Home Health Issue Brief – Statistical Trends and Published Articles with Studies and Research from 2002-2017 Final Rules for New Medicare Reimbursement System for Skilled Nursing Facilities: Goodbye Therapy The Center for Medicare Advocacy Submits Comments Opposing Kentucky’s Medicaid Work Requirements Home Health Issue Brief – Statistical Trends and Published Articles with Studies and Research from … Read more

Effective October 1, 2019, CMS will replace the prospective payment system for skilled nursing facilities, Resource Utilization Group (RUG-IV), with a new prospective payment system called the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM).[1] In all significant respects, the final rules are unchanged from proposed rules published in May.[2] The new system, which is budget-neutral, bases payment on … Read more

Health Care Sabotage: More on Short-Term Limited-Duration “Junk” Plans Home Health Highlight: People Can Leave Home and Still Receive Medicare-Covered Home Care CMS Tries Again: Another New Skilled Nursing Facility Medicare Reimbursement System Proposed – If Implemented, Would Gut Therapy Health Care Sabotage: More on Short-Term Limited-Duration “Junk” Plans _ Free Webinar Series Next Webinar: … Read more

Proposed changes to nursing facility payment under consideration by CMS would reduce financial incentives to provide therapy, and would do so with such force – providing higher reimbursement to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) that provide residents fewer types of therapy over a shorter period of time, or no therapy at all – that it would … Read more

Welcome and Housekeeping  (David Lipschutz, Moderator)  Recent Policy Changes Relating to Medicare Advantage  (David Lipschutz) New Medicare Advantage “Flexibilities” Impact on Beneficiary Choice/Decision-Making Forthcoming CMA Report Proposed Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Rule  (Toby Edelman) Overview of Proposed Rule – Skilled Nursing Facility Prospective Payment System (SNF PPS) (CMS-1696-P) See:  https://www.gpo.gov/fdsys/pkg/FR-2018-05-08/pdf/2018-09015.pdf     Comments due June 26 … Read more

RECENT POLICY CHANGES RELATING TO MEDICARE ADVANTAGE The first few months of 2018 have seen a number of changes in law, regulations and sub-regulatory guidance that impact the Medicare program, particularly Part C, known as Medicare Advantage (MA), and Part D, the prescription drug benefit.  The section below highlights some, but not all, of these … Read more

MEDICARE APPEALS Expedited v. Standard Appeals – Not Knowing the Difference Can Cost You Your Appeal Rights Here’s the Issue Expedited Medicare appeals and standard Medicare appeals are designed to address different things and there are situations where a Medicare beneficiary must pursue both types of appeals. Expedited Appeals – Address whether the provider’s termination … Read more

Abbey, Duane. “Inpatient Versus Outpatient: The Real Issue.” RAC Monitor. 06 March 2014. http://www.racmonitor.com/rac-enews/1618-inpatient-versus-outpatient-the-real-issue.html (site visited September 21, 2016). The author writes that there aren’t any well-established guidelines for Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) when they review observation-related Medicare appeals. When there are disagreements, RACs can be directed to specific criteria. Unfortunately, Medicare RACs lack such … Read more

CMA Alert –  OIG Warns of Abuse in SNFs; Ted Kennedy, Jr. Joins CMA Advisory Board; “Jimmo” Corrective Action Plan

HHS OIG Warns of Potential Elder Abuse in Skilled Nursing Facilities Connecticut State Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr. Joins Center for Medicare Advocacy Advisory Board Jimmo Corrective Action Plan Completed HHS OIG Warns of Potential Elder Abuse in Skilled Nursing Facilities Last week, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) issued an Early Alert, warning of … Read more

Jimmo Corrective Action Plan Completed CMS Adds Resources Regarding Medicare Coverage To Help People Who Need Skilled Maintenance Nursing or Therapy As ordered by the federal judge in Jimmo v. Sebelius, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a new webpage containing important information about the Jimmo Settlement on its CMS.gov website. The … Read more

CMA Alert – Joint Replacement Model Undermines Care;  OTC Hearing Aids Legislation Passed; More

Care is Compromised Under CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model: A Case In Point Over-the-Counter (OTC) Hearing Aid Act Signed into Law Severe Harm if ACA Cost-Sharing Payments End Care is Compromised Under CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model: A Case In Point On a Friday this past March, “Ms. T”, … Read more

