Even without potential changes to the Medicare program, MACRA poses a significant challenge for any clinician trying to determine the best strategy to maximize Medicare reimbursement – there are hundreds of pages of guidance in the proposed and final regulations to review and understand. But, at this point, clinicians attempting to assess MACRA must also deal with uncertainty about changes to the Medicare program. A significant source of uncertainty is the Trump administration’s stated intent to repeal the Affordable Care Act (“ACA” and also known as Obamacare), which is being implemented by current legislative efforts. Uncertainty about the ACA should be considered in developing a strategy to comply with MACRA. Continue Reading Managing MACRA – Part VII: What happens to MACRA if the Affordable Care Act is repealed?
As of January 2016, there were 433 Medicare Shared Savings Program (MMSP) Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) with almost 7.7 million assigned beneficiaries and more than 14,000 participants (a participant may be a group or an individual). Most of these ACOs are one-sided model ACOs that may generate shared savings and do not involve shared losses (Track 1 ACOs).
Importantly, Track 1 ACOs are not considered advanced alternative payment models (APMs) for purposes of MACRA. As a result, a clinician participating in a Track 1 ACO is subject to the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) just like a clinician that is not in an ACO (a participant in an advanced APM is not subject to MIPS). Continue Reading Managing MACRA – Part V: What do I have to do if I’m in an ACO?
Under MACRA, the merit-based incentive payment system (MIPS) automatically applies to eligible clinicians (generally a physician or mid-level – see our previous blog post for details) and most clinicians who treat Medicare patients are expected to be included in MIPS. As a result, one of the most common questions about MACRA is when it starts. CMS’s final MACRA rule confirms that implementation begins Jan. 1, 2017. Continue Reading Managing MACRA – Part IV: When does it begin?
MACRA is the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015. MACRA ends the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that has been in place since 1997 (and was the source of decades of legislative fixes to prevent Medicare reimbursement cuts under the SGR). Continue Reading Managing MACRA – Part I: What is MACRA?
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) for the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently published its Fiscal Year 2016 Work Plan, which summarizes OIG’s priorities over the coming year. Notably, the 2016 Work Plan demonstrates the OIG’s expanded focus on delivery system reform and the effectiveness of alternate payment models, coordinated care programs, and value-based purchasing.
There were also noteworthy areas of new focus for several provider types, including skilled nursing facilities, hospice organizations, ambulatory surgical centers, and physician practices. Below we have highlighted a few key areas from the FY 2016 Work Plan that will likely impact these providers. Please note this is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of the 2016 Work Plan and is focused only on the new OIG focal areas for these certain providers. Continue Reading OIG issues FY 2016 Work Plan with more than 40 new focal areas
In a 92-8 vote on April 14, 2015, the Senate passed a bipartisan measure to repeal the Medicare payment formula known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (“SGR”). The legislation also included a new payment system that rewards providers for the quality and efficiency of care they provide. Continue Reading Value-based payments are heading for physicians
The DOL’s self-imposed February deadline for announcing new FLSA regulations redefining “white collar” exemptions has come and gone with without any action from the DOL. No new deadline has been announced; however, the DOL’s website suggests that it still hopes to release the new regulations soon. Stayed tuned, and we will report back when the regulations are released or when any other information is given.
In March 2014, President Obama directed the Secretary of Labor to prepare and propose new FLSA regulations. These new rules were to be announced late last year, but have been repeatedly delayed. Now it appears the new rules will be announced later this month. While the scope of the changes is unknown, it is anticipated the changes will reduce the number of employees who qualify for exempt status. Continue Reading Changes coming to FLSA regulations – Time to get ready
On Jan. 26, 2015, Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced the goals and a timeline of the U. S. Department of Health & Human Services (“HHS”) to move the Medicare program, and the healthcare system at large, toward paying providers based on quality, rather than quantity, of care they give to patients. Continue Reading HHS makes moves toward value-based payments
CMS continues to emphasize readmissions as a marker of quality. CMS research shows that approximately 45% of hospital admissions among those receiving either Medicare skilled nursing services or Medicaid skilled nursing services could have been avoided. Husch Blackwell attorneys Mark Chouteau and Michael Crowe recently authored an article in the October issue of AHLA Connections that reviewed CMS initiatives to promote coordination across the acute- and post-acute care spectrum. The article discusses the following initiatives:
- CMS’ Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations Among Nursing Facility Residents;
- Transitional Care Management Codes; and
- Accountable Care Organizations.
The article also addresses key legal issues that arise when providers collaborate such as HIPAA/HITECH Act and fraud and abuse laws.
To read the article, click here.