AHA-supported bill would make changes to RACs, other audit programs   10/16/2012
Reps. Sam Graves (R-MO) and Adam Schiff (D-CA) today introduced the Medicare Audit Improvement Act (H.R. 6575), legislation supported by the AHA to improve Medicare audit programs such as recovery audit contractors. The bill would establish a consolidated limit for medical record requests, and improve auditor performance by implementing financial penalties and requiring medical necessity audits to focus on widespread payment errors. Among other provisions, the legislation would improve recovery auditor transparency; restore due process rights under the AB Rebilling Demonstration; allow denied inpatient claims to be billed as outpatient claims when appropriate; and require physician review for Medicare denials. "No one questions the need for auditors to identify billing errors; but the flood of new auditing programs, along with confusing and conflicting regulations, is drowning hospitals with a deluge of redundant audits, unmanageable medical records requests and inappropriate payment denials," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack wrote Graves and Schiff in letters of support for the legislation.
FDA: Two more NECC drug products may be contaminated   10/16/2012
Two additional drug products from the New England Compounding Center may be contaminated, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration alerted health care providers last night. The agency said two patients may have been infected with fungal meningitis by the suspect products: triamcinolone acetonide (an injectable steroid) and cardioplegic solution (used during open heart surgery). The agency advised health care providers to contact patients who received any injectable medication made by NECC, or any cardioplegic solution sold or made by NECC after May 21, and ask them to contact a care provider immediately if they experience any symptoms of meningitis or infection. Providers also should report potential infections to the FDA's MedWatch Safety Information System at www.fda.gov/MedWatch/report.htm. For updates on the federal investigation and outbreak and a complete list of NECC compounded products, visit www.fda.gov or www.cdc.gov. NECC recalled three lots of a potentially contaminated injectable epidural steroid (methylprednisone acetate) on Sept. 26 after some recipients developed fungal meningitis. On Oct. 4, the FDA advised providers not to use any NECC products, and on Oct. 6, NECC expanded its recall to all of its products.
IRS reschedules hearing on proposed charitable hospital requirements   10/16/2012
The Internal Revenue Service has rescheduled to Dec. 5 a hearing on its June proposed rule implementing certain requirements for tax-exempt hospitals under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The hearing was originally scheduled for Oct. 29. AHA recently submitted comments on the proposed rule and plans to participate in the hearing. Separately, the IRS' Exempt Organizations division is asking more than 2,000 randomly selected central (parent) organizations to complete a compliance check questionnaire about their group exemption, including their relationship with subordinate organizations and how they satisfy their exemption and filing requirements.
AHA, AAMC to host member webinar on bundled payment research   10/16/2012
AHA members are invited to attend a free Oct. 29 webinar on findings from a new study on Medicare bundled payment sponsored by the AHA and Association of American Medical Colleges. The webinar, from 2-3:30 p.m. Eastern Time, will discuss key implications for policy makers and health care providers, and answer questions from the audience. To register for the event, visit www.aha.org/bundlingwebinar.
GAO reports on activities funded by ACA prevention fund   10/16/2012
The Department of Health and Human Services used the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Prevention and Public Health Fund to support 43 activities in five agencies in fiscal years 2010 and 2011, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Most of the $500 million allocated to the fund for FY 2010 went to activities administered by the Health Resources and Services Administration, while most of the $750 million allocated for FY 2011 went to activities administered by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GAO said.