Noteworthy News

Archive for Medicare regulations

 

Senators Seek 340B Reprieve

A bipartisan group of senators has written to Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell and Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer expressing concern about cuts in Medicare Medicare prescription drug payments to qualified providers as a result of new regulations governing the section 340B prescription drug discount program.  Those cuts have been adopted by regulation by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and will take effect beginning on January 1, 2018. Under the regulation adopted by CMS, Medicare payments for prescription drugs dispensed on an outpatient basis to low-income patients will be reduced to qualified providers by $1.6 billion in the [&hellip

The Battle Over 340B

Hospitals and other health care providers say it is an essential tool in ensuring access to care, and to prescription drugs, for their low-income patients. Pharmaceutical companies say it has expanded beyond its original purpose and is being used by hospitals to pad their profits. Members of Congress are divided:  some are supportive and some are skeptical. The section 340B program that requires drug companies to provide discounts to selected hospitals and other providers that serve large numbers of low-income patients has been the subject of controversy in recent years.  During that time, the administration has generally sided with hospitals [&hellip

CMS Announces Drive to Reduce Paperwork

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is launching a new “Meaningful Measures” initiative that will seek to reduce the regulatory burden on health care providers. According to a CMS news release, Meaningful Measures …will involve only assessing those core issues that are most vital to providing high-quality care and improving patient outcomes.  The agency aims to focus on outcome-based measures going forward, as opposed to trying to micromanage processes.. In a speech at the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, CMS administrator Seema Verma explained that this project will include moving the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

The independent agency that advises Congress and the administration on Medicare payment policies met last week in Washington, D.C. Among the issues discussed at the meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission were: the merit-based incentive payment system telehealth a redesign of Medicare’s hospital value incentive program Many of the issues MedPAC addresses – including those noted above – are very important to urban safety-net hospitals. Find the presentations and issue briefs for these subjects and others discussed at the MedPAC meeting here, on MedPAC’s web site

340B Changes Would Hurt Hospital Margins

Proposed changes in the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program would hurt hospital margins. So says Moody’s Investors Service, the credit rating agency. According to Moody’s, the margins of non-profit hospitals are already under pressure because revenue increases are not keeping pace with prescription drug costs.  Reductions of payments under the 340B program recently proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would make a challenging situation worse, Moody’s speculates. Under the 340B program, eligible hospitals purchase prescription drugs at a discount, supply them to eligible outpatients, and use the savings they gain to provide additional services and [&hellip

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