Tag Archives: Hospitals

CMS Clarifies Medicaid DSH Rules for Treatment of Third Party Payments in Calculating Uncompensated Care Costs

CMS has published a final rule intended to codify its existing interpretation of how third-party payments are considered in the calculation of Medicaid uncompensated care costs for the purpose of making Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments. Under the final rule, CMS specifies that uncompensated care costs for purposes of calculating hospital-specific DSH limits are … Continue Reading

Post-Acute Care Providers Targeted for Cuts in MedPAC’s Latest Report to Congress

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 … Continue Reading

OIG Report Cites Continuing Vulnerabilities Under Medicare’s 2-Midnight Policy

The Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued a report, “Vulnerabilities Remain Under Medicare’s 2-Midnight Hospital Policy,” which assessed changes in hospital inpatient and outpatient stays since implementation of the “2-midnight” policy. This policy generally provides that an inpatient stay generally requires at least two midnights … Continue Reading

CMS Issues Final Mandatory Episode Payment Models for Cardiac and Orthopedic Cases, Plus New Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive Payment Model and CJR Program Refinements

In the waning days of the Obama Administration, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled a lengthy and complex final rule to establish mandatory Medicare bundled payment programs for acute myocardial infarction (AMI), coronary artery bypass graft (CABG), and surgical hip/femur fracture treatment (SHFFT) procedures furnished in designated geographic areas.  The rule … Continue Reading

CMS Releases Standardized Hospital Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice Form

Hospitals are facing a March 8, 2017 deadline to begin using the new Medicare Outpatient Observation Notice (MOON) to inform Medicare beneficiaries when they are outpatients receiving observation services and not inpatients of the hospital.  The notice is required by the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (NOTICE Act). … Continue Reading

Court Orders HHS to Fix the Medicare Appeals Backlog by the End of 2020

Medicare providers with pending cases at the administrative law judge (“ALJ”) level received positive news last week as a federal judge for the United States District Court for the District of Columbia (the “Court”) granted summary judgment in favor of the American Hospital Association (“AHA”) in its case against the Secretary of the Department of … Continue Reading

CMS to Host Calls on Hospital Appeals Settlement Process (Nov. 16 & Dec. 12)

On November 16, 2016, CMS is hosting a call to provide an update on its latest plans to allow eligible providers to settle their inpatient status claims currently under appeal using the Hospital Appeals Settlement process. By way of background, this administrative settlement process will be available beginning December 1, 2016 for eligible hospitals that … Continue Reading

House Approves Medicare ESRD Coverage, Rural Hospital Supervision Bills

On September 21, 2016, the House of Representatives approved HR 5659, the Expanding Seniors Receiving Dialysis Choice Act of 2016, which would allow Medicare beneficiaries with end stage renal disease (ESRD) to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans beginning in 2020. The House also approved HR 5613, to prevent CMS from enforcing a Medicare requirement for … Continue Reading

CMS Ends Temporary Suspension of Hospital “Two-Midnight” Short Stay Reviews

CMS has announced that it is allowing Beneficiary and Family Centered Care (BFCC) Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) to resume initial patient status reviews to determine the appropriateness of Part A payment for short stay inpatient hospital claims, effective September 12, 2016.  Such reviews had been “paused” since May 4, 2016 to promote consistent application of … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Emergency Preparedness Requirements for Medicare/Medicaid Providers

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, … Continue Reading

OIG Cautions that States May Be Claiming Matching Funds for Privately-Operated Hospitals

The OIG has issued a memo to CMS suggesting that some states may be claiming matching funds for government-owned but privately-operated hospitals, where no state or local government funds are used to operate the hospital. The OIG suggests that CMS consider requiring that an entity be operated by a unit of government in order to … Continue Reading

GAO Faults CMS’s Basis for Payments to Hospitals for Uncompensated Care Costs

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently examined the extent to which federal government payments to hospitals for uncompensated care aligned with hospital costs. This federal support, which totaled nearly $50 billion annually in FYs 2013 and 2014, mainly came in the form of Medicare and Medicaid payments to hospitals (about $14 million in Medicare payments … Continue Reading

Ways and Means Approves Bill to Delay LTCH 25% Rule Implementation, Make Other LTCH Reforms

On July 13, 2016, the House Ways and Means Committee approved an amended version of H.R. 5713, the “Sustaining Healthcare Integrity and Fair Treatment Act of 2016” or “SHIFT Act.” The primary focus of the SHIFT Act is to delay further the full implementation of the “25 Percent Rule” for long-term acute care hospitals (“LTCHs”). … Continue Reading

CMS Update on Temporary “Two Midnight” QIO Review Pause

CMS has temporarily “paused” Beneficiary and Family Centered Care (BFCC) Quality Improvement Organizations’ (QIOs) performance of initial patient status reviews under CMS’s “two-midnight policy” for short hospital stays. The pause, which took effect May 4, 2016, was a result of inconsistencies in the BFCC-QIOs’ application of the two-midnight policy and was intended to give CMS … Continue Reading

House Approves “Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016”

The House of Representatives has approved H.R. 5273, the “Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016,” as amended by the Ways and Means Committee in May. As previously reported, while the bill focuses on Medicare payment policies pertaining to hospitals (including long term care hospitals and hospital outpatient departments), it also addresses Medicare Advantage … Continue Reading

Ways and Means Committee Approves Bill to Make Reforms to Medicare Hospital and Other Payment Policies

The House Ways and Means Committee has approved an amended version of H.R. 5273, the “Helping Hospitals Improve Patient Care Act of 2016.”  While most of the provisions address Medicare payment policies pertaining to hospitals (including long term care hospitals (LTCHs) and hospital outpatient departments), certain other reimbursement policies, including Medicare Advantage and physician payment … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Updated Fire Safety Standards for Health Care Facilities

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 … Continue Reading

MedPAC Releases Annual Recommendations to Congress on Medicare Policy

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

GAO Examines Hospital Challenges in Implementing Patient Safety Practices

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report focusing on the roadblocks hospitals face in implementing evidence-based patient safety practices, such as the use of antiseptics to reduce Central Line-Associated Bloodstream Infection or administration of anti-clotting medications to higher-risk patients to prevent venous thromboembolism. Based on a review of selected hospitals, the OIG found … Continue Reading

GAO Reviews Safeguards on State Supplemental Medicaid Payments to Hospitals

According to the GAO, 505 hospitals received Medicaid payment surpluses (payments that exceeded the costs of providing services) totaling about $2.7 billion in 2012, resulting in part from lump-sum supplemental payments hospitals above regular payments for individual services. The GAO has conducted a review of states’ basis for distributing these payments and how hospitals use … Continue Reading

Extensive Medicare & Medicaid Funding and Program Integrity Provisions in Obama’s Released FY 2017 Budget Proposal

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 opposition … Continue Reading

GAO Recommends Equalizing Payment for Evaluation & Management Visits

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report examining trends in “vertical consolidation” — hospital acquisition of physician practices or hiring of physicians as salaried employees – and the impact on Medicare spending. According to the GAO, the number of vertically consolidated hospitals increased from about 1,400 to 1,700 from 2007 through 2013, while … Continue Reading

CMS Publishes Proposed Rule on Hospital/HHA Discharge Planning Requirements

Today the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a proposed rule that would modify the discharge planning conditions of participation (COPs) for hospitals, including long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, critical access hospitals, and home health agencies (HHAs). The proposed rule would implement the discharge planning requirements of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute … Continue Reading
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