Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

CMS

CMS Processes State Medicaid Requests, Approvals 23% Faster

August 17, 2018 - CMS has announced that an agency initiative to streamline state Medicaid approvals and state plan amendments (SPAs) has increased approval processing speed by 23 percent. In 2017, CMS sent a bulletin to state Medicaid programs informing state officials of the agency’s action plan to increase the efficiency of SPAs requests and 1915 waiver, which are requests to amend state...


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CMS Proposed Rule Aims to Secure 2018 Risk Adjustment Payments

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that aims to resolve legal issues over the risk adjustment program’s payment methodology.  The rule would ensure that payers will receive appropriate risk adjustment payments for plan year 2018. The...

Medicare Advantage Part B Plans Can Use Drug Step Therapy

by Thomas Beaton

CMS is allowing Medicare Advantage (MA) health plans to implement step therapy protocols in order to decrease prescription drug spending. On January 1, 2019, MA health plans can apply step therapy guidelines for physician-administered...

Medicare Part D Premiums Expected to Decline in 2019

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has announced that monthly Medicare Part D premiums are expected to fall from $33.59 in 2018 to $32.50 in 2019 as new policies to reduce Medicare’s drug costs take effect. Earlier in 2018, CMS issued a final rule that made...

CMS Final Rule Extends Short-Term Health Insurance to 3 Year Max

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has issued a final rule that triples the length of time a beneficiary can keep short-term health insurance. The rule allows individuals to purchase a new short-term, limited benefit health plan that lasts for 12 months, or extend...

CMS: We Will Make $10.4B in 2017 Risk-Adjustment Payments

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has issued a final rule that will allow the agency to disburse $10 billion in 2017 risk adjustment payments that had been in doubt due to a court ruling.   To comply with the initial outcome of a New Mexico lawsuit contending the...

Generic Drugs Could Have Saved $3B for Medicare Part D Program

by Thomas Beaton

Using generic drugs instead of their brand-name equivalents could have saved the Medicare Part D program approximately $3 billion in 2016 alone, according to new data from HHS. A relatively small number of brand-name therapies is...

CMS Proposes Drug Pricing, Price Transparency Changes for Medicare

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a series of policy changes for Medicare that would promote prescription drug affordability within Medicare, and has also requested stakeholder comments about ways to improve price transparency for Medicare services. As...

CMS Cuts ACA Navigator Funding Grants by $26M for 2019

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has announced a $26 million cut to funding grants for ACA navigators, from $36 million down to $10 million. CMS will provide a minimum of $100,000 in each of the states that operate a federally-facilitated exchange (FFE). The funding...

CMS Proposed Rule Cuts State Authority to Divert Medicaid Payments

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that would eliminate a state’s authority to divert Medicaid payments away from providers. The rule is intended to ensure beneficiaries have adequate access to healthcare services through direct...

CMS Suspends $10.4B in Risk Adjustment Payments to Payers

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has temporarily withheld $10.4 billion in risk adjustment payments for 654 healthcare payers, citing a ruling in the US District Court of New Mexico that invalidated the agency’s risk adjustment methodology. The ruling, which...

CMS: Individual Health Plan, Federal Exchange Challenges Remain

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has released three new reports indicating that the individual health plan and federal exchange markets faltered somewhat in 2017 because of increasing premiums, decreasing competition, and stagnant enrollment. The agency believes that...

CMS Approves Okla. Value-Based Drug Purchasing for Medicaid

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has approved the nation’s first value-based drug purchasing agreement for Medicaid by allowing Oklahoma’s state program to negotiate supplemental prescription drug rebates based on treatment outcomes. CMS allows state...

CMS to Develop New Medicaid Program Integrity Initiatives

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has announced a new set of Medicaid program integrity initiatives that leverage enhanced data sharing, claims auditing, and provider education to reduce the incidence of improper payments and help secure program finances. In 2016,...

Unstable Future Predicted for Medicare, Depletion by 2026

by Thomas Beaton

The Medicare Board of Trustees (MBT)’s latest report anticipates that Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) Trust Fund will deplete by the year 2026 as Medicare spending continues to outgrow the trust’s collective...

CMS Medicaid Scorecards Increase Transparency, Accountability

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has released new Medicaid scorecards that contain care quality data on a state-by-state basis in order to improve transparency and accountability across the Medicaid program. CMS Administrator Seema Verma emphasized a need for...

Virginia Legislature Approves Medicaid Expansion

by Thomas Beaton

The Virginia General Assembly has passed Medicaid expansion as part of a two-year budget bill that could provide coverage to 400,000 newly eligible residents. The action would make Virginia the 33rd state in the US to expand Medicaid...

GAO: Medicare DME Prior Authorization Programs are Effective

by Thomas Beaton

CMS’s prior authorization programs for durable medical equipment (DME) and mobility devices created between $1.1 and $1.9 billion in Medicare savings from 2012 to 2017 by controlling unnecessary spending, according to a new...

CMS: Medicare Part D Gag Clauses are “Unacceptable”

by Thomas Beaton

CMS Administrator Seema Verma has stated in a letter to health plan sponsors that CMS will no longer tolerate Medicare Part D gag clauses as the federal agency continues to promote prescription drug price transparency for...

CMS Highlights Drug Price Transparency Data Dashboards

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has released redesigned drug price dashboards to provide information about manufacturer drug costs and advance the agency’s goals of promoting consumer price transparency. Patients, providers, and researchers are able to explore...

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