Noteworthy News

Archive for February, 2018

 

Administration Slows Movement Toward Medicare Quality Payments

The Trump administration is slowing Medicare’s movement toward making greater use of quality in its payment system. The Obama administration’s goal of having 50 percent of Medicare payments made through a quality or alternative payment model by the end of 2018 now appears to be out of sight.  Instead, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has partially canceled two bundled payment programs – one for joint replacement and another for cardiac rehabilitation programs – and announced that before introducing new programs it wants to take a closer look at the successes and failures of the alternative payment model programs [&hellip

Senators Push IRS on Non-Profit Compliance

Two prominent senators have written to the Internal Revenue Service seeking information about what the agency is doing to ensure that non-profit hospitals comply with the requirements for providing sufficient community benefits to justify their tax-exempt status. Senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, and Chuck Grassley (R-IA), a senior member of that committee, have asked the IRS to provide their committee with specific information about how the IRS evaluates non-profit hospitals’ Form 990 Schedule H; about guidance the IRS provides regarding how hospitals define their communities and their communities’ needs; about the performance and outcome of [&hellip

Lowering Prescription Drug Costs

Shifting Medicare Part B drug coverage into Medicare Part D. Reducing Medicare Part D co-pays for generic drugs. Increasing the number of pharmacy benefit managers. Establishing expedited review for new versions of brand-name drugs. Tying U.S. drug prices to prices paid for the same drugs in other countries. Using U.S. trade policies to compel other countries to pay more for American pharmaceutical products. These are among the ideas presented in a new report by the White House Council of Economic Advisers detailing steps that might be taken to reduce prescription drug prices in the U.S. To learn more about these [&hellip

Medicaid Changes: More Than Just Work Requirements Coming?

While the green light for state applications to impose work requirements on their Medicaid recipients is receiving all of the attention, the Trump administration has issued guidance that appears to pave the way for other major changes in the Medicaid program as well. Specifically, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued guidance that will enable states to pursue section 1115 waivers to test different ways of serving Medicaid patients that are otherwise not permitted under federal Medicaid law, including: establishing time limits on how many months or years individuals may be enrolled in Medicaid; locking out for a [&hellip

340B on the Move?

Consider moving the section 340B prescription drug discount program from the Health Resources and Services Administration to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. That was the message in a recent letter from Senate Finance Committee chairman Orrin Hatch to new Secretary of Health and Human Services Alex Azar. In his letter, Senate Hatch observes that HRSA lacks the necessary regulatory authority to oversee the 340B program. The agency only has the authority to regulate in three areas, which include establishing an alternative dispute resolution process, imposing civil monetary penalties against manufacturers who knowingly overcharge covered entities, and calculating the [&hellip

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