CMS advised to reduce supervision level for 18 outpatient therapeutic services   03/12/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' Advisory Panel on Hospital Outpatient Payment this week recommended reducing the supervision level for 18 outpatient services from direct to general supervision, meaning the service could be performed under the overall direction of a physician or an appropriate non-physician practitioner without requiring their presence. The proposed services include blood transfusions; declot vascular devices; withdrawal of arterial blood; chest wall manipulation; subcutaneous infusion; and certain chemotherapy services. CMS soon will post on its OPPS website its preliminary decision about whether to adopt the recommendations, which will be followed by a 30-day public comment period before the agency issues a final decision. The final decision should be effective July 1. Testifying on the issue at the advisory panel meeting were representatives from Lincoln Hospital in Davenport, WA; the Illinois Critical Access Hospital Network; and Kewanee (IL) Hospital.
AHA recommends changes to IRSs proposed Section 501(r) guidance   03/12/2014
AHA today recommended several additions and clarifications to proposed Internal Revenue Service guidance establishing procedures for charitable hospitals to correct and disclose certain failures to meet Section 501(r) requirements. “The proposed correction and disclosure procedures provide a good foundation for a hospital to determine what measures must be taken to address an infraction that is more than minor or inadvertent but not willful or egregious,” wrote Melinda Hatton, AHA senior vice president and general counsel. Among other clarifications, AHA urged that the final guidance “state affirmatively that, where a policy exists and meets the 501(r) requirements, and the hospital is able to demonstrate substantial compliance with the policy, it will be considered minor and inadvertent if the hospital fails to apply it properly in a given case, or set of cases.” The letter also recommends that the agency apply a “best efforts” or “good faith” safe harbor when a hospital’s corrective action is examined. Created by the Affordable Care Act, Section 501(r) of the Internal Revenue Code requires tax-exempt hospitals to conduct a community health needs assessment every three years, adopt a written financial assistance policy and limit amounts charged to individuals eligible for assistance, among other requirements.
HHS: Marketplace enrollments up 29% in February   03/12/2014
About 943,000 people selected a private health plan through state or federally-facilitated health insurance marketplaces in February, bringing the total since October to 4.2 million, the Department of Health and Human Services reported yesterday. The February numbers show a 29% increase in total enrollees and a 33% increase in young adult enrollees since January. The figures include people who have not yet paid their first month’s premium. About 31% of enrollees to date are children or adults under age 35. About six in 10 people selected a silver plan and two in 10 a bronze plan. About eight in 10 people who selected a plan qualified for federal financial assistance in paying their premiums. In addition to private plan enrollments by state, metal level, age and gender, the report shows nearly 4.4 million people submitting applications through the new marketplaces since October have been deemed eligible for Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program. The first open enrollment period for the marketplaces closes March 31.