Monday, September 17th, 2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has produced a medical identity theft web-based training course that is currently available on the CMS Medicare Learning Network website (see link below). The Safeguarding Your Medical Identity course is designed to educate Medicare providers on how to recognize the risks of medical identify theft and the resources available to protect their medical identity. It discusses the scope and definition of medical identity theft, common schemes using stolen identities, consequences for victims, mitigation strategies, and appropriate actions for potential victims of medical identity theft. The training course features Dr. Shantanu Agrawal, Medical Director of the Center for Program Integrity. Health care professionals can earn a total of 1.0 hour of Continuing Medical Education (CME) credit. Registration is required to earn CME credit, and instructions for registration can be found at: http://www.cms.gov/Outreach-and-Education/Medicare-Learning-Network-MLN/MLNProducts/Downloads/SafeMed-ID-Products.pdf
CMS is also requesting cooperation from any provider associations, medical societies and other organizations on this distribution, to post if possible, the link above to their website informing their members of this free training opportunity. As always, we thank you for your assistance.
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services
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Monday, March 12th, 2012
Tuesday, January 10th, 2012
Flu Season is Here! While seasonal flu outbreaks can happen as early as October, flu activity usually peaks in January. Remind your patients that annual vaccination is recommended for optimal protection. Medicare pays for the seasonal flu vaccine and its administration for seniors and others with Medicare with no co-pay or deductible. Healthcare workers, who may spread the flu to high risk patients, should get vaccinated too. Don’t forget to immunize yourself and your staff. Protect your patients. Protect your family. Protect yourself. Get the Flu Vaccine—Not the Flu.
Remember – The flu vaccine plus its administration are covered Part B benefits. CMS has posted the 2011-2012 seasonal flu vaccine payment limits at http://www.CMS.gov/McrPartBDrugAvgSalesPrice/10_VaccinesPricing.asp. Note that the flu vaccine is NOT a Part D-covered drug.
For more information on coverage and billing of the flu vaccine and its administration, as well as related educational provider resources, visit http://www.CMS.gov/MLNProducts/35_PreventiveServices.asp and http://www.cms.gov/immunizations.
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Friday, January 6th, 2012
The revised Medicare fee schedule for January 1, to February 29, 2012 is up on-line at:
Please be sure to review your correct NYS payment locality.
Again, as you should know, CONGRESS voted on at least five (5) separate Medicare Physician Fee Schedules for calendar year 2010. This caused the Medicare contractors to reprocess physicians’ claims for the first 5 months of the 2010 year and resulted in some peculiar recovery actions. Please use the following link to locate your elected officials and contact them to urge that 2010 not be repeated: http://www.mssny.org/mssnyip.cfm?c=s&nm=Grassroots_Action The Medicare fee schedule needs to be properly addressed. Fixing the flawed Medicare payment system and protecting Medicare beneficiaries’ access to doctors is vital. Congress must pass legislation permanently reforming the SGR and address this issue once and for all. The pattern of threatened SGR cuts and last-minute Congressional rescues is in itself not a sustainable solution and must be remedied.
Regina McNally, VP
Division of Socio-Medical Economics
Medical Society of the State of New York
Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
Below is a press statement issued by House Speaker Boehner, announcing that the House and Senate have reached agreement on a two month extension of important policies that expire on January 1, including a reprieve from the 27.4 percent Medicare physician payment cut that is scheduled to take effect. Legislators plan to approve this proposal before Christmas, and a House-Senate conference committee will convene in January to work on a longer-term agreement. At a press conference, Speaker Boehner said the goal is to extend all the expiring programs for a full year, except for the physician payment cut reprieve which is to be extended for two years.
In a press statement released today, the AMA urged Congress to use this time constructively and develop the permanent solution to the sustainable growth rate formula that all agree is needed.
WASHINGTON, DC – House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) today issued the following statement:
“Senator Reid and I have reached an agreement that will ensure taxes do not increase for working families on January 1 while ensuring that a complex new reporting burden is not unintentionally imposed on small business job creators. Under the terms of our agreement, a new bill will be approved by the House that reflects the bipartisan agreement in the Senate along with new language that allows job creators to process and withhold payroll taxation under the same accounting structure that is currently in place. The Senate will join the House in immediately appointing conferees, with instructions to reach agreement in the weeks ahead on a full-year payroll tax extension. We will ask the House and Senate to approve this agreement by unanimous consent before Christmas. I thank our Members – particularly those who have remained here in the Capitol with the holidays approaching – for their efforts to enact a full-year extension of the payroll tax cut for working families.”
