Archives: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Regulations

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CMS Adopts 2019 ACA Health Plan Policies

CMS has released its final rule updating policies applying to qualified health plans (QHPs) offered on Affordable Care Act (ACA) Exchanges for 2019.  In the final rule, CMS stresses its goal of providing states greater flexibility and control over their insurance markets, particularly in the areas of: selection of essential health benefits benchmark plans; the … Continue Reading

CMS Trims List of DMEPOS Subject to Prior Authorization Due to “Unnecessary Utilization”

CMS is removing the Medicare prior authorization (PA) requirement for several types of medical equipment because the items no longer meet the standard set forth in a 2015 final rule. Under these regulations, CMS requires PA for certain items of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) that the agency characterizes as “frequently subject to unnecessary … Continue Reading

Get Ready for the FY 2019 Medicare Payment Rules

CMS is gearing up for the fiscal year (FY) 2019 Medicare payment system rulemaking cycle. The agency has requested that the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) review the FY 2019 proposed rules for the following payment systems: The Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System for Acute Care Hospitals and the Long-Term Care Hospital … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Easing Rules for State Medicaid FFS Access Monitoring

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to exempt states with high rates of Medicaid managed care enrollment from current requirements to analyze and monitor access in fee-for-service (FFS) delivery systems. The proposed rule also would loosen current state access analysis requirements when states make what CMS contends are “nominal” reductions in … Continue Reading

CMS Mulling Changes to CLIA Personnel, Proficiency Testing Referral Rules

CMS is requesting information from the public on potential changes to longstanding Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA) personnel, histocompatibility, and related policies, which have not been comprehensively updated since 1992. With regard to personnel requirements, CMS seeks information that will enable it to revise the regulations to “better reflect current knowledge, changes in … Continue Reading

CMS Establishes New Rules for Medicare Shared Savings Program ACOs Impacted by Extreme/Uncontrollable Circumstances

CMS has just put on display an interim final rule with comment period to establish special policies to assess the performance year 2017 financial and quality performance of Medicare Shared Savings Program accountable care organizations (ACOs) affected by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances, such as Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria and the California wildfires.  CMS is … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Outlines Planned Regulatory — and Deregulatory — Actions for 2018

The Trump Administration has updated its “Unified Agenda of Regulatory and Deregulatory Actions,” which lists the scope and anticipated timing of pending and future regulations. In releasing the agenda, the Administration highlights its “ongoing progress toward the goals of more effective and less burdensome regulation,” including its plans to finalize three deregulatory actions for every … Continue Reading

CMS Extends Medicare Prior Authorization Program for Repetitive Scheduled Non-Emergent Ambulance Transport

CMS is extending for another year the Medicare prior authorization program for repetitive, scheduled non-emergent ambulance transport services rendered by ambulance providers in selected states. As previously reported, CMS began testing the three-year Medicare prior authorization model in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina on December 1, 2014. The agency extended the model to the … Continue Reading

CMS Scraps Cardiac/Hip Fracture Episode Payment Model, Downsizes CJR Program

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has officially cancelled a planned program to require certain hospitals to participate in Medicare episode payment models (EPMs) for acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass graft, and surgical hip/femur fracture treatment procedures furnished in designated areas of the country, along with a Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Incentive Payment … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Changes to Medicare Advantage, Part D Programs for 2019

CMS has issued a proposed rule to update the Medicare Advantage (MA) program and Part D prescription drug benefit rules for contract year 2019.  The proposed rule would, among many other things: Implement a Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA) provision that allows Part D plan sponsors to establish drug management programs that limit at-risk … Continue Reading

CMS Modifies Medicare Physician Quality Payment Program Rules for 2018

CMS has issued a final rule with comment period making changes to the Quality Payment Program (QPP) for 2018, the second performance year for the reformed physician payment framework mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). CMS is continuing its “slow ramp-up” of the QPP by building on the transition … Continue Reading

Medicare Home Health Payments to Drop by $80 Million under Final 2018 Rule

The final CMS calendar year (CY) 2018 Medicare home health prospective payment system (HH PPS) rule cuts Medicare payments by 0.4% ($80 million) in 2018 compared to 2017 levels, but CMS did not adopt a more sweeping case mix methodology reform proposal that would have reduced 2019 payments by almost $1 billion. Under the final rule, … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2018

