Archives: Compliance

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DOJ Juggernaut Will Continue To Rack in $$$$

The Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week that it collected another $4.7 billion during FY 2016 under the False Claims Act (FCA). This was the third largest haul in history, bringing total recoveries since FY 2009 up to $31.3 billion. Although DOJ did not say it directly, there seems no end in sight to … Continue Reading

MACRA and Medicare Payment Reform: CMS Plans Increased Flexibility on Provider Participation

On Thursday, CMS announced that it intends to allow providers to “pick their pace of participation” for the first compliance year of Medicare’s new payment reform model emphasizing quality patient care.  The start of the first compliance year is January 1, 2017. Thursday’s announcement lays out four options that allow providers more flexibility to comply … Continue Reading

AHA Renews Objections to OIG Hospital Compliance Reviews

In a move that could affect all hospitals reimbursed by Medicare, the American Hospital Association (AHA) this week renewed strenuous objections to various aspects of ongoing hospital compliance reviews conducted by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG). AHA’s most recent correspondence references the “numerous legal defects” it had … Continue Reading

CMS Issues Proposed Rule on MACRA Physician Payment Systems

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a proposed rule (the “Proposed Rule”) establishing two physician payment systems introduced by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).  These two systems, the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Alternative Payment Models (APM), change the way Medicare incorporates quality metrics … Continue Reading

Billions at Stake for Providers in Argument Before US Supreme Court

This week, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in Universal Health Services v. United States ex rel. Escobar, a case destined to influence the scope of False Claims Act (FCA) liability for anyone who receives payments from Medicare, Medicaid or any other federal government-funded health care program. As Justice Breyer acknowledged during oral … Continue Reading

Task Forces in 10 States Target Providers of Services to Elderly

On March 30, 2016, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced that healthcare providers who serve the elderly in the following 10 states will have task forces looking over their shoulders: California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Iowa, Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Washington. Known as the Elder Justice Task Forces (Task Forces), these partnerships combine the … Continue Reading

Ransomware Scandals Rock Hospital Systems; HHS’ Proposed Rule May Help

Hospital systems are on notice for ransomware attacking their health IT systems after three hospital systems are reported to be victims of computer viruses.   In response, one hospital system paid almost $17,000 in Bitcoin to retrieve their EHR, while the other two hospital systems worked off paper records and backup systems for a few days … Continue Reading

Final Overpayment Rule Clarifies Some, But Not All, Questions

Overview After receiving scores of comments over nearly 4 years, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has released its final rule (the “Final Rule”) addressing the reporting and returning of overpayments made to suppliers and providers who receive funds through Medicare. The Final Rule implements Section 6402(a) of the Affordable Care Act, which … Continue Reading

OIG Puts Muscle Behind Its Alert

Only two days after releasing its latest fraud alert, a deputy director from HHS’s Office of Inspector General announced that the OIG will be hiring additional attorneys to look into taking more administrative actions against physicians in their individual capacity. This announcement emphasizes that the OIG means serious business – not only is the OIG … Continue Reading

Board Members Should Heed OIG Compliance Guidance

Board members for organizations of all sizes need to be familiar with the OIG’s recent publication of Practical Guidance for Health Care Governing Boards on Compliance Oversight. This informative guide is intended to assist the Board member of any health care organization fulfil compliance obligations with the myriad of health care laws and regulations.  Although … Continue Reading

CMS delays identifying overpayments. Can you?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) continues to mull over the knotty problem of what it means to identify an overpayment from the government.  Healthcare providers do not have the same luxury. Five  years ago, the Affordable Care Act required a provider that received an overpayment from the government to report and repay it within 60 days of identifying the … Continue Reading

IRS Releases Final Regulations for IRS Code Section 501(r)

On December 29th, the IRS released final regulations regarding Internal Revenue Code Section 501(r).  Section 501(r) was added to the Code as part of the Accountable Care Act and imposes certain requirements on charitable hospitals.   In general, the final regulations provide guidance on hospital obligations under Section 501(r), define the types of entities that must … Continue Reading