CMA Alert – Critical Issue Roundup: MA Overpayment; HH Payment; Observation; More

Former CMS Administrator Comments on Medicare Advantage Overpayments Proposed Home Health Rules – Payments Drive Delivery of Care, Harming Beneficiaries Observation Status Harms Low-Income Medicare Beneficiaries Poll: Americans Favor Making the ACA Work Former CMS Administrator Comments on Medicare Advantage Overpayments In Austin Frakt’s August 7, 2017 The Upshot blog in the New York Times … Read more

August 9, 2017 Thomas E. Price Secretary Department of Health and Human Services Seema Verma Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services Room 445-G, Hubert H. Humphrey Building 200 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, D.C.  20201 Re: CMS-1686-ANPRM.  Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking with Comment.  Medicare Program; Prospective Payment System … Read more

Proposed changes to nursing facility payment under consideration by CMS would reduce financial incentives to provide therapy, and would do so with such force – providing higher reimbursement to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) that provide fewer types of therapy to residents over a shorter period of time or no therapy at all – that it … Read more

CMA Alert – May 17, 2017

  1. Senate Must Reject Health Bill Passed by the House 2. CMS Considers New Medicare Reimbursement System for Skilled Nursing Facilities: If Implemented, Would Gut Therapy 3. Steve Gleason Enduring Voices Act Introduced 4. Oral Health Update – "The Painful Truth About Teeth" (Washington Post)     Senate Must Reject Health Bill Passed by … Read more

HEALTH REFORM: HOUSE PASSES AMERICAN HEALTH CARE ACT (AHCA) On May 4, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the American Health Care Act (AHCA) by a vote of 217-213.  The bill will now be taken up by the Senate. American Health Care Act (AHCA): Impact on the Affordable Care Act, Medicare and Medicaid The … Read more

LITIGATION UPDATE Barrows v. Price (formerly Bagnall v. Sebelius, Barrows v. Burwell), No. 3:11-cv-1703 (D. Conn.) (Observation Status). In November 2011, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Justice in Aging filed a proposed class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who have been denied Medicare Part A coverage of hospital and nursing home stays because … Read more

Beginning no later than March 8, 2017, and as required by the Notice of Observation Treatment and Implication for Care Eligibility Act (NOTICE Act),[1] hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) are required to give patients both oral and written notice when they are outpatients and not admitted as inpatients.[2]  Hospitals must use the written notice … Read more

THE FIGHT TO PROTECT THE ACA, MEDICARE AND MEDICAID The President-Elect and Republican leaders in Congress have promised to repeal, and at some point, “replace” the Affordable Care Act.  They also plan to gut the Medicaid program by imposing block granting or per-capita caps.  Speaker Ryan, Trump’s nominee for HHS Secretary Rep. Price, and many … Read more

1.The Problem The Center for Medicare Advocacy has been hearing from people who meet Medicare coverage criteria but are unable to access Medicare-covered home health care, or the appropriate amount of care. These problems have been escalating in 2016. Care provided often falls short of care that is covered under the law and ordered by … Read more

MOVING FORWARD WITH HOPE It’s no surprise that the election has left many of us worried and disoriented.  But we’ll regroup. We may not understand where we’ve landed, but we’ll acclimate and march forward – with hope. We hope the new administration will realize how today’s families are balancing – often barely – all the … Read more

Mr. P. has been hospitalized after having a heart attack. He also has terminal cancer for which he wants to continue treatment. If Mr. P. is admitted as an inpatient for a total of three days while in the hospital, he can qualify for Medicare Part A coverage of subsequent Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) stay … Read more

National Medicare Advocates Alliance Issue Brief #41, September 2016 LITIGATION UPDATE Barrows v. Burwell (formerly Bagnall v. Sebelius), No. 3:11-cv-1703 (D. Conn.) (Observation Status). In November 2011, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Justice in Aging filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who have been denied Medicare Part A coverage of hospital … Read more

PROPOSED RULE TO REVISE MEDICARE ADMINISTRATIVE APPEALS PROCESS As discussed during previous Alliance calls, there is a significant backlog of cases at the third and fourth levels of the Medicare administrative appeals process, the administrative law judge (ALJ) stage administered by the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals (OMHA), and the Medicare Appeals Council (Council) … Read more