Wednesday, December 21st, 2011
Dateline : December 20, 2012,
The House of Representatives held a series of votes regarding H.R. 3630, legislation that would extend an expiring payroll tax reduction and unemployment insurance benefits, as well as stop a 27.4 percent Medicare physician payment cut that is scheduled to take effect on January 1. The net result was to leave the status of 2012 payment rates in limbo.
Votes on H.R. 3690: As originally passed by the House on December 13 by a vote of 234-193, the legislation would have provided Medicare physician payment updates of 1 percent a year for two years, followed by a return to the current negative trend line produced by the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula. But, due to disagreements over financial offsets and other policy issues unrelated to the SGR, the legislation could not attract a sufficient number of votes to pass the Senate.
On December 17, the Senate voted 89-10 to pass an amended version of the bill that would extend all the expiring policies, including current Medicare physician payment rates, for two months. The rationale for the short-term extension was to avoid disruptions on January 1 and provide time for further negotiations on financing longer-term extensions.
House action on December 20: Following the Senate’s action, a significant number of House Republicans expressed strong opposition to the two-month extension, and several relevant votes were scheduled for today. Most important of these, the House approved a resolution by a vote of 229-193 to disagree with the Senate and appoint members to a House-Senate conference committee, which would be charged with working out differences between the two versions of the bill.
Prior to the House votes today, the Senate leadership announced that the Senate would not reconvene over the holidays to engage in further negotiations and votes. In addition, members of the House are departing this evening for the holidays, after being informed that they could be called back to Washington on short notice. At this time, it does not appear likely that the outstanding issues will be resolved before January 1.
Outlook for January: On December 19, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced that it would hold claims for 2012 physician services for 10 business days, until January 17, to avoid processing payments at the lower rate. After that date claims will be processed on a first in, first paid basis at the reduced rates until the situation is resolved.
The House is currently scheduled to return to Washington on January 17, while the Senate is scheduled to return on January 23. However, there are reports that the House, at least, may move up the date of its return to January 3.
AMA views: The AMA issued strong statements following the House and Senate votes reaffirming its opposition to any short-term patches to the SGR formula, denouncing the political brinkmanship that left the issue unresolved until Congress was adjourning, and calling for a bipartisan effort to repeal flawed and disruptive formula once and for all.
Throughout the year, the AMA has been pursuing a strategy for repealing the SGR that was developed in consultation with state medical societies and national medical specialty societies. We continued to oppose short-term remedies that serve to make future cuts deeper and the cost of permanent payment reform increasingly steep. And, throughout the year, bicameral and bipartisan support has been expressed in Congress for permanently addressing the Medicare physician payment crisis. Nonetheless, physicians and their patients once again find themselves confronting uncertainty and instability. It is long past time for Congress to act decisively and protect access to care for senior citizens and military families that rely on TRICARE—they and their physicians deserve better.
The AMA will provide additional updates on the status of the 2012 payment rates as events unfold. With the expectation that Congress will be in recess, we will defer any new grassroots messaging between now and the New Year. New grassroots messages will be available after January 1 or if Congress decides to return to Washington between the holidays. The AMA’s latest grassroots messages can always be viewed at www.ama-assn.org/go/grassroots, and physicians can reach their federal legislators by telephone using our toll-free physician’ grassroots hotline number: 1-800-833-6354.
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Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Do you use a P.O. Box or lock box address as you billing provider address to receive payments? If you submit claims electronically, you will be required use only a street address or physical location as the billing provider address. Continuing to report a P.O. Box in the billing provider address field will cause your claims to reject.
Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), all physicians and other health care providers that submit claims electronically are required to transition to the Version 5010 transactions by Jan. 1. One of many data reporting changes in the Version 5010 transactions is the requirement to report only a street address or physical location as the billing provider address.
