Noteworthy News

Archive for Medicare regulations

 

MedPAC Comments on Proposed Medicare Outpatient Payment Rule

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has weighed in with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on its proposed regulation governing the 2018 hospital outpatient prospective payment system and ambulatory surgical center payment systems and quality reporting programs. Among the issues MedPAC addresses in its comment letter to CMS are the proposal to reduce Medicare reimbursement for 340B-covered prescription drugs; how to reinvest the savings such a payment cut would produce; the ability of hospitals to expand the services they offer at hospital-based outpatient departments; proposed changes in the Medicare hospital outpatient quality reporting program and ambulatory surgery center quality [&hellip

Leave 340B Alone, CMS Advisory Group Says

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should not significantly reduce Medicare payments for some prescription drugs. Or so says one of CMS’s own advisory panels. The agency’s Advisory Panel on Outpatient Prospective Payment reached this conclusion after listening to testimony from hospital industry stakeholders who told of the savings the federal government’s 340B prescription drug discount program produces and how those savings enable hospitals in low-income areas to help low-income patients who would not otherwise be able to afford their drugs and help improve access to care for low-income patients with very limited health care options. The panel’s recommendation [&hellip

Improvements Inspired by Readmissions Reduction Program Level Off

After major improvements during the early years of Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program, the program is no longer showing significant new gains. While Medicare readmissions have fallen from 21.5 percent to 17.8 percent since 2007, there has been very little improvement since 2012, suggesting that most of the benefits from the program have already been achieved. And in FY 2018, Medicare will penalize almost the same number of hospitals it penalized in FY 2017:  approximately 80 percent of the hospitals subject to the program. In FY 2018, the average penalty will be 0.73 percent of affected hospitals’ Medicare payments.  Forty-eight [&hellip

Ways and Means Seeks to Cut Medicare Red Tape

The House Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee has launched a new initiative to attempt to improve the delivery of Medicare services and eliminate statutory and regulatory obstacles to more effective care delivery. The subcommittee describes its “Medicare Red Tape Relief Project” as …a new initiative to deliver relief from the regulations and mandates that impede innovation, drive up costs, and ultimately stand in the way of delivering better care for Medicare beneficiaries. In support of this initiative, the committee has announced a three-part approach in which it will seek feedback from stakeholders, host roundtables with stakeholders across the country, [&hellip

Congress Looks at 340B Program

Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a look at the 340B prescription drug discount program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted drugs for outpatient use to hospitals that care for especially large numbers of low-income patients. The previous week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed Medicare regulation calling for significant reductions in Medicare payments for such drugs. The hearing touched on the CMS proposal to reduce Medicare payments for 340B drugs, the high prices of prescription drugs, the 340B program’s growth over the years, the possibility that the program is being abused [&hellip

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