In its February 14, 2022 advisory opinion the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) allowed a Home Health Agency (HHA), that predominantly serves Medicaid eligible children, to pay the nurse certification program tuition costs for new employees seeking to work as certified nurse aides (CNAs). According to OIG, the tuition payments are permissible under the bona fide employee safe harbor.

The Anti-Kickback statute prohibits a person from knowingly and willfully offering, soliciting or receiving any remuneration, directly or indirectly, overtly or covertly, in cash or in kind, in exchange for or to induce the referral of any item or services covered by a federal health care program. However, the statute includes exemptions for certain situations, one of which involves certain payments to bona fide employees.

In this case, the OIG stated that it would not seek enforcement under the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or the Beneficiary Inducements Civil Monetary Penalty Statute as the arrangement to pay the tuition costs would not be deemed prohibited remuneration under either law. However, the advisory opinion was warranted as the tuition program had the added wrinkle of potentially being a benefit to the relatives of medically fragile children using the HHA’s services and charging those services to Medicaid.
Continue Reading OIG permits home health agency to pay nurse aide certification tuition costs

In the first advisory opinion of 2022, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General (OIG) allowed Medicaid beneficiaries to qualify for a benefit available to low-income individuals, even though the arrangement would not qualify as a “retailer reward.”

The OIG stated it would not seek enforcement of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute or the Beneficiary Inducements Civil Monetary Penalty Statute (CMP Law) for an arrangement proposed by a web-based retailer that that sells a wide variety of consumer goods and services, and that offers fee-based membership programs with a number of benefits, including pharmacy-related benefits.

The retailer requested an advisory opinion from OIG to allow individuals to use Medicaid enrollment to qualify as eligible for participation in the discount programs that provided certain expedited free shipping, and discounts on food and grocery items. In issuing a favorable advisory opinion, OIG determined that allowing individuals to use their Medicaid enrollment status as a qualification presented a minimal risk of fraud and abuse to federal health programs.

Continue Reading OIG permits retailer to use Medicaid enrollment as qualification for discount program

On January 28, 2021, the White House issued President Biden’s Executive Order on Strengthening Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act (the “Executive Order”), which seeks to increase access to affordable health insurance and strengthen Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, particularly in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  In addition to this Executive Order, the

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

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

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced a controversial plan to allow states to apply to participate in a new Medicaid “Healthy Adult Opportunity” (HAO) Demonstration.  In short, the HAO Demonstration will give participating states greater flexibility in the scope and administration of Medicaid benefits for certain beneficiary populations (i.e., the Affordable

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a Request for Information (RFI) on how the Medicaid program can incorporate out-of-state providers in coordinating care for children with certain medically complex conditions under Medicaid.  The RFI is intended to help CMS implement a provision of the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of

President Trump has signed into law a short-term continuing resolution that funds the federal government and extends certain expiring health care programs through December 20, 2019.  With regard to health care programs, the measure (HR 3055) delays a scheduled $4 billion reduction in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital allotments until December 21, 2019 and

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has proposed rescinding current procedural standards that must be met for states to demonstrate that Medicaid fee-for-service (FFS) payments are sufficient to assure beneficiary access to covered services.

As we previously reported, regulations adopted in 2015 require states to establish and periodically update access monitoring review

The House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved H.R. 3253, the Empowering Beneficiaries, Ensuring Access, and Strengthening Accountability Act, which would finance extension of various Medicaid-related health programs by increasing manufacturer Medicaid drug rebate obligations.  In terms of health programs, the legislation also would, among other things:

  • Extend the “Money Follows The Person Rebalancing Demonstration”

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a draft guidance for state survey agencies on May 3, 2019, impacting hospitals that share space, staff, and/or services with another co-located hospital or health care entity. The draft builds on informally followed principles by CMS employees which emphasized that certain payment rules, like those for

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is revoking the authority of states to “divert” certain Medicaid provider payments to a third party (rather than make the payment directly to the provider) to fund other costs on behalf of the provider “for benefits  such as health insurance, skills training, and other benefits customary for

The House and Senate have both approved H.R. 1839, the Medicaid Services Investment and Accountability Act of 2019, clearing it for President Trump’s signature.  Notably, the legislation would: subject drug manufacturers to a new civil monetary penalty (CMP) for knowingly misclassifying or misreporting covered outpatient drugs under a Medicaid drug rebate agreement (such as by knowingly submitting incorrect drug product information).  The penalty would equal up to two times the difference between the rebate amount the manufacturer paid and the amount the manufacturer would have paid if the drug had been correctly classified.  The CMP would be imposed in addition to any other penalties or recoveries.  Furthermore, the legislation would strengthen requirements for recovery of unpaid rebate amounts, without regard to whether the manufacturer knowingly made the misclassification or should have known that the misclassification would be made, and it dedicates funding to improve oversight and enforcement of drug rebate obligation compliance.  These provisions would take effect on the date of enactment, and would apply to covered outpatient drugs supplied by manufacturers under rebate agreements on or after the enactment date.

The bill also would:
Continue Reading Medicaid Legislation with Medicaid Rebate Misclassification Penalty Heads to President Trump

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is proposing to rescind the authority of states to make Medicaid payments to a third party on behalf of an individual provider, rather than directly to the provider, “for benefits such as health insurance, skills training, and other benefits customary for employees,” under certain circumstances.  This authority,

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

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission’s (MACPAC) March 2018 Report to Congress examines three aspects of Medicaid policy:  managed care, telehealth, and disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments.  First, MACPAC proposes statutory changes to allow states to require all beneficiaries to enroll in Medicaid managed care programs, along with changes to Section 1915(b) waiver

CMS has announced a new initiative allowing states to propose demonstrations to “improve Medicaid enrollee health and well-being through incentivizing work and community engagement.” Specifically, states may propose Section 1115 waivers to make participation in work or other community engagement a requirement for continued Medicaid eligibility or coverage for non-elderly, non-pregnant adult Medicaid beneficiaries who

CMS is hosting a call on January 23, 2018 to brief state Medicaid agencies, Medicaid providers, managed care organizations, and other Medicaid stakeholders about the new Medicare card project. Under this initiative, CMS is moving away from Social Security Number-based Health Insurance Claim Numbers to new Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs).

1/22 update:  this call

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