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Action needed: Register for an iQIES Account

The Quality Improvement and Evaluation System (QIES), which providers and vendors use to submit assessment data, is being upgraded to make the system more reliable, scalable, secure, and accessible.  The enhancements will occur in phases (by provider type) and began with Long- Term Care Hospitals (LTCHs) in March 2019, followed by Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs)

Congress Debates Bill to Automate Prior Authorization in Medicare Advantage Plans

Recently the House of Representatives’ Small Business Committee convened for a hearing on utilization management and barriers to care in small medical practices. In particular this hearing focused on the application of prior authorization within Medicare Advantage (MA) plans and the associated challenges faced by patients and providers of services due to prior authorization requirements.

Physician Stark Law Rules Revamped: New Rules Address Care Coordination

This is the first major update to rules for the Stark law since 1989, according to HHS. An HHS press statement explained that the new rules would give providers in value-based arrangements “greater certainty” and “ease the compliance burden for healthcare providers across the industry,” while maintaining protections against fraud and abuse. Clinicians and hospital

Home Care Agencies Often Wrongly Deny Medicare Help To The Chronically Ill

Colin Campbell needs help dressing, bathing and moving between his bed and his wheelchair. He has a feeding tube because his partially paralyzed tongue makes swallowing “almost impossible,” he said. Campbell, 58, spends $4,000 a month on home health care services so he can continue to live in his home just outside Los Angeles. Eight

3 Benefits of Value-Based Care

The U.S. healthcare industry is moving toward value-based care, encouraged by reimbursement initiatives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). In a value-based model, providers are paid depending on patient outcome rather than on volume of procedures performed. Theoretically, this would promote a focus on patient wellness and preventative medicine, which would improve

CMS Delays Collapsing of E/M Payment Rates Until 2021

Implementation of a single E/M payment rate for office visit Levels 2 through 4 won’t go into effect until 2021, CMS stated in the new Physician Fee Schedule rule. November 01, 2018 – CMS will collapse evaluation and management (E/M) payment rates, but not until the 2021 calendar year, according to the recently released final 2019

Increased Enforcement Against Home Health Agencies

With the recent rise in medical services provided outside of a doctor’s office, there has been a surge of FCA enforcement actions against home health agencies (HHAs). HHAs are public or private agencies or organizations that are primarily engaged in providing skilled nursing services and other therapeutic services to patients in their residence.[1] The last

American medical students less likely to choose to become primary care doctors

Despite hospital systems and health officials calling out the need for more primary care doctors, graduates of U.S. medical schools are becoming less likely to choose to specialize in one of those fields. A record-high number of primary care positions was offered in the 2019 National Resident Matching Program—known to doctors as “the Match.” It

Medicare decides a cost-saving strategy costs too much

After pushing more medical care out of hospitals and into patients’ homes, the federal government wants to pay less for home health care. Impending changes in Medicare’s home health payment system would dramatically alter how agencies are reimbursed for services, cutting payments by 8 percent. Lower rates would squeeze profit margins in what has been

Medicare Sequester Extended Two Years

The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019, signed into law last week by President Donald J. Trump, includes an extension of the Medicare sequestration cuts for an additional two years. This across the board cut of two percent applies to all Medicare provider payments. The Bipartisan Budget Act of 2019 will increase federal spending by $320