Archives: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regulations

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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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 of breakthrough … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

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 … Continue Reading

“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 … Continue Reading

HHS announces another round of CARES Act funding for Medicaid and CHIP providers as well as Safety Net Hospitals

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 … Continue Reading

CMS announces increased penalties and oversight for states and nursing homes during COVID-19 emergency

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 … Continue Reading

CMS issues nursing home reopening recommendations for state and local officials

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 … Continue Reading

CMS releases additional COVID-19 blanket waivers for health care providers

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 … Continue Reading

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

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 … Continue Reading

HHS expands access to telehealth services in response to COVID-19

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 (which … Continue Reading

HHS waives requirements for health care providers under section 1135 in response to COVID-19

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 … Continue Reading

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

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 … Continue Reading

CMS Plans to Add Outpatient Hip/Knee Replacements to CJR Model, Seeks Comments on ASC Joint Procedure Bundled Payment Model

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 … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Proposed Medicare Advantage and Part D Rules for Contract Year 2021 and 2022

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 … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Updates to ACA Exchange Plan Policies for 2021

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed updates to its standards for health plan issuers offering plans through federally-facilitated and state-based Exchanges for 2021.  The proposed rule would, among other things:  revise the risk adjustment methodology; update issuer user fees and cost-sharing limits; amend medical loss ratio regulations (including with regard to … Continue Reading

HHS Adopts New Retail Pharmacy HIPAA Transaction Requirements for Schedule II Drug Prescriptions

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has modified HIPAA retail pharmacy transaction requirements to differentiate between partial fill and full refills of opioids and other Schedule II drug prescriptions.  Specifically, HHS has finalized the requirements for use of the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs (NCPDP) Telecommunication Standard Implementation Guide, Version D, Release … Continue Reading

CMS Updates List of DMEPOS Items Subject to Medicare Prior Authorization

CMS is adding six types of lower limb prosthetics to the list of equipment subject to Medicare prior authorization (PA) requirements, and extending certain current PA requirements.  Specifically, CMS is requiring PA as a condition of Medicare payment for the following items on the basis of their being “frequently subject to unnecessary utilization”: L5856 Addition … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes 2021 Funding Methodology for ACA Basic Health Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the methodology and data sources it proposes to use to determine federal payment to states that establish a Basic Health Program (BHP) for 2021.  Through the BHP, which was authorized by the Affordable Care Act (ACA), states may offer health benefits to certain low-income individuals otherwise eligible … Continue Reading

HHS Proposes Rules to Modernize Organ Transplant System

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has released two proposed rules intended to increase the availability of organs for transplantation and improve the accountability of organ procurement organizations (OPOs), in conformance with President Trump’s Executive Order on Advancing American Kidney Health. First, the Health Resources and Services Administration has proposed expanding the scope … Continue Reading

Controversial CMS Final Rule Requires Hospitals to Disclose Payer-Specific Charge Data; New Proposed Rule Would Impose Health Plan Transparency Requirements

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized a “price transparency” rule that requires hospitals to make detailed charge data – including payer-specific negotiated charges – available for all inpatient and outpatient services.  Additionally, the final rule mandates that hospitals make “consumer-friendly” charge information available for at least 300 “shoppable” services.  While CMS deferred … Continue Reading

CMS Adopts Medicare OPPS and ASC Rates, Policy Updates for 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized Medicare hospital outpatient prospective payment system (OPPS) and ambulatory surgical center (ASC) payment system rates and policies for 2020.  The final rule provided a 2.6% update to both OPPS and ASC rates for 2020 for facilities meeting quality reporting requirements (compared to an anticipated 2.7% … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates and Policies for CY 2020

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its final Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2020.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the final rule revises numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the final rule include the following:  The final 2020 conversion factor is $36.0896, up slightly from … Continue Reading
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