episodes initiated by an “anchor procedure” furnished on or after October 4, 2020 (because the 90-day episode would end on or after January 1, 2021, the first day of proposed new plan year 6).  CMS proposes to group all outpatient TKA procedures into MS-DRG 470 (LEJR without complications and/or comorbidities) without hip fracture historical episodes for purposes of calculating a single, site-neutral target price.  Outpatient THA cases would be grouped into either MS-DRG 470 with hip fracture or MS-DRG 470 without hip fracture depending on hip fracture status.
  • Target Price Calculation. CMS has proposed changing the basis for the target price from three years of claims data to the most recent one year of claims data.  The proposed rule also would discontinue the use of the regional and hospital anchor weighting steps in the target price calculation methodology, and it would end the annual updates to the target prices.  Furthermore, CMS proposes to incorporate additional risk adjustment to the target pricing and modify the high episode spending cap calculation methodology.

The proposed rule also would, among other things:
Continue Reading CMS Plans to Add Outpatient Hip/Knee Replacements to CJR Model, Seeks Comments on ASC Joint Procedure Bundled Payment Model

CMS has put on display a proposed rule that would update Medicare Advantage (MA) and Medicare Part D prescription drug benefit policies for contract year 2021 and 2022.  CMS projects that its proposed policies would decrease federal spending by $4.4 billion over 10 years, primarily as a result of a proposal to remove outliers prior