On April 23, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) released a new COVID-19 toolkit. While the toolkit is directed to the states, it should serve the American telehealth community as a focal point for the organization and alignment of the infinite number of state and federal regulations relevant to telehealth. So, it serves as a great organizing tool for provider’s own operational use but also as an architecture for providers to catalogue the changes they would like to suggest to the states in order to improve access to telehealth.
Continue Reading CMS’s New Telehealth Toolkit Arrives at Just the Right COVID-19 Time for Providers and Policy Makers

Insurers providing health care benefits to federal employees can obtain reimbursement when their insured obtains a tort recovery, despite a state law prohibiting such reimbursement, based on the preemption provision of the Federal Employees Health Benefits Act (FEHBA), pursuant to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Coventry Health Care of Missouri, Inc., fka Group Health Plan, Inc. v. Nevils, issued April 18, 2017.

Continue Reading State Anti-Subrogation Law Is Preempted With Respect to Federal Employee Insurance Contract

Since the first managed care plans were introduced, relationships between physicians and payers have been rocky. It has not been uncommon for controversies between the two sides to result in lawsuits, contract terminations and regulatory intervention. Both sides recognize that each needs the other to survive — payers must populate their networks with sizeable numbers of physicians, while physicians must contract with payers to get reimbursed for patient care.

Continue Reading Improving Physicians’ Negotiation Skills

A stethoscope and American money on a white background - HealthcAs 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?

dollar-signiStock_000013001848_LargeOn April 27, 2016, the Department of Health & Human Services Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its proposed rule regarding models for tying professional reimbursement to quality. While this may be great news for providers who enjoy the challenges of tracking and reporting data, these challenges are going to cause problems (namely, reimbursement reductions) for some providers. Regardless of whether providers think this is good or bad, providers should start looking at the proposed regulations now because, as proposed, quality-based payments will be a fact of life for all physicians, mid-levels, CRNAs and groups effective Jan. 1, 2019. The regulations will be published in the May 9, 2016, Federal Register. The comment period will officially start at that time and run through 5 p.m. on June 27, 2016.
Continue Reading CMS’ quest for quality – proposed merit-based and alternative payment model rules released

Medicine and new technologyThe Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued its Final Rule on Nov. 16 for the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (“CJR”) model, which mandates that CMS pay providers a bundled payment per episode of care for a Medicare beneficiary undergoing a hip or knee replacement, also referred to as lower extremity joint replacement or LEJR. This marks the first mandated episode-based bundled payment by CMS; all other episode-based bundled payments programs (e.g., Bundled Payment for Care Improvement, or BPCI, initiatives) are voluntary with regard to provider participation. The CJR model will require hospitals in 67 markets to participate in the program initially. A list of the participant hospitals in the selected markets is available here.
Continue Reading CMS implements first-ever mandatory episode-based bundled payment program for lower extremity joint replacements

TexasFlagOn Thursday, July 16, 2015, the Texas Health and Human Services Commission (HHSC) held a public meeting regarding its request to seek an extension of its Section 1115 Medicaid Transformation Waiver. The current waiver covered a five year period ending September 30, 2016. Under the waiver Texas has expanded Medicaid managed care, created a funding pool to offset uncompensated care and provided incentives for hospitals and other providers to develop delivery system infrastructure in Texas. Over the waiver period, Texas will commit $29 Billion to the uncompensated care and delivery system payment pools (approximately 58% or $16.82 Billion represent federal funds).
Continue Reading Texas 1115 Waiver Extension

medicalequiptmentiStock_000013829082_LargeIn 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 Texas Health & Human Services Commission’s (HHSC) final rules regarding physician billing for services provided by an APRN or PA became effective Jan. 1, 2015, and include limitations on such billing arrangements. See 39 Tex. Reg. 9884 (Dec. 19, 2014). The adopted rule requires that a physician billing for services provided by an APRN or PA under the physician’s Medicaid billing number must make a decision regarding the patient’s care or treatment on the same date of service as the billable medical visit and documented that decision in the patient’s recordSee Tex. Admin. Code Tit. 1 §354.1062. If a physician billing for such services does not make a decision regarding the patient’s care or treatment on the same date of service, the physician must note on the claim that the services were provided by a supervisee. See Tex. Admin. Code Tit. 1 §354.1001.
Continue Reading Update: Texas Medicaid ‘incident to’ rule now in effect