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Showing 23 posts in Billing/Payment.

CMS Final Rule on Reporting and Returning of Overpayments Has Potentially Only an Eight-Month Safe Harbor

The Final Rule on Reporting and Returning of Overpayments (“Final Rule”), which became effective on March 14, 2016, requires Medicare providers to report and return Medicare overpayments by the later of (i) 60 days after the date on which the overpayment was identified, or (ii) the date on which any corresponding cost report was due. This 60-day deadline for returning overpayments is suspended when any of the following occurs: Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Compliance, Medicare/Medicaid

Quality versus Quantity Transformation in Healthcare Picks Up Pace as CMS Issues New Rules

cms issues new rulesThe march to transform Medicare from a quantity-based to a value-based system continues unabated - and the pace is quickening. Over the past several months, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued several final rules to update certain Medicare reimbursement rates and quality reporting requirements that impact vast numbers of healthcare providers. Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Medicare/Medicaid, Providers

CMS Issues Proposed Provider-Based Status Rules

On July 6, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services ("CMS") released the 2017 Outpatient Prospective Payment System ("OPPS") Proposed Rule (the "Proposed Rule"). The Proposed Rule explains how CMS plans to implement Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 ("Section 603"), which established a new site neutral payment policy for certain off-campus hospital outpatient departments.

Section 603 provides that, as of January 1, 2017, certain items and services provided by off-campus hospital outpatient departments will no longer be reimbursed under the more favorable OPPS, and will instead be paid under another "applicable payment system." Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Physicians, Providers

District Court Awards Summary Judgment to AseraCare in $200 Million Hospice False Claims Act Case

Health Care Summary Judgement - hospice false claims actOn 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 ›

Categories: Audits, Billing/Payment, Medicare/Medicaid, Providers

Is Losing Money by Employing Physicians a Stark Violation?

losing money by employing physiciansModern Health Care has reported that hospitals often lose approximately $176,000 a year per each employed physician.

While this initially seems like a surprising statistic, it is understandable that hospitals lose money when they employ physicians. Physicians in private practice often pay their staff less than comparable hospital employees. When a hospital buys a physician’s practice, the benefit costs typically increase if the staff receives the hospital’s fringe benefit package. Moreover, hospital overhead is typically higher than a private physician practice with regard to HR costs and other support services.

Many systems claim that the only way to manage the health of a given population (which is what ACO and other similar payment structures are requiring) is to be fully integrated with employed physicians, so covering the losses incurred by employing physicians is the necessary cost of preparing for the new paradigm. The ugly, and legally problematic, truth is that most health systems look beyond the income generated by physicians for treating patients but also at income from physician ancillary referrals to justify the economic losses caused by acquiring physician practices. This raises concerns under the Stark law. Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Compliance, Hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, Physicians

CMS Issues Final Rule on Reporting and Returning Overpayments

MedicareOn February 11, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued its long-awaited Final Rule on Reporting and Returning of Overpayments (the “Final Rule”). The Final Rule, which will become effective on March 14, 2016, implements section 1128J(d) of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). This Section of the ACA requires that Medicare providers report and return Medicare overpayments by the later of (A) the date that is 60 days after the date on which the overpayment was identified; or (B) the date any corresponding cost report is due, if applicable (the “60-day rule”). According to CMS, the purpose of the Final Rule is to provide “needed clarity and consistency in the reporting and returning of self-identified overpayments.”

CMS issued a Proposed Rule on Reporting and Returning of Overpayments (the “Proposed Rule”) on February 16, 2012. The Final Rule includes some important changes to the provisions of the Proposed Rule. A summary of the major provisions of the Final Rule appears below. Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Health Care Reform, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events

CMS Issues Final Home Health Payment Rules for 2016

home health payment rulesOn October 29, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued the final home health prospective payment system (PPS) rule for calendar year (CY) 2016. CMS projects that the impact of the final rule will result in a 1.4 percent (or $260 million) reduction in Medicare payments to home health agencies (HHAs) from 2015 payment levels.  Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Medicare/Medicaid

Department of Justice Enters Into Record-Breaking Stark Law Settlement

The U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), and a handful of states, recently reached a settlement agreement with Adventist Health System (Adventist), resolving Stark Law issues, as well as allegations in two separate qui tam actions that included false claims. Generally speaking, the Stark Law limits physician referrals of designated health services or “DHS” for Medicare and Medicaid patients in instances where the physician - or an immediate family member of the physician - has a financial relationship with the DHS entity.  Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Physicians

CMS Issues Final Rules for Fiscal Year 2016 Provider Payments

CMS Issues Final Rules for Fiscal Year 2016 Provider PaymentsOn July 31, 2015, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued final Medicare payment rules for federal fiscal year 2016 (the “Rules”). The Rules affect hospitals, hospices, psychiatric facilities, and rehabilitation facilities.  Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Providers

Government Intervenes in Affordable Care Act 60 day Rule Violation Allegation

Government Intervenes in Affordable Care Act 60 day Rule Violation AllegationIn a first-of-its-kind and closely followed case, a U.S. district court denied a New York health system's (Healthfirst’s) motion to dismiss the U.S. government's and State of New York's complaints in intervention under the federal False Claims Act (FCA) and New York state counterpart. This case represents the first time that the government has intervened in an FCA case based upon an allegation that a party violated the "60 day rule." The 60 day rule came into existence with the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010 and subjects parties to FCA liability for failing to report and refund an overpayment within 60 days of identification, even if the defendant received the payment through no fault of its own.

The case, Kane ex rel. United States et al. v. Healthfirst et al., involves three hospitals that were part of the Healthfirst health system network and provided care to patients that were part of Healthfirst's Medicaid managed care plan. Healthfirst received payments from the New York State Department of Health (DOH) in return for services provided to Medicaid eligible enrollees.

The government's allegations stem from overpayments to Healthfirst as a result of a software glitch. Healthfirst was first questioned about the possible overpayments by the New York State Comptroller's office in 2010. The health system tasked Kane, an employee and the eventual whistleblower in the case, to look into the payments. Five months later Kane emailed Healthfirst management a spreadsheet listing over 900 claims totaling more than $1 million that contained an erroneous billing code that may have led to the overpayments. Read More ›

Categories: Billing/Payment, Fraud & Abuse, Health Care Reform, Hospitals, Medicare/Medicaid, News & Events, Providers