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Archive for June, 2009

CMS Warns of Scam Targeting Physicians

Thursday, June 18th, 2009

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is warning physicians of a scam in which physicians’ offices are receiving faxes instructing them to provide an account information update within 48 hours in order to prevent a gap in Medicare payments. The fax may contain the CMS logo, the contractor logo or both. CMS advises physicians to check with their Medicare carrier or Medicare Administrative Contractor before responding to any such fax.

Medicare providers should only send information to a Medicare contractor using the address provided by CMS on its Web site at http://www.cms.hhs.gov/MedicareProviderSupEnroll/.

MedPAC Issues June Report

Wednesday, June 17th, 2009

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its June report to Congress. The latest report explores the creation of accountable care organizations, which is a set of health care providers including primary care physicians, specialists and at least one hospital that would receive incentive payments for constraining costs while improving care quality. The Commissioners also examined physician self-referral for imaging services and found that self-referral was associated with increased use of imaging services. This is also associated with higher total spending, which is contrary to claims that it reduces costs by preventing expensive interventions. The report also describes Medicare’s role in graduate medical education and, while not making recommendations, offers options for future work on this topic.

The entire MedPAC report is available at http://www.medpac.gov/documents/Jun09_EntireReport.pdf.

LTCH Supplemental Proposed Rule Published

Thursday, June 4th, 2009

On June 3rd, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published a Long term Care Hospital (LTCH) supplemental proposed rule that corrects the Medicare payments to long-term care hospitals in 2010 to an estimated 2.2% instead of the previously proposed 2.8%. CMS stated that the lower payment estimate accounts for an error in the re-weighting of the LTCH payment unit, the LTC-MS-DRG, that was identified in the fiscal year 2009 LTCH final rule.

The supplemental proposed rule can be found by going to http://frwebgate4.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/TEXTgate.cgi?WAISdocID=690283486147+0+1+0&WAISaction=retrieve

H1N1 Flu Interim Guidance Published by CDC

Wednesday, June 3rd, 2009

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention released interim guidance for clinicians regarding the 2009 H1N1 flu virus as it relates to HIV-infected adults and adolescents. While there is insufficient data to determine who is at higher risk for complications of H1N1 flu, adults and adolescents with HIV infection are known to be at higher risk for viral and bacterial lower respiratory tract infections and for recurrent pneumonias, the guidance notes.

The guidance documents are available at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/guidance_HIV.htm.