Tags Posts tagged with "CMS"

CMS

Final Rule will strengthen popular Medicare private health insurance plans, expand telehealth access for patients, and improve coordination for dual-eligible individuals

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) finalized policies that will increase plan choices and benefits, including allowing Medicare Advantage plans to include additional telehealth benefits. These policies continue the agency’s efforts to modernize the Medicare Advantage and Part D programs, unleash innovation and drive competition to improve quality among private Medicare health and drug plans.

“Today’s policies represent a historic step in bringing innovative technology to Medicare beneficiaries,” said CMS Administrator Seema Verma. “With these new telehealth benefits, Medicare Advantage enrollees will be able to access the latest technology and have greater access to telehealth. By providing greater flexibility to Medicare Advantage plans, beneficiaries can receive more benefits, at lower costs and better quality.”

The final policies announced today leverage new authorities provided to CMS in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which President Trump signed into law last year. CMS is finalizing changes that would allow Medicare Advantage beneficiaries to access additional telehealth benefits, starting in plan year 2020. These additional telehealth benefits offer patients the option to receive health care services from places like their homes, rather than requiring them to go to a healthcare facility.

Before this year, seniors in Original Medicare could only receive certain telehealth services if they live in rural areas. Starting this year, Original Medicare began paying for virtual check-ins across the country, meaning patients can connect with their doctors by phone or video chat. Historically, Medicare Advantage plans have been able to offer more telehealth services, compared to Original Medicare, as part of their supplemental benefits. But with the final rule, it will be more likely that plans will offer the additional telehealth benefits outside of supplemental benefits, expanding patients’ access to telehealth services from more providers and in more parts of the country than before, whether they live in rural or urban areas.

CMS is also finalizing changes that will make improvements to Medicare Advantage and Part D Star Ratings so that consumers can identify high-value plans. The final rule updates the methodology for calculating Star Ratings, which provide information to consumers on plan quality. The new Star Ratings methodology will improve the stability and predictability for plans and will adjust how the ratings are set in the event of extreme and uncontrollable events such as hurricanes.

The final rule will improve the quality of care for beneficiaries dually eligible for Medicare and Medicaid who participate in Dual Eligible Special Needs Plans (D-SNPs). These beneficiaries usually have complex health needs; if they have a complaint about their healthcare or about access to items and services, they have to work with multiple organizations, one responsible for Medicare benefits and another responsible for Medicaid benefits, in order to file an appeal. The final rule will create one appeals process across Medicare and Medicaid, which will make it easier for enrollees in certain D-SNPs to navigate the healthcare system and have access to high quality services. The final rule will also require plans to more seamlessly integrate Medicare and Medicaid benefits across the two programs, such as notifying the state Medicaid agency (or its designee) of hospital and skilled nursing facility admissions for certain high-risk beneficiaries, to promote coordination of care for these patients.

Today’s announcement builds on the 2020 Rate Announcement and Final Call Letter released earlier this week that gives Medicare Advantage plans flexibility to offer chronically ill patients a broader range of supplemental benefits that are not necessarily health related and can address social determinants of health. With these new telehealth and supplemental benefits, Medicare Advantage plans will have the flexibility to provide a historic set of offerings to beneficiaries. Medicare Advantage plans will be able to compete for patients based on their new offerings and overall cost. CMS is working to update the Medicare Plan Finder with these new choices, so that beneficiaries will be able to see their new choices and benefits and can pick the plans that work best for them.

The fact sheet on the CY 2020 Medicare Advantage and Part D Flexibility Final Rule (CMS-4185-F) can be found here. The final rule can be downloaded from the Federal Register.

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On Tuesday, November 27, 2018, the RAND Corporation (a contractor for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services), will hold a stakeholder meeting to discuss their results from the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act national beta test of candidate standardized patient assessment data elements (SPADEs). They will also discuss areas of support and key concerns raised by stakeholders during prior engagement activities and answer questions from attendees.

The meeting will be held at the RAND offices, 1200 South Hayes St., Arlington, VA 22202-5050, from 12:00 pm to 4:00 pm.

Attendees can register to attend in person or by phone using the links below. The limited number of in-person spaces will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact Melissa Dehoff, RCPA Rehabilitation Services Director, with questions.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released the updated Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Quality Reporting Program (IRF QRP) Measure Calculations and Reporting User’s Manual (Version 3.0). This version of the manual is effective on October 1, 2018. The manual provides detailed information for IRF Patient Assessment Instrument (PAI) based quality measures, including inclusion and exclusion criteria, quality measure definitions, and measure calculation specifications. All of the materials are available on the Downloads section located at the bottom of the IRF Quality Reporting Measures Information web page.

Contact Melissa Dehoff, RCPA Director of Rehabilitation Services, with any questions.

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Breaking: CMS Proposes Historic Changes to Restore the Doctor-Patient Relationship & Streamline Clinical Billing

From HIT Consultant
by Jasmine Pennic 07/12/2018

On Thursday, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed historic changes that would increase the amount of time that doctors and other clinicians can spend with their patients by reducing the burden of paperwork that clinicians face when billing Medicare. The proposed rules would fundamentally improve the nation’s healthcare system and help restore the doctor-patient relationship by empowering clinicians to use their electronic health records (EHRs) to document clinically meaningful information, instead of information that is only for billing purposes… Read full article.

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It has been reported that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued letters of non-compliance to Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs) specific to the IRF quality reporting program (QRP) requirements for the data collection period affecting federal fiscal year (FFY) 2019 reimbursement. IRFs that did not meet the IRF QRP reporting requirements will receive a two percent payment reduction on their IRF prospective payment system (PPS) annual increase factor in FY 2019.

IRFs found to be non-compliant should have received notification from their Medicare Administrative Contractor (MAC) and are also expected to receive a letter in their provider Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting (CASPER) folder with specific details regarding the missing quality reporting data. Additional information on the data collections requirements and submission timeframes for FY 2019 compliance determination can be found in the CMS Data Collection & Final Submissions table posted on the CMS website, as well as the CMS IRF QRP website.

IRFs that feel they have received a non-compliance notification letter in error may request CMS reconsideration of the decision. Providers have 30 days to file a reconsideration request. Detailed filing instructions can be found on the IRF Quality Reporting Reconsideration and Exception & Extension web page.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has posted a number of various inpatient rehabilitation facility patient assessment instrument (IRF PAI) resources to their website, including the RTI International Report on patient assessment data elements.

Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System (IRF PPS) Proposed Rule for FY 2019: Reminder: Comments are due by June 26, 2018. See May 4, 2018 RCPA Info for additional information on the proposed provisions.

PROPOSED IRF-PAI Version 3.0: The proposed assessment tool indicates an effective date of October 1, 2019. However, the fiscal year (FY) 2019 IRF prospective payment system (PPS) proposed rule indicates it will be effective in FY 2020.

Change Table: Proposed IRF-PAI Version 3.0 – Effective October 1, 2019 (FY 2020) – Changes from Version 2.0 to 3.0: This table highlights the differences between the IRF PAI Version 3.0 and IRF PAI Version 2.0.

RTI International Report: Analyses to Inform the Potential Use of Standardized Patient Assessment Data Elements in the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility Prospective Payment System: This report includes a summary by RTI on the use of  assessment data in the current IRF PPS and describes the process used to substitute data from the quality indicators sections of the IRF PA into the IRF PPS. The report also presents the case-mix groups (CMGs) and payment weights based on those elements that CMS proposes for FY 2020.

Contact Melissa Dehoff with questions.