Delays AUC Requirement until 2020, Cuts Off-Campus Hospital Department Payments The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its final Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for CY 2018. In addition to updating rates for 2018, the rule includes important policy changes, including an additional delay in implementation of appropriate use criteria (AUC) … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Medicare OPPS, ASC Rates and Policies for CY 2018

CMS has published a final rule updating Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year (CY) 2018. In addition to rate updates, notable policy changes in the rule include a deep ($1.6 billion) OPPS reimbursement cut for drugs obtained through the 340B drug … Continue Reading

CMS Boosting Medicare ESRD Facility Payments by 0.5% for 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its final Medicare end-stage renal disease (ESRD) prospective payment system (PPS) rates and policies for calendar year 2018. CMS projects that the final rule will increase total Medicare payments to all ESRD facilities by 0.5% in 2018 (lower than the 0.8% increase forecast in the … Continue Reading

Final Medicare Provider Payment Rules in the Pipeline

The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is reviewing several CMS rules that would finalize CY 2018 Medicare payment policies for various types of providers and suppliers. Specifically, OMB is reviewing final rules to update the hospital outpatient and ambulatory surgical center PPS; the Medicare physician fee schedule and physician Quality Payment Program; the … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Shelves Additional Obama Medicare/Health Plan Proposals

The Trump Administration has formally withdrawn a number of pending Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) proposals that never reached the final rule stage. This includes:  a controversial Part Medicare B drug payment innovation model; a proposal to protect same sex marriages in certain Medicare and Medicaid facilities (predating a related Supreme Court decision); … Continue Reading

CMS Corrects Final FY 2018 IPPS, LTCH, and SNF Payment Rules

CMS has released corrections to two major fiscal year (FY) 2018 Medicare payment rules. First, CMS has made numerous technical corrections to the FY 2018 inpatient prospective payment systems (IPPS) and long term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) final rule. CMS has corrected MS-DRG and MS-LTCH-DRG relative weights, budget neutrality adjustment factors, fixed-loss … Continue Reading

CMS Announces CY 2018 Amount in Controversy Thresholds for Medicare Appeals

CMS has released the calendar year (CY) 2018 amount in controversy (AIC) threshold amounts for Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) hearings and judicial review under the Medicare appeals process. The CY 2018 AIC threshold amounts are $160 for ALJ hearings (the same as 2017) and $1,600 for judicial review (compared to $1,560 in 2017).  These amounts … Continue Reading

CMS Corrects Sunshine Act CMP Regulations due to Inflation Adjustment Error

CMS has just corrected an error in a 2016 rulemaking that inadvertently called for a 10-fold increase in certain “Sunshine Act” civil monetary penalties (CMPs). Under section 1128G of the Social Security Act, applicable manufacturers must report annually to CMS any payments or other transfers of value to covered recipients. In addition, the statute requires … Continue Reading

CMS Issues Final FY 2018 Medicare Hospice Payment Update

CMS has finalized fiscal year (FY) 2018 Medicare hospice reimbursement rates and other updates to Medicare hospice policies. As mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA), CMS is increasing FY 2018 hospice rates by 1% (approximately $180 million) for those hospices that submit required quality data; this update is reduced … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Cancellation of Medicare Cardiac/Hip Fracture Episode Payment Models, Scale-Back of Mandatory CJR Participation

Signals Trump Administration’s About-Face on Obama-Era Mandatory Innovation Models The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has just released a proposed rule to cancel a significant — but still-pending — Obama Administration program that would require certain hospitals to participate in Medicare episode payment models (EPMs) for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), coronary artery bypass … Continue Reading

CMS Boosts Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Rates by $45 Million for FY 2018

CMS has published a notice with comment period updating prospective payment system (PPS) rates for Medicare services furnished by inpatient psychiatric facilities (IPFs) during fiscal year (FY) 2018.  CMS estimates that its policies will increase payments by $45 million (0.99%) compared to FY 2017 levels.  This increase is based on 1.25% payment rate update, offset … Continue Reading

CMS Again Extends HHA/Ambulance Enrollment Moratoria in Selected States to “Prevent and Combat Fraud, Waste, and Abuse”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has once again extended for six months its “temporary” moratoria on the Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) enrollment of new nonemergency ground ambulance suppliers and home health agencies (HHAs) in selected states, effective July 29, 2017. The moratoria on new HHA enrollment (including new … Continue Reading
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