Many physicians recently received a notice from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) notifying them of the opportunity to register with the CMS “Open Payments” system and review financial data reported about them by drug and device manufacturers under the federal Physician Payments Sunshine Act (“Sunshine Act”). This had led to some confusion… Continue Reading
According to a final rule published by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on August 4, 2014, providers will be required to use the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision for diagnosis coding starting on October 1, 2015. Until then providers are to continue using the 9th Revision (ICD-9). Given the winding path that ICD-10 has… Continue Reading
Physician ancillary service joint ventures continue to proliferate and not surprisingly, federal and state regulators are on the lookout for arrangements which may violate fraud and abuse laws . In its recent “Special Fraud Alert: Laboratory Payments to Referring Physicians”, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) has (once again) expressed concern over financial arrangement between… Continue Reading
Are you and your practice ready to be rated by Medicare? If not, you should probably get ready. According to a CMS blog post by Dr. Patrick Conway, CMS Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer, the Medicare program is getting ready to role out a five-star rating system for three provider-types including hospitals,… Continue Reading
The Office of Inspector General (OIG) today issued a proposed rule which would amend the federal civil monetary penalty (CMP) regulations addressing new CMP authorities created under the Affordable Care Act. The revised regulations would allow for civil penalties, assessments, and exclusion from Medicare for and of the following: Failure to grant OIG timely access… Continue Reading
This past Friday, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, in collaboration with the HHS Office for Civil Rights and HHS Office of the General Counsel, developed a HIPAA “Security Risk Assessment Tool.” The Security Risk Assessment Tool is a downloadable program that was developed to assist providers in performing HIPAA security… Continue Reading
CMS announced this week that it is modifying its longstanding policy regarding the release of Medicare physician payment data in response to Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requests. Since 1980, CMS’ policy has been that, for privacy reasons, it would not release Medicare payment data specific to individual physicians. However, according to a pronouncement in the Federal… Continue Reading
In recent months I have had a number of physician clients contact me to tell me that they have unexpectedly been dropped from one or more Medicare Advantage plans with which they have participated with no issue for, in some case, years. These physicians are left somewhat bewildered because these terminations are being done without cause and without explanation. A… Continue Reading
It is still evident to me that too many physician practices still do not have effective fraud and abuse compliance programs integrated into their practices. To date there has been no federal or state mandate that physicians implement a compliance program but such a mandate is coming. In fact, the Affordable Care Act of 2010… Continue Reading
As the implementation of the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) continues in fits and starts, healthcare providers are scrambling to best position themselves to accommodate anticipated and developing payment models. Unfortunately no one really knows what these new payment models will look like or how they will ultimately work. It is apparent, however, that most… Continue Reading
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last several weeks, you are likely well aware of the budget sequester that took effect on March 1. The sequestration requires "across the board" cuts in federal spending. That, in and of itself, may not be such a bad news. However, what you may not be… Continue Reading
Physician Payment Sunshine Act
Yesterday the U.S. Department of Justice announced that it has entered into a $26M False Claims settlement with a dermatologist in Florida. According to the DOJ, this is one of the largest False Claims settlements against an individual in history. The physician was accused of allegedly accepting kickbacks from a pathology lab and billing for medically… Continue Reading
State’s “more stringent” Stark law restrictions upheld by court.
Last week the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released final regulations modifying existing HIPAA enforcement, privacy and security regulations.
OIG has announced its priorities for 2013 and some are of special interest to physicians.
It appears to be business as usual on Capitol Hill this New Year’s Eve. Once again, Congress has failed to fix the sustainable growth rate formula in the Medicare physician fee schedule. Unless at least a temporary "patch" is put in place to keep Medicare physician payment rates steady, physicians will experience a 27% cut… Continue Reading
With the emphasis placed on primary care under the federal Affordable Care Act, what will the federal government need to do to entice the best and the brightest to go into primary care?
It’s no secret that Medicare pays significantly more for certain services when they are performed in a hospital outpatient department than when they are performed in a physician office. In fact, this is one of the reasons privately practicing physicians have been folding up shop in favor of hospital employment. Hospitals can make more from these services than… Continue Reading
Recent press releases provide notice of activities that draw the government’s ire — and result in serious criminal consequences. Focusing on these issues is a helpful exercise for any physician trying to stay within the law.
A recent court decision concerns the method of rotating teaching physicians between multiple surgeries and billing Medicare for those services, and “whistleblower” claims when improperly done.
Health care fraud and abuse enforcement activity is at an all-time high yet many physicians and other providers lack a basic understanding of the key healthcare fraud and abuse statutes that apply to them. Although each state may have its own fraud and abuse laws, any healthcare provider that receives federal funds should be familiar… Continue Reading
Physicians who reassign their right to bill the Medicare program can still be liable for false claims
I have been speaking with physicians for years about the importance of developing effective fraud and abuse compliance programs in their practices and I often still get the same response: The government is only interested in the big fish like pharmaceutical manufacturers and hospitals -physicians are under the radar. Well, contrary to popular belief, it appears that there… Continue Reading