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Showing 15 posts tagged Medicare.

OIG and CMS Audits Present New Round of Compliance Concerns for Healthcare Providers

Since the beginning of the Public Health Emergency, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”) data reflect over 44 million COVID-19 cases, 3 million COVID-19 related hospitalizations, and 720,000 COVID-19 deaths. COVID-19 has placed enormous stress on our healthcare system. Federal and state responses to COVID-19 have woven a complex and complicated safety net by easing regulatory requirements through waivers and funneling billions of dollars to providers among many other actions.  Just as the pandemic may finally be easing, federal focus on use of COVID-19 resources promises to increase healthcare providers’ stress.  More >

Policy Reversal Means Return of Per Day Fines for Nursing Homes

On July 19, 2021, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) rescinded a guidance issued in 2017 that significantly limited the discretion of CMS Locations to impose substantial fines for noncompliance. (For reference, the 2017 Guidance can be found here. The accompanying CMP Analytic Tool can be found here.)  More >

Healthcare Providers Take Notice: AMA Updates E/M Codes for 2021

In addition to staying up to date on the constantly changing landscape of COVID-19 requirements, healthcare providers must also stay well-informed of industry changes unrelated to the pandemic. On January 1, 2021, changes in Evaluation and Management (‘E/M’) codes for physicians took effect. These changes, proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (‘CMS’), primarily impact 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (‘MPFS’) reimbursements. More >

A Christmas Miracle! Congress Agrees on a New Coronavirus Relief Bill

After nine months of negotiations and stalemates, Congress finally reached an agreement for a $900 billion relief package on December 20, 2020. Included are many familiar provisions from the March CARES Act, with a particular emphasis on small business benefits and relief for health care providers. More >

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 >

CMS Expands Accelerated and Advance Payment Program for COVID-19 Emergency

As part of the CARES Act, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has expanded the Accelerated and Advance Payment Program to a larger group of Part A providers and Part B suppliers. The full fact sheet on the expansion is available from CMS here, but we’ve summarized the significant points below. More >

Coronavirus: Section 1135 Waivers Bring Relief to Healthcare Providers

Invoking powers under the National Emergency Act and the Stafford Act on March 13, 2020, the President declared a national emergency, which, in turn, authorized the Secretary of Health and Human Services to waive conditions of participation requirements for payment for healthcare providers through waivers provided under Section 1135 of the Social Security Act.  The 1135 waivers do not replace 1115 waivers that require states to individually submit requests for waiver of selected Medicaid requirements, but the 1135 waivers are designed to temporarily give healthcare providers more flexibility in providing services during the pandemic crisis. The 1135 waiver is very helpful but does not address all situations or answer all questions, and it creates ambiguity in certain circumstances.   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 >

Expanded Certificate of Need Exemptions Poised to Grow Healthcare Industry

In recent months, the Commonwealth of Kentucky has begun to amend the Kentucky Administrative Regulations and the Kentucky Revised Statutes, aiming to deregulate certain healthcare facilities and services to promote growth and expansion of healthcare services to Kentuckians. Kentucky’s ability to regulate the growth of its healthcare industry is based, in part, on the State Health Plan, the Certificate of Need (CON) process and the licensure of healthcare entities through the Office of Inspector General. As a Certificate of Need state, Kentucky-based healthcare providers who wish to initiate or expand healthcare services generally must go through a lengthy and expensive process unless they meet one of the few available exemptions. For years, Kentucky excluded certain physician-owned healthcare entities from both the Certificate of Need process and licensure through a series of strict guidelines established by the Cabinet for Health and Family Services known as the “physician office exemption.” More >

Compliance: Include Prescribing Practices!

Since the implementation of House Bill 1 in 2012, the restrictions on prescribing controlled substances have become more and more stringent, which is a response to the opioid epidemic sweeping Kentucky and the nation. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services, the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure, the Kentucky Board of Nursing, and the Kentucky Board of Pharmacy are vigilant in policing prescribing practices and have tools through KASPER to closely monitor the prescribing practices of physicians and other practitioners. With the addition of new medications like Gabapentin to the controlled substances hit list, practitioners must be particularly careful to ensure that their prescribing is consistent with regulatory requirements, particularly when patients have been on this medication previously.   Physicians and practitioners must continually monitor compliance as even a minor violation can give rise to investigations, complaints and regulatory penalties.  Assessment of regulatory penalties, even when characterized as “Agreed Orders,” can have devastating consequences for physicians and practitioners’ practices and ability to maintain provider contracts, including Medicare and Medicaid. More >

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