New minimum wage requirements have been signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom, establishing five comprehensive minimum wage schedules for “covered health care employees,” which includes both contracted and subcontracted employees. Effective June 1, 2024, “covered health care facilities” will be required to implement the applicable minimum wage schedule, as set forth by the law.
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…
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has finalized Medicare acute inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) rates and policies for fiscal year (FY) 2020, which begins October 1, 2019. Key provisions of the final rule are outlined below.
IPPS Payment Update
CMS projects total Medicare IPPS spending in FY 2020 will increase by about $3.8 billion under the final rule taking into account operating, capital, new technology, and low volume hospital payments. The IPPS market basket update is 3.0%, which is reduced by a 0.4 percentage point productivity adjustment and a +0.5 percentage point statutory adjustment. The final FY 2020 standardized amount is $6,263.74 for hospitals that submit quality data and are meaningful electronic health record (EHR) users, with reduced payment to hospitals that do not report quality data and/or are not meaningful EHR users. Specific hospital payments can be impacted by other factors, including penalties for excess readmissions under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, poor performance under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, and adjustments under the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program.
Promoting Access to Innovative Devices and Antimicrobial Products
CMS adopted several policies intended to improve beneficiary access to innovative medical technologies in the IPPS setting for FY 2020.
- CMS adopted an alternative IPPS new technology add-on payment (NTAP) pathway for certain “transformative” medical devices beginning in FY 2021. Specifically, if a new medical device is part of the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) Breakthrough Devices Program and receives FDA marketing authorization, the device would be considered new for NTAP purposes and it would not need to demonstrate substantial clinical improvement (SCI). In other words, the device would only need to meet the NTAP cost criterion
- In response to comments, CMS extended the alternative NTAP pathway to antimicrobial products designated by the FDA as a Qualified Infectious Disease Product (QIDP), but not to technologies approved under an FDA expedited program for drugs.
- CMS adopted its proposed increase in NTAP payments for discharges beginning on or after October 1, 2019. Specifically, CMS is increasing the NTAP payment to the lesser of: (1) 65% (up from 50%) of the costs of the new medical service or technology; or (2) 65% (rather than 50%) of the amount by which the costs of the case exceed the standard DRG payment. In the case of a QIDP, the NTAP amount rises to 75%.
- CMS clarified the SCI criterion for evaluating NTAP applications and provided examples of information sources and outcomes that may be used to demonstrate SCI. CMS will continue to consider comments received on the proposed rule’s solicitation of input on longer-term changes to related CMS policies.
Note that CMS also has proposed similar proposals to promote innovative medical technologies as part of the pending calendar year 2020 Medicare hospital outpatient PPS proposed rule.
Continue Reading CMS Issues Final FY 2020 Medicare IPPS/LTCH Update, Including New Medical Device Technology Policies
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its proposed rule to update the Medicare acute inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2020. Notably, the proposed rule includes a number of provisions that aim to “unleash medical innovation” by…
Representatives Jackie Speier (D-California) and Dina Titus (D-Nevada) have introduced HR 2143, the Promoting Integrity in Medicare Act of 2019 (PIMA), which – if enacted – would narrow the “Stark” law’s exceptions and have a direct impact on the services provided by physicians who self-refer for the performance of certain designated health services. The 2019…
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its proposed rule to update the Medicare inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) prospective payment system (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2020. CMS projects that IRF PPS payments would rise by $195 million under the proposed rule. Specifically, CMS proposes a 2.5% increase factor, based on an…
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…
CMS has published its final rule to update the Medicare acute hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2018.
Acute Hospital Rate & Policy Updates
CMS projects that the rate and policy changes in the rule will increase total IPPS payments by about $2.4 billion in FY 2018 compared to FY 2017 levels. Rate adjustments in the rule include: a 2.7 market basket update reduced by a -0.6% multifactor productivity adjustment and a 0.75% cut mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA); a -0.6% adjustment related to the 2017 two midnight policy; and a +0.4588% documentation and coding adjustment under the 21st Century Cures Act. CMS also made changes to uncompensated care payments that are expected to increase IPPS operating payments by another 0.8%.
Actual updates to a hospital depend on several quality-related adjustments. The potential updates to standardized amounts for FY 2018 range from a high of 1.35% for a hospital that submits quality data under the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) Program and is a meaningful Electronic Health Record (EHR) user, to a low of -1.35% for a hospital that does not submit quality data and is not a meaningful EHR user. Specific hospital payments also can be impacted by other factors, including penalties for excess readmissions under the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), poor performance under the Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, and bonuses and penalties under the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program. For instance, CMS estimates that 2,577 hospitals will have their base operating MS-DRG payments reduced under the HRRP program in FY 2018, saving approximately $556 million in FY 2018. The final rule also updates these hospital quality programs, including revisions to HRRP policies to account for a hospital’s proportion of patients who are dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid (as a proxy for socio-economic status), applicable to discharges beginning in FY 2019.
Continue Reading CMS Finalizes IPPS/LTCH Payment and Policy Changes for FY 2018
CMS has finalized Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) rates for inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) services for fiscal year (FY) 2018, which begins October 1, 2017. CMS estimates that IRF PPS payments will increase by 0.9% overall ($75 million) under the final rule compared to FY 2017 levels. As mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP…
CMS has published a proposed rule to establish FY 2018 Medicare prospective payment system (PPS) rates for inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) services. CMS estimates that IRF PPS payments would increase by 1.0% overall ($80 million) under the proposed rule compared to FY 2017 levels. As mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of …
CMS has published its proposed rule to update the Medicare acute hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2018. CMS also solicits public comments on a range of policy issues related to physician-owned hospitals, inpatient and outpatient payment differentials for similar services, and ways to reduce the regulatory burden for providers and promote high quality care, as discussed below.
Acute Hospital Rate Update. With regard to the IPPS, CMS projects that the cumulative rate and policy changes in the proposed rule would increase total IPPS payments by about $3.1 billion in FY 2018 compared to FY 2017 levels. Rate changes would result from a number of adjustments, including: a 2.9% market basket update reduced by a -0.4% multifactor productivity adjustment and a 0.75% cut mandated by the Affordable Care Act (ACA); a -0.6% adjustment related to the two midnight policy; and a +0.4588% increase to adjust for documentation and coding under the 21st Century Cures Act. CMS also proposed changes in uncompensated care payments that are expected to increase IPPS operating payments by another 1.2%.
Continue Reading CMS Proposes IPPS/LTCH Payment and Policy Changes for FY 2018; Requests Comments on Broader Policy Issues
Observers are digesting what the Trump Administration will mean for the health care and life sciences industry. Forecasting is more challenging for this incoming Administration than most given the relatively sparse policy details released during the campaign and the lack of a government service record to examine for clues. Today President-elect Trump’s transition team released a one-page statement on health care policy, but many questions remain. Nevertheless, we offer below our initial observations and issues to watch in the months to come.
- Potential Sea Change. Uncertainty is, as some like to say, the “obvious comment” that characterizes the whole prospective Trump Administration. Other than an intended “repeal and replacement” of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), President-elect Trump has provided relatively few details on a proposed health care agenda. Until these policies are fleshed-out, expect an environment where some business decisions and investments may be delayed, with a resulting impact on merger and acquisition activity. That said, other transactions may become more likely, as the threat of new restrictions under a Clinton administration are removed, along with the prospect of potential regulatory relief under a Republican-controlled federal government.
- Affordable Care Act Repeal and Replacement. Trump has repeatedly indicated his desire to repeal and replace the ACA, including a vow to summon Congress into a special session for this task. If the law is repealed, however, what would take its place, and how would Congress address the roughly 20 million Americans currently covered in some way under the ACA (and the potential rise in uncompensated care costs that also would result)? Despite the call for repeal, certain parts of the law are popular. For instance, President-elect Trump noted on the campaign trail that he was in support of the ACA’s prohibition against the use of pre-existing health conditions to deny coverage (or as a basis for premium-setting). Other proposals offered by Trump as candidate include allowing for the sale of health insurance across state lines as long as plans comply with state requirements, various tax benefits, and more transparency in health care pricing. In today’s policy statement, President-elect Trump added support for high-risk pools, which he characterizes as “a proven approach to ensuring access to health insurance coverage for individuals who have significant medical expenses and who have not maintained continuous coverage.” Congressional Republicans have offered a number of alternatives that are likely to be a springboard for reform, most notably the “Better Way” plan proposed by House Speaker Paul Ryan. In fact, according to the Speaker’s office, “in the 114th Congress alone, House Republicans have introduced more than 400 individual bills that would improve our nation’s health care system” – demonstrating that Congress is not reticent about legislating on health care issues. The new Senate’s Republican majority will not have the 60 votes required to override a potential Democratic filibuster of legislation to fully repeal the law. While Congress could use budget reconciliation authority (which requires only 50 votes in the Senate) to make significant changes, the drawn-out pace of the budget process may not satisfy those who want quick action in this area. Regardless of the legislative vehicle, after years of calling for Obamacare repeal while President Obama was in office, the Republican Congress will be under tremendous pressure to act quickly – even if it is a “down-payment” on reform — now that Republicans will control the presidency and the Congress.