June 20, 2016 Andrew M. Slavitt Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services Room 445-G, Hubert H. Humphrey Building 200 Independence Ave., S.W. Washington, D.C.  20201 Re: CMS-1655-P, Medicare Program; Prospective Payment System and Consolidated Billing for Skilled Nursing Facilities Proposed Rule for FY2017, SNF Value-Based Purchasing Program, … Read more

Medicare and Health Care for People living with ALS Established in 1985, the ALS Association is the only national non-profit organization fighting Lou Gehrig’s Disease on every front.  By leading the way in global research, providing assistance for people with ALS through a nationwide network of chapters, coordinating multidisciplinary care through certified clinical care centers, and … Read more

MEDICARE’S COVERAGE OF ORAL HEALTH   Current Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) policy[1] broadly bars Medicare coverage for practically all dental services.  The Center for Medicare Advocacy firmly believes that CMS has the legal authority under the Medicare statute to cover medically necessary oral health care – that is, treatment deemed necessary by … Read more

LITIGATION UPDATE Barrows v. Burwell (formerly Bagnall v. Sebelius) (Observation Status) No. 3:11-cv-01703 (D. Conn., filed 11/3/2011). In November 2011, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and Justice in Aging filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who have been denied Medicare Part A coverage of hospital and nursing home stays because their care … Read more

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE Senate Finance Committee Releases Document for Comment   In December 2015, the Senate Finance Committee’s Bipartisan Chronic Care Working Group released a Policy Options Document.  The following is an excerpt from a 12/18/15 Press Release by Senate Finance Committee announcing the document’s release: (available at: http://www.finance.senate.gov/release/hatch-wyden-isakson-warner-release-chronic-care-options-paper): The “Finance Committee Chronic Care Working Group, … Read more

Together with other beneficiary advocacy groups, the Center for Medicare Advocacy responded to several requests for comment from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in December.  Below, we include summaries of these comments on: Integrated Denial Notice Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; HHS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2017 [CMS–9937–P] … Read more

December 23, 2015 Filing code for submitting comments: CMS-3317-P.  Dear Sir or Madam: Comments on the Proposed Discharge Planning Rule as put forth by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) The Center for Medicare Advocacy (the Center) is pleased to comment on the November 3, 2015, proposed revisions to the discharge planning regulations … Read more

LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: CONGRESS MITIGATES INCREASES IN 2016 PART B PREMIUM AND DEDUCTIBLE Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 – Overview On Monday November 2, 2015, President Obama signed into law the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015.  This wide-ranging budget agreement includes provisions that averted a pending government default by raising the nation’s debt ceiling, and prevents … Read more

September 8, 2015 Andy Slavitt Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Attention: CMS-5516-P 7500 Security Boulevard Baltimore, MD 21244-1850 Delivered Electronically through www.regulations.gov Re: Medicare Program; Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement Payment Model for Acute Care Hospitals Furnishing Lower Extremity Joint Replacement Services (CMS-5516-P) Administrator Slavitt: … Read more

CMS-1633-P, Medicare Program: Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment and Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment Systems and Quality Reporting Programs; Short Inpatient Hospital Stays; Transition for Certain Medicare-Dependent, Small Rural Hospitals Under the Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System Andy Slavitt Acting Administrator Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Department of Health and Human Services Room 445-G, Hubert H. … Read more

Many healthcare institutions are required to provide discharge planning for their Medicare patients as part of their “Conditions of Participation” in the Medicare program.  Under the Medicare program, discharge planning services are required for hospital inpatients, long-term care hospital and rehabilitation inpatients, skilled nursing facility residents, patients in swing-beds, and hospice patients.  Discharge planning services … Read more

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Submitted electronically, http://www.regulations.gov Re: CMS-1461-P Dear CMS Colleagues: The Center for Medicare Advocacy (Center) is pleased to provide the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) with comments on the Notice of Proposed Rule Making (NPRM) CMS-1461-P published in the Federal Register on December 8, 2014 (79 Fed. Reg. … Read more

On Monday, February 2nd, President Obama unveiled his Fiscal Year 2016 Budget.[1]  For an overview of the budget’s Medicare-related provisions, including both projected costs and savings to the Medicare program, see the Kaiser Family Foundation’s summary.[2] With respect to Medicare, this year’s proposed budget is very similar to last year’s, both good and bad, with … Read more

