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Jul 13, 2018

An avalanche of new pay proposals from the CMS seeks to reduce provider burden, so much so that it could undermine efforts to shift Medicare to a value-based system, doctors warned.

The agency released a 1,400-page proposed rule July 12 that for the first time combined the annual physician fee schedule and the Medicare Quality Payment Program rules, which implements sections of MACRA each year.

Reducing burden on providers was the key goal of the document, according to the CMS...

Jul 13, 2018

HHS Secretary Alex Azar in a private meeting with GOP House lawmakers Thursday floated standardizing the 340B drug discounts offered to providers, cutting it to 20% of the list price, a lawmaker and staff who attended the meeting told Modern Healthcare.

Several GOP members of the House Energy and Commerce health subcommittee who were present told Azar they would vigorously oppose holding critical-access and rural hospitals to this standard, which is significantly lower than the...

Jul 13, 2018

The CMS on Friday suggested revising the Medicare enrollment application used by providers to make the standards clearer for enrolling clinicians.

The agency announced a slew of revisions to the form in an information collection notice, including reorganizing the form to create a more logical flow what questions are being asked.

The new form will include new specialty codes for physicians and non-physician practitioners to choose from, questions with "Yes/No" check boxes and...

Jul 13, 2018

HHS and the CMS released its proposed changes to the 2019 physician fee schedule in a 1,473-page proposed rule on July 12. The modifications included some indications of where the agencies are headed with future Medicare regulations. Here, Modern Healthcare highlights seven ways the physician fee schedule could change.

1) Targeting high-cost procedures

Some CPT code procedures are in line for a possible drop in reimbursement. The CMS identified seven procedures that appear to...

Jul 13, 2018
Douglas Thompson is the new president of Agilify, an Ascension subsidiary that aims to help other organizations automate administrative tasks.

Thompson, whose career began in sales and marketing over an eight-year tenure at Xerox, has been president, CEO, chief operating officer, a board member and board chairman of four technology firms. Most recently, he was the CEO of revenue-cycle management company MedData.

Agilify looks to replace labor-intensive, repetitive tasks with...

Jul 13, 2018

About 1,800 unionized nurses at Vermont's largest hospital launched a two-day strike Thursday following unsuccessful contract negotiations, but hospital officials say operations continued with little disruption for patients.

Hundreds of nurses, many wearing red shirts, picketed Thursday outside the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington and at nine other locations.

"Our nurses have come out in droves to show the hospital that the proposals they're putting across the...

Jul 12, 2018

(Updated at 7 p.m. ET)

The CMS on Thursday proposed paying doctors for virtual visits and overhauling Medicare billing standards it has had in place since the 1990s.

In a lengthy proposed rule, the agency said it would pay doctors for their time when they reach out to beneficiaries via telephone or other telecommunications devices to decide whether an office visit or other service is needed. In addition, the CMS also proposed paying for the time it takes physicians to review...

Jul 12, 2018

A key House health panel on Thursday approved a $92 billion package of bills focused on expanding investments in health savings accounts after a fraught two-day hearing that highlighted fundamental GOP and Democratic disagreements over how Congress should intervene in private insurance markets.

Moreover, the cost of the bills will be a roadblock to their passage.

House Ways and Means Committee Republicans argued that the set of 11 bills will help lower patients' healthcare...

Jul 12, 2018

Massachusetts' attorney general warned a commission reviewing the proposed merger between Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Lahey Health and other hospital systems that the deal could raise healthcare costs and impede access in the state.

Maura Healey described her concerns in a July 9 letter to leaders of the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, an 11-member board that since December has been hashing out its own comprehensive investigation into the deal's cost and market...

Jul 12, 2018

The White House suggested on Thursday that Congress may need to pass a new law in order for states to impose work requirements on Medicaid beneficiaries.

Mandatory work requirements could be key to motivating adults to work as there is evidence that many are choosing not to, according to a report issued by the Council of Economic Advisers, an agency within the Executive Office of the President.

The council found that 60% of working-age Medicaid recipients who aren't disabled...

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