Susan Feigin Harris

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CMS Digging In on Medicaid DSH Payments

During the summer months, several developments have occurred concerning the Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital (DSH) policy that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has implemented, to the detriment of a number of hospitals. These hospitals and state hospitals associations have challenged CMS in district courts all over the country and several courts ruled … Continue Reading

Market Stabilization: To Be or Not to Be?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a Final Rule intended to stabilize the individual and small group insurance markets on April 18, 2017. Reflecting the urgent need to address the uncertainty afflicting the markets, CMS advanced the rule from proposed to final form in just two short months despite receiving more than … Continue Reading

AHCA: The Republican House Leadership Proposal to Change the ACA

Late Monday afternoon, House Republican leaders released a two-bill legislative package to “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act (ACA). Collectively called the “American Health Care Act” or “AHCA,” the two bills drafted by the Energy and Commerce and Ways and Means Committees reflect efforts by the GOP to identify provisions in the ACA that … Continue Reading

Reducing the Regulatory Stranglehold on Federally Facilitated Exchanges: Will It Work?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a proposed rule aimed at improving the individual and small group markets that have been plagued with instability as issuers continue exiting the Exchanges. While the proposed rule is primarily focused on the Federally-facilitated Exchanges (FFEs), CMS is encouraging state-based Exchanges to adopt similar policies. … Continue Reading

The Wait is Over: CMS Delivers Post-BBA Provider-Based Policies in Final 2017 OPPS

Now that the rule is out, work to implement the BBA changes begins in earnest. CMS commemorated the one-year anniversary of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) with the traditional gift of paper, offering long-awaited guidance to hospitals on how the agency will implement the site-neutral payment policies of BBA Section 603 in the … Continue Reading

Trump Administration: Impact on Healthcare Policy

Republicans’ biggest issue will be what to do with the 20 million Americans who have gained coverage under the ACA. Congress reconvened this week for the first time since Donald Trump’s stunning victory, and just as his election was a political earthquake, the impact of the Trump administration and the Republican Congress on healthcare policy promises … Continue Reading

The Proposed Medicaid DSH Rule: Hospitals, States and Associations Declare It Legally Insufficient

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a proposed rule addressing the treatment of third-party payments when calculating uncompensated care costs for the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital (DSH) formula (Proposed Rule). While CMS maintains the Proposed Rule merely clarifies longstanding policy, industry stakeholders submitting comments prior to the September 14 deadline disagree, … Continue Reading

What Does the CMS Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters Mean for Providers?

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued its proposed Notice of Benefit and Payment Parameters for 2018 (Proposed Rule) a couple of months earlier than in the past – one of the administration’s many actions aimed at setting the tone going into the election and the coming year. The release of the Proposed … Continue Reading

Provider-Based Status Post-BBA: CMS Offers Limited Answers, Requests More Feedback

For those in the hospital industry hoping for additional clarity regarding the operation and billing of provider-based departments (PBDs), the CY 2017 Outpatient Prospective Payment System (OPPS) Proposed Rule provides some much-needed insight but raises additional concerns. In the Proposed Rule, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) sets forth how the agency intends to … Continue Reading

The Future of Provider-Based Status Post-BBA 2015

Examining Possible Congressional Relief and CMS Guidance This month, hospitals impacted by Section 603 of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015 (BBA) may finally get a glimpse of what the future holds for the off-campus departments they operated or were developing when the BBA was enacted on November 2, 2015. Section 603 introduced site neutrality … Continue Reading

U.S. House of Representatives v. Burwell: A Failure to Appropriate, Not a Failure in Drafting

“A most curious and convoluted argument whose mother was undoubtedly necessity,” wrote Judge Rosemary M. Collyer in describing the argument made by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to uphold the constitutionality of cost-sharing reduction payments to insurers under Section 1402 of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). On May 12, 2016, the … Continue Reading

Medicaid and CHIP Managed Care Final Rule: It’s All About Consistency

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued a 1,425-page regulation (Rule) on managed care in Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), dubbed the first overhaul of these regulations in over a decade. CMS also issued nine “fact sheets,” indicating the Rule “supports delivery system reform efforts, strengthens program integrity by improving accountability … Continue Reading

The 2017 Exchange Regulations: Network Adequacy Challenges Remain

The impact of these rules will be felt widely among the provider community as it struggles to face increasing pressures resulting from the plans’ continually narrowing networks The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently issued the final 2017 Benefit and Payment Parameters Rule (Final Rule) and concurrently released a final 2017 Letter to … Continue Reading

Hello Budget Agreement; Goodbye Provider-Based Status?