LITIGATION UPDATE Recent Litigation Victories Bagnall v. Sebelius (Observation Status) No. 3:11-cv-01703 (D. Conn., filed 11/3/2011). In November 2011, the Center for Medicare Advocacy and the National Senior Citizens Law Center filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of individuals who have been denied Medicare Part A coverage of hospital and nursing home stays because … Read more

As part of our recognition of Medicare’s first 50 years, this week begins our Medicare Matters: 50 Insights for Medicare’s 50th Anniversary. Help us spread the word – on Twitter, Facebook – in conversations! The future of a comprehensive Medicare program may depend on it. Medicare Was Key to Integrating Hospitals Medicare Reduced Poverty Medicare Saves Lives Medicare’s Future … Read more

A Message from the Executive Director News You Can Use Legislative & Policy Update CMA In the Community A Message from the Executive Director 2015 Marks the 50th Anniversary of Medicare – Help Ensure its Future Since 1965, Medicare has opened doors to health care and increased economic security for hundreds of millions of older … Read more

Appeal Steps

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  Standard Appeals Process for Part A and Part B: 1. Redetermination No minimum claim amount Must be filed within 120 days of receipt of "Initial Determination" Filed with Medicare Contractor Reviewed and decided by Medicare Contractor 2. Reconsideration Determination No minimum claim amount Must be filed within 180 days of receipt of "Redetermination" Filed … Read more

1.  LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: THE IMPACT ACT OF 2014 On October 6, 2014, President Obama signed into law the “Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014” or IMPACT Act.  The bill resulted from a bipartisan, bicameral effort by the House Ways & Means and Senate Finance Committees to address various issues relating to care Medicare … Read more

1.  CHANGES TO MEDICARE’S QUALITY IMPROVEMENT ORGANIZATIONS (QIOs)     CMS has restructured its Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program to separate the beneficiary complaint review functions from the quality improvement functions. The change information described below is response to many years of urging CMS to separate the review of beneficiary complaints function of QIOs from … Read more

Center for Medicare Advocacy Senior Policy Attorney Toby S. Edelman will testify before the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee on Tuesday, May 20, 2014 at 9:30 AM regarding current hospital issues in the Medicare program, specifically the ongoing problem of observation status. The hearing, announced on May 13th, is the first Congressional hearing to … Read more

I have Multiple Sclerosis, but am under 65 years of age.  Can I receive Medicare benefits? I have been told that my condition is stable.  Can I still receive Medicare home health benefits? Can I receive Skilled Nursing Facility coverage if my condition is not expected to improve? For other information, follow one of the … Read more

1. PRESENTATION: CMS MANUAL PROVISIONS ISSUED PURSUANT TO THE JIMMO SETTLEMENT The Center for Medicare Advocacy is pleased to announce that the Medicare Policy Manuals have been revised pursuant to the Jimmo vs. Sebelius Settlement.  The Jimmo case ended a longstanding practice denying Medicare coverage to people who had “plateaued,” or were “chronic,” or “stable,” or “not … Read more

>Hospitals' increasing use of observation status harms more Medicare beneficiaries daily as patients hospitalized for multiple days are denied coverage of subsequent care in a skilled nursing facility because their time in the hospital was labeled "outpatient," not "inpatient."[1]  Since the enactment of the Medicare program nearly 50 years ago, Medicare has limited payment for … Read more

While Observation Status continues, recent weeks have seen a great increase in awareness of the problem.  In addition, support for legislation to end Observation Status has grown rapidly. What is Observation Status? Observation Status refers to the classification of hospital patients as "outpatients," even though, like inpatients, observation patients may stay for many days and … Read more

Post-Acute Care Post-acute care refers to a range of services that support the individual’s continued recovery from illness or injury, or management of a chronic illness or disability.  On June 19, 2013 the House Ways and Means Committee and Senate Finance Committee issued a letter to key communities requesting information and ideas on the types … Read more

August 19, 2013 Senate Finance Committee House of Representatives, Committee on Ways and Means United States Congress Submitted electronically to: postacutecarereform@finance.senate.gov and postacutecarereform@mail.house.gov Re: Comments on Post Acute Care (PAC) Reform Proposals Dear Committee Members: The undersigned organizations, the Center for Medicare Advocacy, the National Senior Citizens Law Center, the National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, … Read more