Children's Hospitals and Pediatric Providers

Recently, CMS changed its process for approving provider transactions structured as equity transfers – which in Medicare’s eyes is generally classified as a change of information (“CHOI”).  Previously, the process for approving such a transaction was for the provider to submit the applicable 855 Enrollment Application as CHOI to the provider’s assigned Medicare Administrative Contractor (“MAC”) and the MAC would then approve the CHOI.  With this prior process, a provider only needed MAC approval for CHOIs. The CMS Regional Office only reviewed initial enrollments and changes of ownership (“CHOWs”).
Continue Reading Update on CMS’s Process for Approving Provider Transactions Structured as Equity Transfers (CHOI)

On July 20, 2020, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) notified providers that if they received $10,000 or more in funds from the general or targeted Provider Relief Fund (PRF) established under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, reports on how those funds were used will be required. HHS expects to release (through the Health Resources and Services Administration [HRSA] website) detailed instructions on reporting requirements by August 17, 2020. Specifically, reports will be required of any provider who received one or more payments exceeding $10,000 in the aggregate from:
Continue Reading HHS Begins Clarifying Reporting Requirements for Provider Relief Funds

Texas: On July 9 Governor Abbott issued a Proclamation (the Proclamation) amending Executive Order GA-27. The Proclamation expands the number of counties required to postpone all non-essential surgeries and procedures indefinitely to preserve hospital capacity for COVID-19 patients to include:
Continue Reading Abbott Expands Counties Required to Postpone All Non-essential Surgeries

On June 12, 2020, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office for Civil Rights (OCR), issued guidance confirming HIPAA permits a covered healthcare provider (Provider) to use protected health information (PHI) to identify and contact recovered COVID-19 patients to inform them of how they can donate their blood and plasma.  As background, HIPAA

On June 19, 2020, the Texas Department of Insurance adopted final rules specifying patient notice and election requirements in order for out-of-network providers to balance bill. The final rules replace similar emergency rules that were adopted on December 18, 2019.

Under the new rules, which are meant to implement legislation passed in 2019 by the Texas Legislature, out-of-network providers are prohibited from Balance Billing for nonemergency services unless a patient elects, in writing, to obtain the service from the out-of-network provider. The patient’s election is only effective if the provider satisfies the following notice and disclosure requirements: (1) the patient is provided with a “meaningful choice between an in-network provider and an out-of-network provider,” (2) the patient is not “coerced” into choosing the out-of-network provider, and (3) the patient is provided with a written notice and disclosure. The notice and disclosure statement must be signed by the patient at least 10 business days before receiving any care.[1]
Continue Reading Texas Department of Insurance Rolls Out Final Rules on Out-Of-Network Notices and Disclosures

Under new guidance from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), hospices and other providers who received CARES Act Provider Relief Fund payments can hold off on filing their first quarterly compliance report, slated to be due on July 10, 2020.[1] Instead, HHS states that it will develop its own report and this report itself will contain “all information necessary for recipients of Provider Relief Fund payments to comply with” the quarterly reporting requirements under the Relief Fund Terms and Conditions.

Continue Reading Surprise for Providers As HHS Lifts Relief Fund July 10th Quarterly Compliance Report Deadline

On June 9 the Department of Health and Human Services announced that it will distribute $15 billion to Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (“CHIP”) providers. HHS spokesman Eric Hargan noted that this distribution will be focused on the approximately 275,000 providers who care for Medicaid and CHIP recipients but who did not receive funds in HHS’ April distribution of $50 billion. Mr. Hargan specifically mentioned providers such as dentists, pediatricians, assisted living facilities and behavioral health provider such as opioid treatment programs. Medicaid/CHIP providers can apply for the funds through the enhanced Provider Relief Portal by providing data that will determine their payments, including information concerning their payer mix to inform future distributions to providers who serve a large portion of Medicaid patients or provide a large amount of uncompensated care.
Continue Reading Medicaid Provider Relief Fund Distribution of $15 billion

After the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) automatically distributed $30 billion to providers as Tranche #1 Relief Fund payments based on 2019 Medicare fee-for-service payment data, HHS subsequently released a new formula that was based on 2018 “program service revenue” and intended to calculate providers’ payments under Relief Fund Tranches #1 and #2 cumulatively.  For providers whose Tranche #1 payments alone exceeded their expected payment under the new “program service revenue” formula, there have been ongoing questions about whether such providers were “overpaid” and needed to reject and return their Tranche #1 payments.
Continue Reading CARES Act Provider Relief Fund: Connecting HHS’s Dots on Whether Your Tranche #1 Payment Is An Overpayment

COVID-19 is not the sole focus of the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) these days. On May 15th, the Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) announced that it added to its Work Plan a “Review of Institutions of Higher Education Grantees Receiving National Institutes of Health Awards” to address areas of potential risk at institutions of higher education (“IHE”).
Continue Reading OIG Tags Higher Education Grantees Receiving NIH Awards

On May 12, 2020 the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued additional 1135 blanket waivers which are applicable to a wide variety of healthcare providers. These COVID-19 Emergency Declaration Blanket Waivers for Healthcare Providers are retroactively effective from March 1, 2020 through the end of the public health emergency (PHE). The waivers in this issuance do not require a request be sent or a notification be made to any of the CMS regional offices.  Each waiver must be consistent with the state’s emergency preparedness or pandemic plan.

Continue Reading CMS Adds Additional Blanket Waivers for Healthcare Providers