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Registration is now open for providers interested in attending a free two-day, in person training session on the inpatient rehabilitation facility quality reporting program (IRF QRP). The session, scheduled for Wednesday, May 9 –  Thursday, May 10, 2018 in Baltimore, MD will be hosted by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The primary focus of this “Train-the-Trainer” event will be to provide those responsible for training staff at IRFs with information about IRF QRP changes and updates to the Inpatient Rehabilitation Facility–Patient Assessment Instrument (IRF-PAI) v. 2.00, effective October 1, 2018. Topics will include information on new items, including those associated with the drug regimen review quality measure. Presenters will also discuss resources available on the CMS website, support available through the IRF help desks, public reporting, and use of reports to aid providers in better understanding the IRF QRP.

Additional information, including the registration page and agenda, is posted on the CMS website. Interested providers are encouraged to register as soon as possible as the in-person training is limited to the first 200 people on a first-come, first-served basis.

The training will not be available via webcast, but will be available via a link from the IRF QRP training web page after the training has completed.

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The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule and interim final rule with comment period that cancels the Episode Payment Models (EPM) and Cardiac Rehabilitation (CR) Incentive Payment Model and rescinds the regulations governing these models in the December 1, 2017 Federal Register. It also implements certain revisions to the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model. Some of these revisions include:

  • Allowing certain hospitals selected for participation in the CJR model a one-time option to choose whether to continue their participation in the model;
  • Technical refinements and clarifications for certain payment, reconciliation, and quality provisions; and
  • Change to increase the pool of eligible clinicians that qualify as affiliated practitioners under the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (APM) track.

An interim final rule with comment period is also being issued in conjunction with the final rule in order to address the need for a policy to provide some flexibility in the determination of episode costs for providers located in areas impacted by extreme and uncontrollable circumstances.

Comments will be accepted on the interim final rule with comment period until January 30, 2018. The final and interim final regulations become effective on January 1, 2018.

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On November 13, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began to post a list of potential audits for Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) to review. The topics will be listed, on a monthly basis, on the Provider Resources page of the CMS website. The topics currently proposed include: review of pre-admission screening, post-admission examination, and other requirements for inpatient rehabilitation facility (IRF) stays. The review type is identified as a “complex review.” Comments or questions should be submitted via email.

On November 3, 2017, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the calendar year (CY) 2018 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule final rule. The proposed rule updates payment policies, payment rates, and quality provisions for services with an overall payment update of .41 percent.

Some of the key provisions finalized in the rule include:

  • Addition of several codes to the list of telehealth services, eliminating the required reporting of the telehealth modifier GT for professional claims in an effort to reduce administrative burden for practitioners, and separating payment for CPT code 99091, which describes certain remote patient monitoring, for 2018;
  • Adoption of CPT codes for CY 2018 for reporting several care management services currently reported using Medicare G-codes and clarifying a few policies regarding chronic care management;
  • Increase in payment rates for office-based behavioral health services that better recognizes overhead expenses for office-based face-to-face services with a patient;
  • Revision of Part B drug payments for infusion drugs furnished through an item of durable medical equipment (DME) to conform with requirements of the 21st Century Cures Act;
  • Revision of payment for chronic care management in Rural Health Clinics (RHCs) and Federally-Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs), and establishing requirements and payment for RHCs and FQHCs furnishing general behavioral health integration (BHI) services and psychiatric collaborative care model (CoCM) services;
  • Implementation of the Medicare Diabetes Prevention Program (MDPP) expanded model starting in 2018;
  • Change to the current Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) program policy that requires reporting of 9 measures across 3 National Quality Strategy domains to only require reporting of 6 measures for the PQRS with no domain requirement; and
  • Revision to the rules for accountable care organizations (ACOs) participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program to reduce burden and streamline program operations.

In addition, CMS indicated they will continue to consider the following based on comments from stakeholders:

  • Stakeholder input in response to the proposed rule’s comment solicitation on how CMS could expand access to telehealth services, within the current statutory authority;
  • Reviewing and updating “outdated” Evaluation and Management (E/M) visit codes; and
  • Reviewing stakeholders’ comments for potential future rulemaking or publication of sub-regulatory guidance pertaining to the Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule (CLFS) data collection and reporting periods.

The final rule will be published in the November 15, 2017 Federal Register.