Organ transplant network revises lung allocation policy for children under 12   06/11/2013
The Organ Procurement and Transplantation Network last night revised for one year the national lung allocation policy for transplant candidates under age 12 while it considers the issue further. The revised policy allows a lung transplant program to submit a request to a national lung review board for a candidate under 12 to have an additional listing, at the same hospital, for offers from adult and adolescent donors based on the existing Lung Allocation Score for adolescent and adult candidates. The pediatric candidate also would retain their priority for pediatric donors, which includes immediate access to matching donors within a 1,000-mile radius of the donor hospital. As of yesterday, 1,659 candidates were listed for a lung transplant nationwide, 30 of whom were age 10 or younger. OPTN is operated by the United Network for Organ Sharing under a contract with the Department of Health and Human Services.
OIG recommends changes to Medicare laboratory fee schedule   06/11/2013
State Medicaid plans and federal employee health plans paid between 18% and 30% less than the Medicare Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule for the top 20 clinical laboratory tests in 2011, according to a new report from the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. OIG estimates that Medicare could have saved $910 million by paying health care providers at the lowest of the surveyed rates. The report recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seek legislation that would allow it to set lower payment rates for tests under the fee schedule, and consider legislation to allow copayments and deductibles for the tests. In the report, CMS said it is exploring whether it has authority under the current statute to revise payments for laboratory tests.
FY 2013 deadline to begin Medicare EHR attestation approaching   06/11/2013
July 3 is the last day for eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals to begin their 90-day reporting period to demonstrate meaningful use for the Medicare electronic health record incentive program for fiscal year 2013. Hospitals that begin attesting to meaningful use of EHRs for the first time this year must report on specific performance metrics for a 90-day period ending on or before Sept. 30, the end of the fiscal year. Hospitals that began attesting in 2011 or 2012 must report on the metrics for a full year in FY 2013. Hospitals must attest to meaningful use for FY 2013 to benefit fully from the Medicare program's incentives. For more on Medicare EHR attestation, visit www.cms.gov.