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Archive for the ‘Medicare Reimbursement Rules’ Category

RCS-1 Model Worksheet Gives a Glimpse of a World Without RUG

Monday, March 12th, 2018

RCS-1 Sample Worksheet

Time Is Running Out on RUG System for Skilled Nursing Facility Reimbursement

It is currently anticipated that the RUG system, which is currently used to calculate reimbursement for Medicare Part A skilled nursing services, will be changed over the next year.  CMS is currently considering a new Resident Classification System that will completely change the way SNFs are reimbursed for their services.

Providers are getting glimpses of what may be included in the new calculation system.  CMS issued a draft sample worksheet using the RCS-1 system.  The stated purpose is to give providers a description of how the new system would work.  The worksheet gives a description of how a manual calculation would take place using the RCS-I methodology.

The sample draft worksheet that was issued by CMS is available here.  RCS_I_Logic-508_Final

Applying Section 1557 Discrimination Rules to Employer Sponsored Health Plans

Sunday, February 11th, 2018

Section 1557 Covered Entities and Employer Sponsored Health Plans

Health Plan 1557 ComplianceSection 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) prohibits “covered entities” discrimination in health programs that receive federal financial assistance from the Department of Human and Health Services.  Regulations were issued in 2016 that define the details of compliance with Section 1557 which prohibits discrimination based on race, color, national origin, age, disability and sex.  (including discrimination based on pregnancy, gender identity and sex stereotyping).  The stated purpose for the rules is to expand access and eliminate barriers to the ability to obtain health care coverage.

The definition of “covered entities” to which Section 1557 apply is extremely broad.  Through the broad definition, the requirements of Section 1557 apply to any health program or activity that received federal financial assistance through the Department of Health and Human Service.  This definition includes most health care providers, such as hospitals, nursing homes, and physician, who receive Medicare or Medicaid reimbursement, insurance marketplace and exchanges and participating health plans.

The Section 1557 rules extend to some (but not all) employers that are group health plan sponsors.  Determining whether Section 1557 applies to a specific employer can be quite complicated and is based on several factors such as the sponsor’s primary business function, the nature and extent of federal financial assistance, whether the employer plan is self-funded or insured, and variety of other factors.

Failing to comply with Section 1557, where necessary, can expose an employer to significant risk.  Significant compliance exposure, coupled with complicated rules defining application of Section 1557, make this an extremely important area for employers. Employers should carefully assess whether they are subject to the requirements of Section 1557 and take steps to assure compliance where necessary.

Medicare’s New Low Volume Settlement Process

Tuesday, January 23rd, 2018

Expressions of Interest Can Lead to Medicare Settlement for Eligible Appellants

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently announced that beginning February 5, 2018, it will begin accepting what it terms as “expressions of interest” for a limited settlement from providers who have fewer than 500 appeals pending at the Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals and the Medicare Appeals Council.  The option is made available to certain Medicare fee-for-service providers, physicians and suppliers.  The new administrative settlement process will be to settle portions of pending appeals that involve $9,000 or less total billed amounts.  The trade-off would be a timely partial payment of 62% of the net new amount that is approved by Medicare.

Providers and suppliers who meet qualifications can commence the process by submitting an Expression of Interest (EOI) using the process established by CMS.

Eligible appellants include Medicare Part A and Part B providers, physicians, and suppliers that have less than than 500 appeals pending.  Some appellants are ineligible for participation in the program.  Ineligible appellants include beneficiaries, enrollees, their family members, or estates. State Medicaid Agencies, Medicare Advantage Organizations (Medicare Part C), those that filed for bankruptcy or expect to file for bankruptcy, some appellants who may have had False Claims Act problems or other program integrity issues.

The details of the program and various forms and guidance are included on the CMS website.  Medicare Low Volume Appeal Program

Anti-Discrimination Plans/Part D Sponsors

Monday, January 30th, 2017

Anti-Discrimination Rules in Medicare Advantage Plans

42 CFR 422.110, 422.2268(c), 423.2268(c)

Plans/Part D Sponsors may not discriminate based on race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, gender, sex, age, mental or physical disability, health status, claims experience, medical history, genetic information, evidence of insurability or geographic location. Plans/Part D Sponsors may not target beneficiaries from higher income areas or state/ imply that plans are only available to seniors rather than to all Medicare beneficiaries. Only Special Needs Plans (SNPs) and MMPs may limit enrollments to individuals meeting eligibility requirements based on health and/or other status. Basic services and information must be made available to individuals with disabilities, upon request.

Requirements Pertaining to Non-English Speaking Populations Medicare Health Plans

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Requirements Pertaining to Non-English Speaking Populations

42 CFR 422.111(h)(1), 422.112(a)(8), 423.128(d)(1)(iii), 422.2264(e), 423.2264(e)

All Plans’/Part D Sponsors’ call centers must have interpreter services available to call center personnel to answer questions from non-English speaking or limited English proficient (LEP) beneficiaries. Call centers are those centers that receive calls from current and prospective enrollees. This requirement is in place regardless of the percentage of non-English speaking or LEP beneficiaries in a plan benefit package (PBP) service area. Plans/Part D Sponsors must make the marketing materials identified in sections 30.6, 30.7, 30.9, and the Part D Transition Letter(s) available in any language that is the primary language of at least five (5) percent of a Plan’s/Part D Sponsor’s PBP service area. Final populated translations of all marketing materials must be submitted in HPMS (see section 90.2 for material submission process).

Historically, regardless of the five (5) percent service area threshold, CMS required that all Plans/Part D Sponsors communicated the availability of language assistance services in the fifteen most common non-English languages spoken in the US via the Multi-Language Insert (MLI). The MLI was required to accompany the Summary of Benefits (SB), Annual Notice of Change (ANOC)/Evidence of Coverage (EOC), and the enrollment form. Because Section 1557 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act contains a similar yet more robust requirement, CMS will now defer to the requirements under Section 1557 when it comes to communicating the availability of language assistance services. Plans/Part D Sponsors should consult with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR), the Federal Agency responsible for Section 1557, for questions pertaining to Section 1557 Compliance. In addition, OCR has a Section 1557 resource website that can be accessed at: https://www.hhs.gov/civil-rights/for-individuals/section-1557/index.html

 

Medicare Advantage Marketing Standards 2018 Draft Requirements

Sunday, January 29th, 2017

Marketing Material Subject to CMS Guidelines for MA Marketing Materials

Medicare broadly defines the types of marketing materials that must comply with with CMS requirements. (42 CFR Section 417.428, Section 422.2260, and Section 423.2260) Examples of the types of marketing materials that must meet the CMS requirements include, by way of example, materials such as:

  • General audience materials, such as general circulation brochures, direct mail, newspapers, magazines, television, radio, billboards, yellow pages, or the Internet;
  • Marketing representative materials, such as scripts or outlines for telemarketing or other presentations;
  • Presentation materials, such as slides and charts;
  • Promotional materials, such as brochures or leaflets, including materials circulated by physicians, other providers, or third-party entities;
  • Membership communication materials, including: membership rules, subscriber agreements, enrollee handbooks, and wallet card instructions to enrollees (e.g., Annual Notice of change (ANOC), Evidence of Coverage (EOC));
  • Communications to enrollees about contractual changes, such as changes in providers, premiums, benefits, plan procedures;
  • Communications related to membership activities (e.g., materials on rules involving non-payment of premiums, confirmation of enrollment or disenrollment, or non-claim specific notification information); and
  • The activities of a Plan’s/Part D Sponsor’s employees, independent agents or brokers, Third Party Marketing Organizations (TMO) (downstream contractors), or other similar organizations that contribute to the steering of a potential enrollee toward a specific plan or limited number of plans, or may receive compensation directly or indirectly from a Plan/Part D Sponsor for marketing activities, among others.
  • The following types of materials are not subject to CMS marketing review,  should not be submitted in HPMS, and do not require a material ID number. However, Plans/Part D Sponsors are still responsible for maintaining such materials and must make them available, through HPMS or other means, upon request.
  • HIPAA Privacy notices (which are subject to enforcement by the Office for Civil Rights);
  • OMB-approved forms/documents, except when otherwise specified by CMS;
  • Press releases that do not include any plan-specific information (examples of plan-specific information include information about benefits, premiums, co-pays, deductible, how to enroll, networks);
  • Enrollee newsletters that do not include any plan-specific information (examples of plan-specific information include information about benefits, premiums, co-pays, deductible, benefits, how to enroll, networks);
  • Blank letterhead/fax coversheets/blank pages that do not include promotional language;
  • General health promotion materials that do not include any specific plan related information (examples of general health promotion materials include health education and disease management materials). In general, health promotion materials should meet CMS’ definition of “educational” (Refer to section 70.8, Educational Events);
  • Non-Medicare beneficiary-specific materials that do not involve an explanation or discussion of Part D, MA, or Section 1876 cost plans (examples of materials within this category include notice of check return for insufficient funds, letter stating Medicare ID number provided was incorrect, billing statements/invoices, sales, and
    premium payment coupon book);
  • Documents to recruit or train sales/marketing representatives;
  • Medication Therapy Management (MTM) program materials (see definition in Appendix 1);
  •  Ad hoc Enrollee Communications Materials (see definition in Appendix 1);
  • Educational materials, such as those used at educational events for the education of beneficiaries and other interested parties (also see section 70.8), that do not contain plan specific information;
  • Coordination of Benefits notifications (as provided in Chapter 14 of the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Manual);
  • Health Risk Assessments;
  • Mail order pharmacy election forms;
  • Enrollee surveys and focus groups;
  • Value-Added Items and Services (refer to Chapter 4 of the Medicare Managed Care Manual) See definition in Appendix 1;
  •  Documents encouraging enrollees to use preventive services;
  • Mid-year Change Enrollee Notifications (see section 60.7);
  • Informational Scripts;
  • Marketing materials created by State government; and
  • Password protected websites that only current enrollees can access;
  • Marketing materials included on the website are still subject to review (e.g., Plan/Part D Sponsor advertisements).

