ambulatory surgical centers

On May 3, 2021, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published an 81-page final rule to both extend and change the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model. We previously reported on the proposed rule here. The CJR model was initially implemented by way of notice-and-comment rulemaking in April 2016; the recent

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued an “omnibus burden reduction” rule that finalizes a September 20, 2018 proposed rule intended to streamline various Medicare and Medicaid regulatory requirements, in alignment with the Administration’s “Patients over Paperwork” initiative.  The omnibus regulation also finalizes a November 4, 2016 proposed rule on

CMS has issued a proposed rule intended streamline the Medicare and Medicaid regulatory burden on numerous types of providers and suppliers.  CMS generally classifies the proposals as falling into the following categories:  (1) those that simplify and streamline processes, (2) those that reduce the frequency of activities and revise timelines, and (3) those that address

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has issued its annual recommendations to Congress on updates to Medicare fee-for-service payment system rates, many of which overlap recommendations made in previous years. For instance, MedPAC continues to call for implementation of a unified prospective payment system (PPS) for post-acute care (PAC) providers, including skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), home health agencies (HHAs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs), and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs), to be implemented beginning in 2021.  In the latest report, MedPAC recommends that Congress direct the Secretary of Health and Human Services to begin blending the relative weights of the setting-specific payment systems and the unified PAC PPS in 2019.  At the same time, MedPAC recommends that Congress modify the updates for the individual PAC systems by:

  • Reducing home health payment rates by 5% in 2019, rebasing payments beginning in 2020, and eliminating the use of the number of HHA therapy visits as a factor in payment determinations.
  • Reducing Medicare IRF PPS rates by 5% for FY 2019.
  • Eliminating the LTCH PPS update for FY 2019.
  • Eliminating SNF PPS market basket increases for fiscal years (FYs) 2019 and 2020, and implementing previous recommendations to reform SNF PPS payments in a way that shifts payments to medically-complex stays. MedPAC notes that it has endorsed SNF PPS reforms since 2008, and it “has grown increasingly frustrated with the lack of statutory and regulatory actions to lower the level of payments and implement a revised payment system.”

MedPAC also includes detailed discussions of Medicare payment for physician and other health professional services. MedPAC recommends increasing physician fee schedule rates in 2019 by the amount specified in current law (0.25%). MedPAC also offers extensive recommendations for revising the framework for updating Medicare physician payments established by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). Most notably, MedPAC recommends eliminating the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and adopting a new voluntary value program under which: (1) clinicians can elect to be measured as part of a voluntary group; and (2) clinicians in voluntary groups can qualify for a value payment based on their group’s performance on a set of population-based measures. Additionally, MedPAC presents the findings of its Congressionally-mandated report on coverage of telehealth services.

With regard to other Medicare fee-for-service payment systems, MedPAC recommends:
Continue Reading MedPAC Calls for Medicare Post-Acute Care and Physician Payment Reforms, Recommends Medicare Payment Updates

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released recommendations to Congress regarding how Medicare fee-for-service payment system rates should be adjusted in 2018. One of the focus areas for MedPAC is post-acute care (PAC), which includes skilled nursing facility (SNF), home health agency (HHA), inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF), and long-term care hospital (LTCH) services.  According to MedPAC, the “unnecessarily high level of spending and the inequity of payments across different types of patients” necessitate changes to both payment levels and overall system design.  MedPAC therefore reiterates its previous recommendation for a uniform Medicare PAC prospective payment system (PPS) that bases payments on patient characteristics; MedPAC believes that transition to the PAC PPS could begin as early as 2021. In the meantime, MedPAC recommends that Congress:
Continue Reading Post-Acute Care Providers Targeted for Cuts in MedPAC’s Latest Report to Congress

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a long-awaited final rule establishing emergency preparedness requirements for Medicare- and Medicaid-participating providers and suppliers to ensure that they can meet the needs of patients and residents during emergency situations, both natural and man-made. According to CMS, the final requirements “establish a comprehensive, consistent, flexible, and dynamic regulatory approach to emergency preparedness and response that incorporates the lessons learned from the past, combined with the proven best practices of the present.”  CMS projects that compliance with the rule will cost $373 million in the first year, with subsequent annual costs of approximately $25 million.

The new requirements apply to 17 provider types (with certain variations): hospitals; critical access hospitals (CAHs); long-term care (LTC) facilities; psychiatric residential treatment facilities; intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities; religious nonmedical health care institutions; transplant centers; hospices; ambulatory surgical centers; Program for the All-inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE) organizations; home health agencies; comprehensive outpatient rehabilitation facilities; community mental health centers; organ procurement organizations; clinics, rehabilitation, and therapy providers; rural health clinics/federally qualified health clinics; and end-stage renal disease providers.

The sweeping final rule (the advance version spans 651 pages) covers four aspects of emergency preparedness:
Continue Reading CMS Finalizes Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare/Medicaid Providers

On May 4, 2016, CMS is publishing a final rule amending fire safety standards applicable to the following types of Medicare- and Medicaid-participating health care facilities: hospitals, critical access hospitals, long-term care facilities, intermediate care facilities for individuals with intellectual disabilities (ICF-IIDs), ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), hospices that provide inpatient services, religious nonmedical health care institutions, and programs of all-inclusive care for the elderly facilities.  As part of this significant update to the current standards, CMS is adopting the National Fire Protection Association’s (NFPA) 2012 edition of the Life Safety Code (LSC) and provisions of the 2012 edition of the NFPA Health Care Facilities Code.  In addition to promoting patient safety and health, CMS contends that “adopting the 2012 LSC would simplify and modernize the construction and renovation process for affected health care providers and suppliers, reduce compliance-related burdens, and allow for more resources to be used for patient care.”  Nevertheless, CMS estimates that the rule will cost $95 million over 12 years, with $18 million in costs during the first year of implementation, $12 million annually for years 2 and 3 of implementation, and $6 million annually for years 4-12.  The greatest costs are associated with a requirement that high-rise buildings containing health care occupancies to be protected by automatic sprinkler systems; facilities that are not already required to do so will have 12 years from publication to comply with this requirement.

