Tag Archives: Medicare Part B Drugs

CMS Publishes Final CY 2019 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates and Policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its final Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the rule adopts changes to numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the final rule include the following: The final 2019 conversion factor … Continue Reading

Trump Administration International Pricing Index Plan for Medicare Part B Drugs:  Key Issues and Implications

The Trump Administration is considering a controversial plan, the International Pricing Index (IPI) model, which would tie Medicare Part B prescription drug payment rates to amounts paid for such drugs in other developed countries.  The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ proposed IPI model also would replace the current “buy and bill” system for Part … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes CY 2019 Medicare OPPS, ASC Update, with Emphasis on Promoting Site-Neutrality

CMS has issued its proposed rule to update Medicare Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) and Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment System rates and policies for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to providing routine annual updates, the proposed rule includes several provisions intended to encourage “site-neutral payments” for different types of providers.  CMS also … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes CY 2019 Update to Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Rates, Policies

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued its proposed Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2019.  In addition to updating rates for physician services, the sweeping rule proposes changes to numerous other Medicare Part B policies.  Highlights of the proposed rule include the following: CMS proposes a 2019 … Continue Reading

Trump Administration Releases Drug Pricing “Blueprint” and Request for Comments on Reducing Drug Costs

The Trump Administration has launched a high-profile initiative aimed at reducing prescription drug prices, including release of a blueprint containing a series of short- and long-term policy proposals and a request for public comments on additional reforms. First, on May 11, 2018 the Department of Health and Human Services released its “Blueprint to Lower Drug … Continue Reading

Trump Administration’s Proposed FY 2019 Budget Targets Medicare, Medicaid for Savings, Seeks (Again) to Repeal/Replace ACA

The Trump Administration has released its fiscal year (FY) 2019 budget proposal, which includes extensive health policy provisions. While most of the President’s policy proposals for Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) programs would require Congressional approval, others are characterized as administrative proposals that presumably would not involve Congress.… Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Update for 2018

Rule Would Delay Appropriate Use Criteria Requirement until 2019, Cut Rates for Off-Campus Hospital Departments The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has published its proposed rule to update the Medicare physician fee schedule (PFS) for calendar year (CY) 2018. The proposed rule addresses numerous Medicare policies, including:  implementation of appropriate use criteria (AUC) … Continue Reading

Medicare & Medicaid Remain Vulnerable to Fraud and Abuse, GAO Warns

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) is out with the latest installment of its “High-Risk Series,” which identifies federal programs “that are especially vulnerable to waste, fraud, abuse, and mismanagement, or that need transformative change.” Once again, GAO flags Medicare and Medicaid as high-risk programs. With regard to Medicare, GAO notes that while Congress, HHS, and … Continue Reading

Medicare, Medicaid Payment Policies, Fraud Authorities Enacted as Part of 21st Century Cures Act

Included in the 21st Century Cures Act are numerous changes to Medicare and Medicaid policies, including provisions with significant reimbursement impacts for certain types of Medicare providers and suppliers, along with changes intended to reduce the regulatory and administrative burdens associated with the use of electronic health records.  Furthermore, the law once again expands the … Continue Reading

GAO, OIG Issue Reports on Medicare Part B Drug Payment Issues

The HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) and the Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued several reports on various Medicare Part B drug reimbursement issues. In a report entitled “Medicare Part B: Data on Coupon Discounts Needed to Evaluate Methodology for Setting Drug Payment Rates,” the GAO assessed the impact of manufacturer coupon programs on … Continue Reading

OIG Highlights Varying Local Medicare Part B Drug Coverage Policies; Recommends Single Entity to Make Drug Coverage Determinations

The OIG has issued a report entitled “MACs Continue to Use Different Methods to Determine Drug Coverage,” which reviews how Medicare Administrative Contractors (MACs) make Medicare Part B drug coverage determinations and ensure that claims are paid according to these determinations. Based on the results of a survey of MACs regarding 2012 Part B drug … Continue Reading

GAO Calls For Mandatory Medicare Drug ASP Reporting, CMS Verification of Drug Pricing

A recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, “Medicare Part B: CMS Should Take Additional Steps to Verify Accuracy of Data Used to Set Payment Rates for Drugs,” questions the reliability of pricing for Medicare Part B drugs reimbursed based on average sales price (ASP). The GAO observes that while CMS performs various electronic checks of … Continue Reading

MedPAC Issues Recommendations on Medicare Drug, Post-Acute Care, and Other Payment Policies

MedPAC has released its June 2016 Report to the Congress on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. The report includes recommendations for a number of Medicare policy reforms and analyses of various health care market developments. Several chapters address Medicare drug policy, including a review of external factors that influence the prices Medicare pays … Continue Reading

Recent Congressional Health Policy Hearings

Recent Congressional hearings focusing on health policy topics include the following: House Energy and Commerce Committee hearings on HHS cybersecurity responsibilities, Medicare and Medicaid program integrity, the Administration’s proposed Medicare Part B drug payment model, and patient-focused health insurance reforms. House Ways and Means Committee hearings on implementation of the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization … Continue Reading

CMS Proposes Testing Medicare Part B Drug Payment Reforms to Promote Value

CMS has released a complex and controversial plan – the Part B Drug Payment Model — to test new Medicare payment methods for certain Part B drugs to determine whether alternative payment designs will reduce Medicare expenditures while preserving or enhancing the quality of care provided to Medicare beneficiaries. CMS suggests that the current Medicare … Continue Reading

Medicare and Medicaid Drug Policy Provisions in the Obama Administration’s Proposed FY 2017 Budget

The Obama Administration’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2017 budget, released on February 9, 2016, includes a number of legislative proposals that would revise Medicare and Medicaid policies to achieve budget savings and make other program reforms.  The largest pool of Medicare savings would result from various Medicare prescription drug proposals, including the following (all savings … Continue Reading

OIG Examines Medicare Part B Payments for 340B Purchased Drugs

A new OIG report reviews Medicare Part B spending on drugs purchased by eligible health care providers through the 340B drug discount program.  The OIG describes the report as “an independent analysis to inform the ongoing discussion” among policymakers about the nature of 340B discounts and whether statutory changes should be made to enable Medicare … Continue Reading

GAO Examines Trends in Medicare Part B Expenditures for New Drugs and Biologicals

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report describing trends in Medicare Part B spending and utilization for “new” drugs and biologicals (approved by the FDA from 2006 through 2013). The GAO’s analysis is based on 250 such drugs identified by the FDA, 83 of which had either an associated Medicare billing code or … Continue Reading

GAO Report Examines Hospital Financial Incentives to Prescribe 340B Drugs to Medicare Beneficiaries

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has issued a report examining financial and other characteristics of hospitals that participate in the 340B Drug Pricing Program, focusing on disproportionate share hospitals (DSH) that account for the majority of 340B Program discount drug purchases.  Based on a review of Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) data for 2008 … Continue Reading

MedPAC Report to Congress on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its June 2015 Report to the Congress on Medicare and the Health Care Delivery System. The report includes a series of recommendations on Medicare hospital short-stay policy, in response in part to hospital concerns about related Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) Program audits and appeals and the … Continue Reading
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