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MedPAC Offers Provider Rate Recommendations for FY 2018

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has submitted its annual Medicare payment rate recommendations to Congress. The recommendations, required by law, include: rate increases as required by current law for hospital inpatient payments, hospital outpatient payments, physicians, other health professional services, and outpatient dialysis payments; no updates for ambulatory surgical centers, skilled nursing facilities, long-term-care hospitals, and hospices; and five percent rate reductions for home health agencies and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. MedPAC continued its past practice of recommending reform of the manner in which Medicare pays for post-acute-care services, maintaining that the unified payment system it has proposed would save $30 [&hellip

MedPAC Meets, Discusses Issues

Members of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met for two days last week in Washington, D.C. to discuss a number of policy issues important to health care providers.  Among those issues were: a unified payment system for post-acute care hospital and skilled nursing facility use by Medicare beneficiaries who reside in nursing homes refining merit-based incentive payment systems (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Systems (A-APMs) to encourage primary care Go here to see the issue briefs and presentations used to guide MedPAC commissioners’ deliberations

Group Seeks Preservation, Reform of Federal Innovation Effort

A coalition of 35 patient, physician, and hospital groups has written to new Secretary of Health and Human Services Tom Price and asked him to continue the federal government’s exploration of new ways to deliver and pay for Medicare services but to seek certain improvements in how those efforts are undertaken. The coalition Healthcare Leaders for Accountable Innovation in Medicare asked Secretary Price for a reformed Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation so that it operates with … appropriately-scaled, time-limited demonstration projects, greater transparency, improved data-sharing, and broader collaboration with the private sector. The coalition also called for CMMI to [&hellip

Serving High-Need, High-Cost Medicare Patients

With Medicare beneficiaries who have four or more chronic conditions accounting for 90 percent of Medicare hospital readmissions and 74 percent of Medicare costs (both 2010 figures), policy-makers are constantly looking for better ways to serve such individuals. Academic research suggests that these beneficiaries need a variety of non-medical social interventions and supports, most of which are not covered by Medicare. With this in mind, the Bipartisan Policy Center has prepared a review of current regulatory, payment, and other barriers that prevent providers and insurers from meeting some of the non-medical needs of high-need, high-cost patients that result in such [&hellip

Cures Law Addresses Shortcomings in Readmissions Program

The 21st Century Cures Act passed last December includes a provision that addresses perceived inequities in Medicare’s readmissions reduction program. Those inequities centered around holding safety-net hospitals, thought to care for more medically and socially challenging patients than the typical hospital, to the same standard as those typical hospitals when assessing penalties under Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program. While proponents of addressing this perceived inequity focused on addressing it through socio-economic risk adjustment, the Cures Act took another approach, as a recent article on the Health Affairs Blog explained: The Cures Act changes this by instructing HHS to set different penalty thresholds [&hellip

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