Practices that wish to continue having payments sent to a P.O. Box or lock box will report this address in the “pay-to” address field.
You may need to work with your practice management system vendor, billing service, or clearinghouse to have this address change made for your claims. Talk to them today to find out if a change is needed and when it will be done. This work needs to be done prior to Jan. 1 to prevent claims rejections and interruptions in your cash flow.
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Monday, November 14th, 2011
On November 7th, the Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program launched in New York. This means that eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals in New York will be able to complete their incentive program registration. More information about the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program can be found on the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Program Basics page of the CMS EHR website.
If you are a resident of New York, and are eligible to participate in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, visit your State Medicaid Agency website for more information on your state’s participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program. Click on a State below to access its website.
As of November 7th, 39 states have launched Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs and through October, 23 states have issued incentive payments to Medicaid EPs and eligible hospitals who have adopted, implemented, or upgraded certified EHR technology. CMS looks forward to announcing the launches of additional states’ programs in the coming months.
For a complete list of states that have already begun participation in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program, see the Medicaid State Information page on the CMS EHR website.
Want more information about the EHR Incentive Programs?
Make sure to visit the EHR Incentive Programs website for the latest news and updates on the EHR Incentive Programs.
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Monday, October 24th, 2011
HHS Announces New Incentives When Caring for People With Medicare
New tools help doctors and other healthcare providers improve quality of care
Thu Oct 20 – People with Medicare will be able to benefit from a new program designed to encourage primary care doctors, specialists, hospitals, and other healthcare providers to coordinate their care under a final regulation issued today by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Created by the Affordable Care Act, these final rules on Accountable Care Organizations add to the menu of options for providers looking to better coordinate care for patients and will make it easier for providers to deliver high quality care and use healthcare dollars more wisely.
The initiatives announced today are just two of several efforts made possible by the Affordable Care Act to help bring better health, better care and lower costs not just to Medicare beneficiaries, but to all Americans. For example, the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Initiative and Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative offer alternatives to coordinate and improve healthcare.
The two initiatives launched today – the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the Advance Payment model – will help providers form Accountable Care Organizations and reflect the significant input provided by stakeholders as well as lessons learned by innovators in care coordination in the private sector.
The Shared Savings Program final rule is posted at: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-27461_PI.pdf.
The CMS press release is available at: http://www.cms.gov/apps/media/press/release.asp?Counter=4132.
The Advanced Payment solicitation is posted at: http://innovations.CMS.gov/areas-of-focus/seamless-and-coordinated-care-models/advance-payment/.
For more information, fact sheets are posted at: http://www.HealthCare.gov/news/factsheets/2011/10/accountable-care10202011a.html and http://www.CMS.gov/ACO/.
The joint CMS and HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) Interim Final Rule with Comment Period addressing waivers of certain fraud and abuse laws in connection with the Shared Savings Program is posted at: www.OFR.gov/inspection.aspx.
The Antitrust Policy Statement is posted at: www.FTC.gov/opp/aco/ and http://www.justice.gov/atr/public/health_care/aco.html.
The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) Fact Sheet, Tax-Exempt Organizations Participating in the Medicare Shared Savings Program through Accountable Care (FS-2001-11), will be posted at: http://www.IRS.gov.
For additional information you may view the CMS Fact Sheets (10/20) posted at: https://www.CMS.gov/apps/media/fact_sheets.asp
Federal Register Links:
Stark Waivers: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-27460_PI.pdf
Advanced Payment: http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2011-27458_PI.pdf
Thursday, October 20th, 2011
Description of the Problem
For dates of service in September 2011, influenza vaccinations are being priced using the 2010-2011 influenza season rates.
What This Means to You
Providers are receiving incorrect payment for influenza vaccination claims. If you identify influenza vaccinations where you were paid incorrectly, please hold your appeal requests. As soon as the pricing files are updated you will be notified and you may request an adjustment of your claims. Until the new pricing files are uploaded National Government Services cannot reprocess any claims. If you have not already submitted your influenza vaccinations for September, please consider holding your claims until the new pricing files are in effect.
10/20/2011: National Government Services is aware of this issue and is working in collaboration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to rectify the pricing disparity as soon as possible. Thank you for your patience.
National Government Services, Inc.
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