Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services-CMS

Medicare/Medicaid Reform and ACA Repeal on the Horizon, MACRA Moves Forward for Now

The new administration’s agenda for health care may have come into clearer focus with President-Elect Donald Trump’s nomination of House Representative Tom Price, MD, a Republican from Georgia, as Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Seema Verma, MPH, as CMS Administrator. The American Medical Association (AMA) released a statement of strong support for Congressman Price, encouraging a swift confirmation vote. “Dr. Price,” the AMA said, “has been a leader in the development of health policies to advance patient choice and market-based solutions as well as reduce excessive regulatory burdens that diminish time devoted to patient care and increase costs.”


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QRUR Informal Review Also Available.

Physicians and other eligible professionals and practices who failed to meet criteria for satisfactory PQRS reporting in calendar year (CY) 2015 now face a negative 2% adjustment in Medicare Part B payments for CY 2017. Physicians who believe CMS has inappropriately determined that a negative PQRS payment adjustment applies to them have until November 30* to request an informal review.  CMS set forth the following instructions for requesting an informal review.  *Deadline for requesting informal review of VM calculations now extended to December 7, 2016.


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On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released its final rule implementing the new Quality Payment Program for physicians in lieu of the repealed sustainable growth rate factor (SGR). Rather than facing substantial annual reductions in Medicare payment fees as a result of the SGR, physicians now have two interrelated pathways to earn quality-based, cost efficient incentive payments under Medicare:  the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs). MIPS consolidates three existing quality-based incentives programs – the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Physician Value-based Payment Modifier (VM), and the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program – while maintaining an ongoing focus on achieving quality and cost efficiencies through use of certified EHR technology (CEHRT).

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CMS proposed rule details Medicare’s new physician “Quality Payment Program”

Reporting under new measures slated to begin in 2017

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the federal agency responsible for Medicare payment to physicians, released a proposed rule on April 27, 2016, setting forth key provisions of its Quality Payment Program for physicians, implementing key provisions in the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula for annually adjusting Medicare payment to the nation’s physicians, replacing the SGR with a value-based payment system to be developed by CMS consistent with MACRA’s directives. The proposed rule has been published in the May 9, 2016 Federal Register. Comments are due by June 27, 2016.


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The billing physician must be the supervising physician.

The final CY (calendar year) 2016 Medicare physician payment rule is out and published in the November 16, 2015 Federal Register. In that rule, CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) made two changes clarifying Medicare’s Part B “incident to” billing rule found at 42 CFR 410.26. The amended regulatory language becomes effective on January 1, 2016.


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State plans must consider impact of provider rates on beneficiary access

US Supreme Court says providers cannot challenge Medicaid payment rates in a court of law

Physicians under Iowa’s Medicaid program consistently provide quality medical care to our State’s 560,000 Medicaid beneficiaries despite payment rates that, according to the Iowa Medical Society, are nearly the same as rates paid to physicians in 2000. IA Health Link requires Medicaid’s four contracted managed care organizations (MCOs) to pay physicians no less than the Medicaid fee-for-service rates in effect on July 1, 2015; Medicaid-enrolled providers who do not sign with an MCO suffer a 10% out-of-network reduction in payment rates. In 2016, physicians again will petition the Iowa General Assembly for a Medicaid rate increase, an ask that may be at odds with the substantial cost-savings goal of IA Health Link.


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A Topical Rundown

On July 8, 2015, CMS released its calendar year (CY) 2016 proposed Medicare physician payment rule in prepublication form; the rule will be formally published in the July 15 Federal Register. Comments on the proposed rule are due on September 8, 2015.

The prepublication version of the proposed rule can be found

Some time ago, we were asked by a reader, “Is an employer self-funded medical plan required to have a Health Plan Identifier (HPID)?”

We thought this general information might be helpful. Please remember this information and blog is NOT LEGAL ADVICE, and you should consult with your own attorney. The inquirer correctly notes that the

The Senate passed H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), on a vote of 92-8. Iowa’s Senators Joni Ernst and Charles Grassley voted in favor of the bill. The Senate considered amendments to the bill as passed by the House, but none were adopted. The H.R. 2 now goes to the President

BIPARTISAN HOUSE VOTE TO REPEAL THE SGR – 0.5% PHYSICIAN INCREASE EACH YEAR THROUGH 2019 — EXTENSION OF THE 1.0 WORK GPCI FLOOR THROUGH 2017 – NO ICD-10 DELAY

Senate to Vote When It Returns – CMS Issues Payment Advisory

The House of Representatives took what the House of Medicine rightfully can call a historic