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Archive for March, 2016

Medicare Savings Estimated at $473.1 Billion Since 2009

Friday, March 25th, 2016

According to a report released by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Medicare spent $473.1 billion less on personal health care expenditures between 2009 and 2014 than what would have been spent if the 2000-2008 average growth rate had continued through 2014. Using data from the Treasury Department on Medicare benefit outlays in 2015, HHS estimates that per enrollee spending growth will continue to be low at around 1%, leading to a cumulative reduction in spending of approximately $648.6 billion between 2009 and 2015. In addition, the study found that Medicare spending on inpatient care and post-acute care remained flat in 2014.

For more information, visit https://aspe.hhs.gov/pdf-report/health-care-spending-growth-and-federal-policy

New ICD-10 Diagnosis Codes Released

Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has released roughly 1,900 diagnosis codes that will be added to the ICD-10 coding system for health care claims in fiscal year 2017. 3,651 new ICD-10 PCS inpatient procedure codes for FY 2017 were posted earlier this month on the CMS website.

For more information, go to www.cdc.gov.

Powdered Medical Glove Ban Proposed

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has issued a proposed rule that would ban most powdered medical gloves. The agency stated that aerosolized glove powder on natural rubber latex gloves can carry proteins that may cause respiratory allergic reactions, and powdered synthetic gloves are associated with airway and wound inflammation and post-surgical adhesions. The ban would apply to powdered surgeon’s gloves, powdered patient examination gloves, and absorbable powder for lubricating surgeon’s gloves. The agency does not expect the ban to cause a glove shortage or impact medical practice, noting that many non-powdered protective glove options are available. It will accept comments on the proposed rule for 90 days.

The proposed rule can be found by visiting https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-06360

CMS Proposes to Test New Payment Models for Medicare Part B Drugs

Tuesday, March 8th, 2016

On March 8, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule to test new models for how Medicare Part B pays for prescription drugs provided in physician offices and hospital outpatient departments. The proposed model would test whether changing the add-on payment to 2.5% plus a flat fee payment of $16.80 per drug per day changes prescribing incentives and leads to improved quality and value. CMS would update the flat fee at the beginning of each year by the percentage increase in the consumer price index for medical care for the most recent 12-month period. The test would begin in late 2016. Comments are being accepted through May 9.

This proposed rule can be found at https://federalregister.gov/a/2016-05459

MedPAC Discusses Post-acute Care Payment System

Friday, March 4th, 2016

On March 3, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) discussed its pending report to Congress on a prototype payment system that, if approved by Congress, could replace the current payment systems for home health, skilled nursing, inpatient rehabilitation, and long-term care hospital services.  Mandated by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014, the prototype includes separate payment tiers for “institutional” and “home-based” post-acute care, and includes high-cost and short-stay outlier components. In April, MedPAC expects to vote on a final report for submission to Congress in June. CMS will then use the prototype to develop a new, unified payment system for post-acute care.

For more information, visit http://medpac.gov/-research-areas-/post-acute-care

ICD-10 Assessment Tool Kit Released

Friday, March 4th, 2016

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released a toolkit to help health care providers track and respond to certain ICD-10 performance indicators in order to improve productivity and cash flow.

For more information, visit https://www.cms.gov/Medicare/Coding/ICD10/Downloads/ICD10NextStepsToolkit20160226.pdf