Temporary Transition Policies Reduce Threat of Negative Adjustments in 2019, But Adds to Complexity
On November 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is publishing a sweeping final rule reforming the Medicare physician fee schedule (MPFS) update framework, as mandated by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). …
On February 9, 2016, the Obama Administration released its proposed fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget, which contains significant Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement and program integrity legislative proposals – including $419 billion in Medicare savings over 10 years. These proposed policy changes would require action by Congress, and Republican Congressional leaders have already voiced general…
On July 31, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a major final rule to update the Medicare acute hospital inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and the long-term care hospital prospective payment system (LTCH PPS) for fiscal year (FY) 2016. The official version of the rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 17, 2015, and generally applies to discharges occurring on or after October 1, 2015. With regard to the IPPS, CMS projects that the rate and policy changes in the final rule will increase IPPS operating payments by approximately 0.4%, or about $378 million in FY 2016. The rule provide a 0.9% operating payment rate update for hospitals that submit quality data and are meaningful users of Electronic Health Records (EHR). This update reflects a 2.4% market basket update, adjusted by a -0.5 percentage point multi-factor productivity (MFP) cut and an additional -0.2 percentage point cut (as mandated by the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), with an additional -0.8 percentage point documentation and coding recoupment adjustment required by the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012.
Continue Reading CMS Issues Final FY 2016 Medicare IPPS/LTCH Rule
Today President Obama signed into law H.R. 2, the “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015” (MACRA), which reforms Medicare payment policy for physician services and adopts a series of policy changes affecting a wide range of providers and suppliers. Most notably, MACRA permanently repeals the statutory Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, achieving a goal that has eluded Congress for years. Now, after a period of stable payment updates, MACRA will link physician payment updates to quality, value measurements, and participation in alternative payment models.
Continue Reading President Obama Signs MACRA: Permanently Reforms Medicare Physician Reimbursement Framework, Includes Other Health Policy Provisions
Medicare suppliers of durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics, and supplies (DMEPOS) should be on the alert for enhanced Medicare supplier standard compliance monitoring by CMS, the National Supplier Clearinghouse (NSC), and their agents. Recently, these entities have taken draconian actions to revoke the enrollment of a number of suppliers who failed to be present during indicated hours of operation. Recent Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) decisions have upheld such revocations for technical violation of the Medicare supplier standard, even in the face of extenuating circumstances, reinforcing the need for suppliers to review their practices and policies to ensure full compliance.
Continue Reading Is anybody home? Medicare contractors on the prowl for DMEPOS supplier violations of posted business hours and other physical facility standards.
On April 1, 2014, President Obama signed into law H.R. 4302, the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014” (“the Act”). The Act includes a one-year Medicare physician fee schedule fix that averts a nearly 24 percent payment cut set for April 1, 2014, but which falls far short of earlier hopes for full repeal of the current sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. The Act also includes numerous other Medicare payment and policy changes, including skilled nursing facility value-based purchasing provisions, reforms to the physician fee schedule relative valuation process, a new framework for clinical laboratory payments, a variety of changes impacting imaging services, changes in the exceptions for long term care hospitals, and extension of certain expiring provisions. In other areas, the bill includes a one-year delay in the transition to ICD-10, changes to the timetable for Medicaid disproportionate share hospital cuts, and “front-loading” of the 2024 Medicare sequestration reduction.
Continue Reading President Signs Medicare Physician Fee Schedule/SGR Patch with Numerous Health Policy Provisions
On December 26, 2013, President Obama signed into law H.J. Res. 59, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, which includes the Pathway for SGR Reform Act of 2013 (“the Act”). In addition to establishing federal budget targets for fiscal years (FYs) 2014 and 2015, the Act includes a number of provisions impacting the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Most notably, the Act provides a short-term reprieve from a looming Medicare physician fee schedule cut while lawmakers work to finalize a longer-term solution. It also extends Medicare provider payment cuts under existing sequestration authority for two years and makes a variety of other policy changes. The Act’s major Medicare and Medicaid provisions are summarized in our full post.
Continue Reading President Signs 2-Year Funding Bill with Medicare SGR Patch, Sequestration Extension for Medicare Providers
This post was also written by Rachel Golick.
On August 19, 2013, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the FY 2014 Medicare payment policies and rates under the acute inpatient prospective payment system (IPPS) and the long-term care hospital (LTCH) prospective payment system (PPS) (Final Rule) which, among other changes, updates…