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Showing 5 posts tagged Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”).

Malnutrition Diagnosis Codes: The Compliance Danger You’re Not Taking Seriously Enough

It may seem like hair-splitting, but including the wrong diagnostic codes for malnutrition on hospital inpatient claims – using codes for severe malnutrition in place of other forms of malnutrition – is a costly mistake. The estimated overpayment as a result of these coding errors is a reported $1 billion. Because the payment error rate was so high at a colossal 31%, Medicare-Severity Diagnosis Related Group ("MS-DRG") applicable entities must take note and prepare for a marked increase in Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General ("OIG") audits for these coding practices. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") also plans to implement review practices for malnutrition coding on a sample of inpatient claims. The increased payer audits will result in severe financial damage for hospitals and other MS-DRG applicable entities if they do not mitigate coding and documentation risks. More >

Alert: Rural Health Clinics - Your COVID-19 Testing Program Report is Due NOW!

While the extra health care dollars distributed by HHS for coronavirus testing were well received by rural health clinics and other providers, those funds come with important reporting requirements that take effect immediately.  The Department of Health and Human Services’ funding initiative of $225 million for rural health clinics’ coronavirus testing efforts, known as the Rural Testing Relief Fund or Rural Health Clinic (“RHC”) COVID-19 Testing Program, is no exception to such requirements. These reporting requirements as well as the others for state and federal health care dollars related to the pandemic should be carefully followed as the HHS Inspector General and the Department of Justice are already investigating to ferret out misuse, fraud, waste, and abuse of these funds.   More >

Getting Long-Term Lost with Compliance for Long Term Care? OIG Has A Roadmap

Long Term Care (“LTC”) facilities have been a renewed area of focus for regulators in recent years, due to changes in Medicare and the potential for harm to a vulnerable population at the hands of bad actors. In April of 2019, for instance, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) put out a Data Brief with the ominous headline, “Trends in Deficiencies at Nursing Homes Show That Improvements Are Needed To Ensure the Health and Safety of Residents.” Unfortunately, this renewed focus exponentially increases the need for a push to instill compliance as a key tenet of a facility’s culture. Luckily, in 2000 and again in 2008, the OIG released a very clear roadmap for compliance that’s still reliable today. We’ll hit some of the highlights. More >

A New Opportunity: Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Recognizes the Full Potential of Ambulance Crews and Services

In mid-February 2019, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”), Innovation Center and the Department for Health and Human Services (“HHS”) announced a ground-breaking payment and medical services initiative for ambulance providers called “Emergency Triage, Treat and Transport” (the “ET3”). This new model is the first step in allowing providers of Emergency Medical Services to finally “take off the gloves” to fully utilize both their medical skills and unique patient knowledge to implement a more efficient and effective care model. More >

HHS Finalizes Exception to HIPAA Privacy Rule for Firearm Background Checks

In January of 2016, the Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) issued a final rule modifying the HIPAA Privacy Rule.[1] This modification allows certain covered entities to disclose the identities of certain individuals to the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (“NICS”), a database maintained by the FBI. The information disclosed by the entities would pertain to an individual’s mental health, preventing those subject to a federal “mental health prohibitor” from possessing or receiving a firearm. Such a disclosure naturally creates a tension in the patient-provider relationship, however, and critics contend it could potentially discourage mentally ill individuals from seeking treatment.


[1] 45 C.F.R. §164 (2016) More >

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