13 Recent Medicare, Medicaid Issues
1. The National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems, which represents public safety-net hospitals across the country, raised concerns over states rejecting the Medicaid expansion, which is part of the healthcare reform law.
2. Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D-W.Va.) asked HHS to overhaul a dual eligibles demonstration project.
3. Government Accountability Office General Counsel Lynn Gibson wrote a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius expressing the GAO's concerns over whether CMS has the legal authority to run a Medicare Advantage bonus demonstration.
4. The majority of nonelderly Medicaid patients' emergency department visits are for serious symptoms rather than minor injuries, as is often thought.
5. CMS issued two letters that seek to provide states with a blueprint for designing and implementing Medicaid care delivery and payment reforms.
6. A report from the Office of Inspector General found weaknesses in the conflict-of-interest reporting program for companies that submit proposals for Medicare Zone Program Integrity Contractors and subcontractors.
7. Texas Gov. Rick Perry directed a stern letter toward HHS and President Barack Obama's administration, saying his state will not expand Medicaid nor will it create a health insurance exchange — two components of the healthcare reform law he said "represent brazen intrusions into the sovereignty of our state." Texas is one of eight states that have already said they will opt out of the Medicaid expansion.
8. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced that more than 16 million senior citizens with original Medicare received at least one free preventive service during the first six months of 2012 because of funding from the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
9. The Massachusetts Hospital Association urged Gov. Deval Patrick in a letter to halt changes that would result in $40 million in Medicaid reductions for state hospitals, calling the policy a "direct barrier to the reform effort in Massachusetts."
10. CMS officially approved Oregon's Medicaid demonstration program, which will be centered around coordinated care organizations.
11. CMS issued a proposed rule to increase Medicare payment rates to hospital outpatient departments by 2.1 percent for calendar year 2013.
12. Primary care physicians appear to be the big winners from CMS' recently proposed rule for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule. CMS proposed primary care physicians receive a 7 percent increase in Medicare payments for the 2013 calendar year, and other primary care practitioners could see Medicare compensation increases ranging from 3 to 5 percent.
13. CMS named 89 new accountable care organizations that will participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, effective this month.
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