The rule addresses numerous other fire/health safety requirements, including the following:

Continue Reading CMS Finalizes Updated Fire Safety Standards for Health Care Facilities

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its annual recommendations to Congress on Medicare policies, including Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payment updates and a status report on the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs.  The following are highlights of the recommendations for 2017 (some of which were recommended previously):
Continue Reading MedPAC Releases Annual Recommendations to Congress on Medicare Policy

On July 8, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its proposed rule to update the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year (CY) 2016.  Perhaps most notably, CMS is proposing a -0.1% OPPS update for 2016, driven mainly by a proposed correction of a $1 billion error the agency made when estimating the extent to which clinical laboratory tests would be packaged (rather than paid separately) under a new policy implemented in 2014. Specifically, the proposed -0.1% update reflects a 2.7% market basket increase, which is partially offset by a -0.6% multifactor productivity (MFP) adjustment and an additional 0.2% reduction (both mandated by the Affordable Care Act), further reduced by a -2.0 percentage point adjustment to recoup the prior $1 billion overestimation of laboratory test packaging. CMS expects that overall OPPS payments under the proposed rule would fall by 0.2%, or $43 million, compared with 2015 levels. Hospitals that fail to meet the Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting (OQR) Program reporting requirements are subject to an additional reduction of 2.0 percentage points. The actual update for individual procedures can vary dramatically, however. Other highlights of the proposed rule include the following:
Continue Reading CMS Proposes $43 Million CY 2016 Medicare OPPS Rate Cut; Small Increase in ASC Payments

CMS recently sent several major proposed Medicare CY 2016 payment rules to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for regulatory clearance – the last step before publication in the Federal Register. Specifically, OMB is reviewing proposed rules to update the Medicare physician fee schedule, the hospital outpatient PPS/ambulatory surgical center payment

The House of Representatives has taken action on a number of bills to modify certain Affordable Care Act (ACA) provisions, revise Medicare Advantage policies, and make other health policy changes.

On June 23, 2015, the House voted to approve H.R. 1190, a bill to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB), by a vote of 244 to 154. The IPAB was established by the ACA to submit Medicare spending plans to Congress if projected spending growth exceeds specified targets. Under the ACA, future IPAB’s proposals would go into effect automatically unless Congress enacts alternative legislation achieving required savings levels. IPAB members have not been appointed, and the spending trigger for IPAB recommendations has not yet been reached. The Administration has expressed its opposition to the bill, noting that while the IPAB “is not projected to be needed now or for a number of years given recent exceptionally slow growth in health care costs, it could serve a valuable role should rapid growth in health costs return.”

This action follows House approval last week of H.R. 160, a bill to repeal the ACA medical device tax, applicable to sales in calendar quarters beginning after the date of enactment. The Administration also opposes enactment of this legislation on grounds that it would increase the deficit. In other action, the House also approved the following health policy bills last week:

Continue Reading House Passes Bills to Repeal ACA Medical Device Tax and IPAB, Revise Medicare Advantage Policy

On February 26, 2015, the House Ways and Means Committee is scheduled to vote on the following bills:

  • H.R. 1021, “Protecting the Integrity of Medicare Act of 2015” – a sweeping bill to promote Medicare program integrity and efficiency. Among many other things, the bill would: eliminate civil money penalties for inducements to physicians to

Today CMS published a notice correcting its November 10, 2014 final rule updating the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year 2015. In addition to fixing various technical errors (e.g., status indicator and addenda corrections for specific codes), the notice increases

On December 12, 2014, CMS published a proposed rule to revise selected conditions of participation (CoPs) for providers, conditions for coverage (CfCs) for suppliers, and requirements for long-term care (LTC) facilities to conform with the Supreme Court decision in United States v. Windsor, and ensure that same-sex spouses in legally-valid marriages are recognized and

CMS is expected to publish several major final Medicare payment rules for 2015 in the coming days. The agency has already submitted to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for regulatory clearance the final 2015 rules updating Medicare payments for outpatient hospitals, ambulatory surgical centers, home health agencies, and end-stage renal disease

On July 14, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published its proposed rule to update the Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year (CY) 2015. The following are highlights of this major rulemaking:

Continue Reading CMS Issues Proposed CY 2015 Medicare OPPS/ASC Rule

On May 12, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule that reforms federal health policy regulations that CMS has identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on health care providers and suppliers. The rule also is intended to eliminate or reduce requirements that impede quality patient care or that divert resources away from providing high quality patient care. CMS estimates that the rule will result in annual recurring savings of about $660 million, plus a $22 million one-time savings to long-term care facilities from a sprinkler deadline extension. Highlights of the wide-ranging rule include the following:
Continue Reading CMS Adopts Final Rule to Reduce Provider Regulatory Burdens

This post was written by Paul Pitts and Thomas Greeson.

CMS has put on display a final rule that reforms Medicare regulations that CMS has identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on health care providers and suppliers. Two provisions address imaging services offered in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs) and hospitals.

Supervision of

On April 16, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would amend fire safety standards applicable to the following types of Medicare- and Medicaid-participating health care facilities: hospitals, critical access hospitals, long-term care facilities (skilled nursing facilities, nursing facilities, and distinct part skilled nursing facilities or nursing facilities),