Off-Campus Provider-Based Departments Neutrality

Friday, December 23rd, 2016

Off-Campus Provider-Based Departments Site-Neutrality

The 21st Century Cures Act contains new provisions that prohibits the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) from paying different rates for services provided in for services furnished in off-campus provider-based department (PBD) of a hospital.    The CY 2015 Outpatient Prospective Payment System Final Rule (79 FR 66910-66914) created a HCPCS modifier for hospital claims that is to be reported with every code for outpatient hospital items and services furnished in an off-campus provider-based department of a hospital. This 2-digit modifier was be added to the HCPCS annual file as of January 1, 2015, with the label ‘‘PO.’’ Reporting of this new modifier was voluntary for CY 2015, with reporting required beginning on January 1, 2016.

The 21st Century Cures Act revises this policy beginning January 1, 2017, with some exceptions. One exception is for OPBDs that billed for services furnished as of November 2, 2015 (the date the law was enacted). The 21st Century Cures Act expounds on this exception and permits providers to be grandfathered under the old rules if the Secretary received a properly filed provider-based attestation for the site from the provider prior to December 2, 2015.  Furthermore, if  an off-campus provider-based department was in development as of November 2, 2015 and made a timely filing of a certification to CMS,  the old rules can be applied even though the department was not operating as of the cut-off date.

John H. Fisher, CHC, CCEP is a health care attorney at the Ruder Ware law firm.  John is actively involved representing clients on legal and compliance issues.  He has represented clients in creating compliance programs and in a variety of operational issues.  He also assists providers in addressing risk areas and potential compliance issues including preparing self-disclosure and working with the government to resolve disclosed compliance issues and overpayment.  John consults as a subject matter expert and provider legal backup to other attorneys and law firms from around the country on specialized compliance, regulatory and health care issues.  John has followed legal issues impacting health care provider for over 25 years.  As such, he is knowledgeable on the current legal standards as well as the historic perspective that is often relevant to an appropriate analysis.  

Telemedicine Medicare Reimbursement Expansion Proposed

Friday, September 9th, 2016

Telemedicine Reimbursement; 8 New Codes Proposed by CMS

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released proposed regulations that would increase telehealth coverage. The proposed regulations would add 8 new CPT codes to the list of Medicare covered telehealth encounters. If adopted, the new codes would be available beginning January 1, 2017. by 8 new Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for services beginning January 1, 2017. This is part of the proposed rule making for Part B physician and practitioner services. Four of the new codes involve services related to end-stage renal disease (90969, 90970, 90968, 90967). Two new temporary codes are proposed for critical care evaluation and management (GTTT1, GTTT2). Lastly, two codes are proposed related to explanation and discussion of advance directives (99497, 99498).

The rue has a comment period and the new codes are not effective until January 1, 2017 even if adopted in final form.

300 Pages of New Regulations Ruining Health Care Attorney Lives Across the Country

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

 

Mountain of New Regulations Issued By CMS

Health Care Regulations 2016Just a tip to my colleagues in health care law.  Do not send these new regulations to printer before giving them an eyeball.  They are long and if you share a printer you will be buying coffee for your colleagues for at least a week.

True to their nature, there are a number of things that are unrelated to physician payment scattered throughout this poorly indexed document.  We have new Stark Law exceptions, changes to “incident to” billing rules, telemedicine reimbursement standards, and a whole host of additional little morsels that we health care attorneys need to locate, study, and update our clients on; all before the next guy down the street beats us to the rap.On November 16, 2015, the Department of Health and Human Services officially published their final rules Revising Payment Policies Under the Physician fee Schedule and Other Revisions to Part B for CY 2016.

Have a pleasant rest of your week gang.  Anyone who does not want to wade through all of these regulations can come on back to this blog as we post articles on various pieces of the new rules.

And remember; here at Ruder Ware, Health Care Never Sleeps!

Incident To Billing Rules Changed In New CMS Regulations

Wednesday, November 18th, 2015

New regulations issued by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid services on November 16, 2015 change the way that services that are furnished “incident to” the service of a physician must billed. The new regulations provide clarification that the billing provider must be the provider that actually supervises the incident to service.

Previously, regulations stated that the physician supervising the auxiliary personnel need not be the same physician upon whose professional service the “incident to”services base. The provisions in previous regulations that permitted another physician to supervise the incident to service have been removed. Now, the physician who is actually available and actually supervises must be the party whose billing number is connected with the incident to service.

The service that is performed “incident to” the services of a physician can generally be billed at 100% of the physician’s rate under the Medicare fee schedule.  However, supervision and billing standards must be complied with to avoid creating a compliance issue and potential overpayment.

All providers must look at their billing policies and procedures to be certain that they integrate the new “incident to” billing standards into their compliance policies and procedures and appropriately implement the new standard through proper training of their billing staff, physicians and support staff.  This is also a good time to refresh provider training on the extent of supervision that is required in various care settings.

John H. Fisher

Health Care Counsel
Ruder Ware, L.L.S.C.
500 First Street, Suite 8000
P.O. Box 8050
Wausau, WI 54402-8050

Tel 715.845.4336
Fax 715.845.2718

Ruder Ware is a member of Meritas Law Firms Worldwide

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