Release of the 2015 OIG Work Plan

Happy Halloween!  In addition to costumes and candy, October 31 saw the release of the 2015 Work Plan by the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services.  Always a lengthy document, the Work Plan can indicate areas that providers and suppliers want to monitor closely, as they are areas receiving attention from the government.  In … Continue Reading

Business Associate Agreement Update Deadline

September 22, 2014 is the deadline to have business associate and data use agreements updated to conform to the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA) Final Omnibus Rule  (the Omnibus Rule), which became effective September 23, 2013.  The Omnibus Rule’s transition provisions  protect eligible business associate agreements and data use agreements until … Continue Reading

Best Practice on Data Privacy

 Most organizations would agree that data privacy must be treated as a priority issue, not least because of the financial and reputational consequences of a data breach.  Squire Patton Boggs has a global team of specialists advising clients on local and global data issues. Two members of our team, Tom Zeno and Lindsay Holmes have written a two … Continue Reading

CMS Finalizes Medicare Part C and Part D Program Changes for Contract Year 2015: Moderate Deviations from Proposed Rule

On January 8, 2014, we noted several proposed changes to the Medicare Part C and D programs as delineated in CMS’ January 8th proposed rule (hereinafter “Proposed Rule”). On Monday, May 19, 2014, CMS issued the final rule, titled Medicare Program; Contract Year 2015 Policy and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare … Continue Reading

CMS Issues Medicare and Medicaid Final Rule: Significant Changes to Conditions of Participation

On Wednesday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a second round of long-awaited red tape reduction initiatives aimed at ameliorating overly burdensome provider regulations.  The changes, memorialized within a Final Rule scheduled for publication on May 12, 2014 (available for review here: http://federalregister.gov/a/2014-10687) (“Unpublished Final Rule”)  include significant easing of Conditions of … Continue Reading

Is Your Name on the List?

Given the 880,000 names of physicians released by Medicare Wednesday, physicians who treat Medicare patients can expect their names to be on the list.  The list, searchable here, contains the name of the provider, the specialty area, the city, county and state as well as the total payments made to the provider by Medicare for … Continue Reading

Florida Proposes Pharmacy Audit Rights Legislation

The Florida legislature is currently considering proposed legislation that may affect the way in which managed care organizations, insurers, third-party payors, pharmacy benefit managers and other entities audit pharmacies in Florida.  The Florida House of Representatives, Health Innovation Subcommittee, is reviewing HB 745, which proposes to create a “Pharmacy audit bill of rights.”  The Health … Continue Reading

Is CMS Prepared for Evolving Medical Records Technology?

Health care fraud accounts for billions of the US health expenditure each year. This week HHS published a study addressing possible deficiencies in CMS’ capability to address fraud vulnerabilities and ensure the integrity of electronic health records (“EHR”) systems which CMS and its contractors use to pay Medicare claims. Concerns about whether CMS’ oversight and … Continue Reading

CMS Ushers in the New Year with Medicare Part C and Part D Proposed Rules: HHS Hopes to Save $1.3 Billion

On January 10, 2014, CMS will publish the proposed rule titled Medicare Program: Contract Year 2015 and Technical Changes to the Medicare Advantage and the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Programs (the “Proposed Rule”).  The Proposed Rule propositions extensive reforms to the Medicare Advantage (“Part C”) and Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program (“Part D”), partly through … Continue Reading

Fourth Circuit Requires Penalties for FCA Violations, Even Where No Government Economic Damage Found

Author: Rebecca A. Worthington, Esquire In a decision sure to generate comment during the new year, the Fourth Circuit ruled in United States ex rel. Bunk v. Gosselin World Wide Moving, No. 12-1369, 2013 U.S. App. LEXIS 25225 (Dec. 19, 2013), that penalties of some amount must be awarded for violations of the civil False … Continue Reading

OIG Okays a Premium Assistance Program

Recently, many stakeholders in the healthcare industry have expressed interest in implementing programs that provide funding to help patients with insurance premium payments.  Until last week, it was unclear whether any type of premium assistance programs would be permissible under federal law.  Finally, in Office of Inspector General (OIG) Advisory Opinion 13-19 posted on December … Continue Reading
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