Showing 22 posts by Jennifer B. Van Regenmorter.
On January 9, 2017, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued final rules that establish minimum standards for home health agencies (the “Rules”). According to CMS, the Rules are intended to improve the quality of health care services for Medicare and Medicaid patients and strengthen patients’ rights.
The Rules, which were published in the Federal Register on January 13, 2017, come more than two years after a draft proposal was introduced in October 2014. The Rules are mostly adopted as proposed, with a few clarifying changes. The Rules will become effective on July 13, 2017. This means agencies have less than six months to make changes necessary to comply with the revisions. Read More ›
Hospice care is intended to help terminally ill beneficiaries continue living with minimal disruptions and to provide support for a beneficiary’s family and caregivers. In a recent report, the Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (OIG) found that hospices are not always meeting two key coverage requirements for the Medicare hospice benefit: (1) that beneficiaries sign an election statement and (2) that a physician certifies that the beneficiary is terminally ill. The purpose of these requirements is, among other things, to properly inform beneficiaries of the implications of hospice care and to prevent Medicare fraud. Read More ›
Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a final rule (“Final Rule”) updating the Medicare Conditions of Participation (“CoPs”) for long-term care (“LTC”) facilities. It is the first time in over 15 years that substantial LTC CoP revisions have been released.
LTC facilities affected by the Final Rule include skilled nursing facilities for Medicare and nursing facilities for Medicaid, or those facilities that are duly certified. The Final Rule took effect on November 28, 2016, however CMS has planned for a phased implementation. LTC providers must complete the three implementation phases by November 28 in the years 2016, 2017 and 2018, respectively. CMS has estimated that the costs of compliance will be $62,900 in the first phase of implementation, and $55,000 per year for phases two and three. Read More ›
A recent Memorandum issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") to state survey agency directors (the "Memorandum") discusses a nursing home's responsibility to protect residents' privacy, particularly with regard to social media. The Memorandum was issued following a series of media reports documenting the inappropriate posting of residents' photographs on social media by nursing home staff. Read More ›
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") recently announced the statewide expansion of its temporary moratorium on the Medicare enrollment of new home health agencies ("HHAs"), subunits, and branch locations in Michigan. As a result of the moratorium expansion, effective as of July 29, 2016, new HHAs in Michigan are precluded from enrolling in Medicare until the moratorium is lifted. The temporary moratorium also precludes the Medicare enrollment of new HHAs in Florida, Illinois, and Texas. Read More ›
The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services ("HHS") recently issued a final rule that implements the nondiscrimination provisions under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (the "Final Rule"). The Final Rule becomes effective July 18, 2016. Read More ›
On March 31, 2016, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Alabama granted summary judgment for AseraCare in one of the largest False Claims Act (FCA) lawsuits against a hospice provider. In this whistleblower case, the government sought over $200 million, alleging that defendant AseraCare overbilled Medicare for hospice services by falsely certifying that patients were eligible for hospice care.
The litigation began when six AseraCare employees in Alabama, Wisconsin and Georgia (the "relators") filed whistleblower cases under the FCA. The employees alleged that AseraCare knowingly submitted false claims to Medicare by falsely certifying that patients met the Medicare eligibility requirements for the hospice benefit. In order to be eligible for the Medicare hospice benefit, a patient's physician must certify that "the individual's prognosis is for a life expectancy of 6 months or less if the terminal illness runs its normal course." 42 C.F.R. § 418.22(b)(1). The Department of Justice (DOJ) intervened in January 2012. Read More ›
The Affordable Care Act ("ACA") authorizes the innovative payment model referred to as direct primary care, and more commonly known as “concierge medicine.” Under the direct primary care model, patients can access comprehensive coverage of basic healthcare services for a flat monthly fee. Such services generally include guaranteed same-day or next-day visits with no waiting times. Concierge medicine is becoming increasingly popular in states where it is allowed. Read More ›
On April 30, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a proposed rule that would update fiscal year (“FY”) 2016 Medicare payment rates and the wage index for hospices serving Medicare beneficiaries (the “Proposed Rule”). CMS estimates that the Proposed Rule would result in a 1.3 percent ($200 million) increase in hospice payments for FY 2016. The highlights of the Proposed Rule are summarized below. Read More ›
On Friday, October 17, Governor Rick Snyder signed the Right to Try Act, which allows patients to try experimental drugs and other treatments before they have been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The law gives patients with advanced illnesses access to drugs that successfully cleared Phase 1 of an FDA approval. Phase 1 testing seeks to establish a drug's safety and profile and evaluates possible side effects. It involves 20-80 volunteers and lasts approximately one year. Read More ›
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