Healthcare IT Interoperability, EHR interoperability, Hospital Interoperability

Healthcare Reform

CMS Redesigns Medicare Home Health Payment with Case Mix Model

November 1, 2018 - CMS has proposed a new rule that would recalculate Medicare home health payments using a case mix payment model.   In 2020, the agency plans to implement the Patient-Driven Groupings Model (PDGM) to compensate home health agencies based on the clinical characteristics of beneficiaries. CMS sees the PDGM as a new value-based care opportunity to improve Medicare patient...


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CMS Extends Medicare Advantage Audit Program in 2019 Rule

by Thomas Beaton

CMS will be continuing its Medicare Advantage audit program, the agency indicated in a proposed 2019 rule, in an effort to ensure program integrity and reduce inappropriate payments to insurers. The changes are part of CMS’s new...

CMS Grants NC 1115 Medicaid Waiver to Implement Managed Care System

by Thomas Beaton

North Carolina has received a 1115 waiver from CMS allowing the state to implement a Medicaid managed care system administered through private payers. The state’s Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) can now recruit...

New Drug Pricing Model Could Save Medicare Part B $17.2 Billion

by Thomas Beaton

A new drug pricing model with an international component could save Medicare Part B approximately $17.2 billion over five years, CMS says.   The International Pricing Index (IPI) will test if using drug price benchmarks other...

CMS Broadens ACA Waiver Scope for State Insurance Programs

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has issued federal guidance intended to expand the scope and availability of state-level waiver programs.   State governments can now apply for State Relief and Empowerment Waivers that may result in weaker consumer protections...

CMS Proposes Drug Price Transparency in Television Ads

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has proposed a new rule that would enhance drug price transparency by requiring drug manufacturers to publish wholesale prices of Medicaid and Medicare prescription drugs during television ads. The proposed rule would require...

CMS: ACA Premiums to Decline in 2019 for Silver Plan Consumers

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has announced it expects the average ACA health plan premium to drop by 1.5 percent for healthy consumers that purchase low-cost silver tier plans. The agency stated that it is the first time since 2014 that premiums in any part of...

AMA, Industry Orgs Object to Short-Term Health Plan Expansion

by Thomas Beaton

The American Medical Association and other industry trade groups have filed amici curiae in support of a lawsuit contesting the legality of short-term health plans. The Association for Community Affiliated Plans (ACAP) contends that the...

Montana Reinsurance Program May Cut Premiums Up to 20%

by Thomas Beaton

Montana is moving ahead with the idea of creating a reinsurance program for the state’s health insurance market.  The program may reduce premiums between 10 and 20 percent, said Governor Steve Bullock and Department of...

Narrow Network Alignment Could Drive Value-Based Payment Reform

by Thomas Beaton

Investment in high-performance narrow networks, creating new payment incentives, and leveraging digital innovation could help to increase adoption of value-based payment reform across the healthcare industry, say experts in a New England...

Senators Propose Limits on Surprise Healthcare Billing

by Thomas Beaton

A bipartisan group of Senators has introduced legislation that aims to end surprise healthcare billing, a practice which can lead to extremely high out-of-pocket costs for consumers. The Protecting Patients from Surprise Medical Bills Act...

MedPAC to Explore if Hospital Consolidation Impacts Medicare Costs

by Thomas Beaton

The House Committee on Energy and Commerce has asked the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) to investigate whether or not hospital consolidation increases Medicare spending. In a letter to MedPAC, Representatives Greg Walden...

CA Plans Medical Loss Ratio Guidelines for Dental Insurance Plans

by Thomas Beaton

Consumers of dental plans may benefit from more transparency around the medical loss ratio (MLR) of dental insurance options, asserts the California Dental Association (CDA). In a recent research paper published in Health Affairs, the CDA...

Handful of States Propose Lower ACA Premium Rates for 2019

by Thomas Beaton

Several states have announced lower ACA premium rates for 2019, bucking a national trend brought on by unstable markets and regulatory changes.   While early proposals from a number of states, including Virginia, Maryland, and...

Payers Sue to Collect 2017 Cost Sharing Reduction Payments

by Thomas Beaton

Payer organizations are exercising their right to use the court system to collect cost sharing reduction (CSR) payments that were not provided in the last quarter of 2017. A number of lawsuits are challenging the government’s...

CMS Adds Flexibility to Medicare Part D Formulary Strategies

by Thomas Beaton

CMS is encouraging Medicare Part D health plans to adopt new formulary design strategies that are geared towards lowering drug prices and improving consumer choice. A memo from the agency highlights a major upcoming change to the...

ACA Health Insurance Tax to Cost $16B, Lead to Higher Premiums

by Thomas Beaton

The Affordable Care Act’s health insurance tax (HIT) is expected to levy $16 billion in fees for health insurers by 2020, leading payers to increase premiums by an anticipated 2.2 percent, according to a Oliver-Wyman report...

Next Generation ACO Model Saved Medicare $62M in 2016

by Thomas Beaton

Next Generation Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) saved the Medicare program $62 million during their first year of operation in 2016, encouraging CMS to expand downside risk models across Medicare. Next Generation ACOs accept the...

GOP Senators Propose to Reinforce Pre-Existing Condition Protections

by Thomas Beaton

Half a dozen Republican Senators have introduced a bill that would ensure the Affordable Care Act’s pre-existing condition protections would remain a federal law despite upcoming legal challenges. The Ensuring Coverage for Patients...

CMS Provides $8.4M to Stabilize State Insurance Markets

by Thomas Beaton

CMS has awarded $8.4 million to 31 states in an effort to stabilize state insurance markets and increase the number of affordable health plan options for beneficiaries. Recipients are allowed to use the ACA-funded State Flexibility Grant...

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