H.R. 1314, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2015, was signed into law by President Obama on November 2, 2015. The two-year budget framework, which raises the federal debt limit through March 2017, partially rolls back the Budget Control Act’s discretionary caps by $80 billion above the sequester level for two consecutive years (FY 2016 and … Continue Reading

King v. Burwell: “Thy name is an opinion on the Affordable Care Act”

The U.S. Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, upheld the availability of subsidies to individuals who purchase health insurance on either a state or federal Exchange. While the Court’s 6-3 decision is being hailed politically as a major victory for the Obama Administration and the continuation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the legal implications … Continue Reading

Medicaid Managed Care Proposed Rules: The Intersection of Private Insurance and Government Programs

Approximately a quarter of all Medicaid expenditures is spent on the more than half of all beneficiaries (approximately 39 million by 2011 figures cited in the 2014 MACPAC Report) currently accessing part or all of their benefits through capitated, risk-bearing health plans or managed care organizations (MCOs). Although the government’s reliance on MCOs to manage … Continue Reading

Five Things to Know About the Medicare SGR Fix

H.R. 2, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), was signed into law by President Obama on April 16, 2015. A broad bipartisan compromise measure, MACRA repeals the much-maligned sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula used to determine physician payment rates and replaces it with a new incentive payment system; extends funding for the Children’s … Continue Reading

My Day at the U.S. Supreme Court: King v. Burwell

Describing her recent Supreme Court experience as “my Super Bowl,” Susan Feigin Harris offers her personal account and analysis of the oral arguments in King v. Burwell. I was ready to go: hat, gloves, boots and parka. A legal pad and two pens. Arriving at the U.S. Supreme Court at 5:45 a.m., I took my … Continue Reading

Children’s Hospitals Obtain Temporary Injunction Against CMS

Court Enjoins CMS’s Interpretation of Medicaid DSH Reimbursement Formula Challenging actions by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under the Administrative Procedures Act (APA), Texas Children’s Hospital and Seattle Children’s Hospital obtained a preliminary injunction that enjoins CMS’s actions concerning informal instructions it provided to its auditors for calculating disproportionate share hospital (DSH) … Continue Reading

Ebola Matters of First Impression; Law Lags Behind Policy

While we turn to science and laws to guide our response to matters in the healthcare industry, the entrance of the Ebola virus into our lives here in the U.S. has challenged our abilities, both from a medical and legal perspective. We know what to do, but our abilities to respond adequately, timely and responsibly … Continue Reading

Medicaid ACOs: States’ Answer to Escalating Costs?

States increasingly are experimenting with the use of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in their Medicaid programs as a possible avenue to curb the escalating costs of providing care to expanding Medicaid populations. Although there has yet to be a universally accepted definition for ACOs, they generally are recognized to be provider-run collaborations in which the … Continue Reading

Late Push to Reauthorize CHIP Funding This Session

Approximately eight million children currently covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) may lose access to their pediatric-specific benefits and provider networks if legislation is not passed to extend federal funding for CHIP beyond its slated expiration at the end of FY 2015. CHIP is designed to provide coverage to children and pregnant women … Continue Reading

Academic Medical Centers: Clinical Care, Research and Teaching (or Maybe Not?)─Graduate Medical Education and the Future

In the world of healthcare policy and law, we usually discuss issues impacting providers, but don’t often report about the training and infrastructure behind what allows our healthcare system to treat patients in our facilities. Many warnings have come and gone about how we are not training enough physicians for primary care, and the ACA … Continue Reading

The Sliding Scale of Health Coverage: Finding the Intersection of Cost, Access and Quality

While not a new concept, the use of narrow networks has become a lightning rod for the controversy surrounding qualified health plans (QHPs) offered on the insurance exchanges created under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the consumer satisfaction with access to physicians and care they expect they are purchasing. Narrowly tailored network designs, including … Continue Reading
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