2010 brought significant changes in the law for the healthcare industry with the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“PPACA”), the Provena decision regarding real estate tax exemption, and the Lebron case invalidating Illinois’ cap on noneconomic damages in medical malpractice cases. 2011 brought more changes in the law, new PPACA regulations, worry and uncertainty to the healthcare industry.
Recently, the United States Department of Health and Human Services Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) published its Work Plan for fiscal year 2012 (“Work Plan”) and delineated focus points for nursing facilities and new enforcement in 2012. The Work Plan is not much different than previous work plans with the exception of increased areas of enforcement, as well as a few new areas to be looked at by OIG.
Expansion of CMS Never Events: They’re Not Just For Medicare Or Just For Hospitals Anymore
In 2005 when “Never Events” were proposed for hospitals through the Deficit Reduction Act, no one knew what the overall effect would be on hospitals or patient care. CMS later developed these and implemented these Never Events under the authority of the DRA to prevent Medicare payment to hospitals for certain “never events” or hospital acquired conditions (HACs) which were conditions that were high volume, involved higher payment, and which could be easily preventable. Now, hospitals and other health care providers have to worry about Never Events in the Medicaid space.
On March 31, 2011, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and Health and Human Services (HHS) unveiled the long-awaited federal rule on accountable care organizations. This proposed rule would implement section 3022 of the Affordable Care Act, which allows service providers and suppliers to continue receiving traditional Medicare fee-for-service payments under Parts A and B, and to be eligible for additional payments based on meeting specified quality and savings requirements.
To view the proposed rule, please visit the Office of the Federal Register website.
On March 18, 2011, the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued this regulation, implementing section 6111 of the Affordable Care Act. Section 6111 gives CMS authority to impose and collect civil monetary penalties (CMPs) against nursing homes. The penalties are reserved for nursing homes that fail to comply with federal participation requirements outlined in section 6111. Although penalties for noncompliance existed before the Affordable Care Act was promulgated, this regulation revises and expands CMS’s authority to impose and collect CMPs. The final rule is effective January 1, 2012.
For additional information about this new regulation, please visit the Office of the Federal Register website.
On March 8, 2011, a coalition comprised of physicians representing the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American College of Physicians, and the American Osteopathic Association, announced its completion of 12 new recommendations for accreditation organizations to use when developing and implementing standards for the patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs). The PCMHs are a central component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). The coalition developed the guidelines in anticipation of accreditation organizations, such as the Joint Commission, building upon its recommendations to establish updated standards for the PCMHs.
For additional information, please refer to the coalition’s guidelines.
Issued by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS)on February 18, 2011, this regulation implements section 6113 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The interim final rule amends existing legislation by introducing new notice requirements associated with long-term care (LTC) facility and skilled nursing facility (SNF) closures. Its purpose is twofold: to protect resident health and safety, and to facilitate a “smooth transition” in the event of a facility’s closure.
On December 21, 2010, CMS released Transmittal 2122 providing instructions for waiving coinsurance and deductibles for certain preventative services provided in Rural Health Clinics, as provided for in Section 4104 of the Affordable Care Act. Qualifying preventative services are those recommended by the United States Preventive Services Task Force with a grade of A or B. The transmittal is effective for services provided on or after January 1, 2011.
To read Transmittal 2122, please go to: http://www2.cms.gov/transmittals/downloads/R2122CP.pdf.
On December 3, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicare Services (CMS) announced its implementation of a primary care incentive payment program, which is scheduled to take effect in 2011. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), Medicare is authorized to offer this incentive to primary care practitioners for the services they provide under Part B, beginning January 1, 2011, and until January 1, 2016. According to section 5501(a) of the PPACA, Medicare will pay primary care practitioners “on a monthly or quarterly basis an amount equal to 10 percent of the payment amount” for such primary care services under Part B. This program is one example of the numerous incentives for primary care practitioners that will continue to be implemented under the authority of the PPACA.
For more information regarding this announcement, please go to: http://www.cms.gov/MLNMattersArticles/downloads/MM7115.pdf and http://www.cms.gov/transmittals/downloads/R2081CP.pdf.
On November 16, 2010, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the establishment of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (CMMI), under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). The acting director of the Center is Richard Gilfillan, M.D., the former president and CEO of Geisinger Health Plan and executive vice president of insurance operations for Geisinger Health System. The goal of the CMMI is to improve quality of care and make coverage more affordable for Medicaid and Medicare patients. To do this, the CMMI will collaborate with key stakeholders, which include consumers, patient advocates, physicians, hospitals, federal agencies and states. The Center will focus on three main objectives: