NCMS Morning Rounds 7-26-19

Happy Friday! Enjoy the week’s last

 NCMS Morning Rounds.

July 26, 2019

What Are Your Thoughts on ‘Patients Over Paperwork’?

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is soliciting your thoughts and new ideas for its Patients over Paperwork Initiative. The project was launched in fall 2017 and seeks to streamline regulations and cut the ‘red tape’ that “weighs down our health care system and takes clinicians away from their primary mission – caring for patients.”

As of January 2019, CMS estimates that through regulatory reform alone, the health care system will save an estimated 40 million hours and $5.7 billion through 2021 through both final and proposed rules.

Through a Request for Information (RFI) CMS is asking all health care stakeholders, including patients, for new ideas on changes to rules, policies and procedures that would shift more of your time and our health care system’s resources from needless paperwork to care that improves patients’ health. See others’ comments and submit your ideas here.  

In particular, CMS is looking for ways to improve:
• Reporting and documentation requirements
• Coding and documentation requirements for Medicare or Medicaid payment
• Prior authorization procedures
• Policies and requirements for rural providers, clinicians and beneficiaries
• Policies and requirements for dually enrolled (i.e. Medicare and Medicaid) beneficiaries
• Beneficiary enrollment and eligibility determination
• CMS processes for issuing regulations and policies.

Learn more about this initiative and the RFI in this press release.

Surprise Billing Update

In the latest news in the Congressional debate over how best to protect patients from surprise medical bills, on Wednesday the AMA sent a letter to members of four Congressional committees with jurisdiction over the surprise billing issue: Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee; House Energy and Commerce Committee; House Ways and Means Committee; and House Education and Labor Committee.

The letter from AMA Executive Vice President and CEO James L. Madara, MD, responds to statements made by health insurance plans and others that the independent dispute resolution process included in the Energy and Commerce Committee’s bill would “price gouge patients,” even though the patient protections are the same as those included in other bills supported by industry. The AMA believes it is important to set the record straight and attempts to do so in the letter. Read the letter.

As discussions on this issue continue on Capitol Hill, the NCMS’ partners at the Physicians Advocacy Institute have a helpful webpage outlining the facts about surprise billing and offering talking points. It also has a quick and easy way to contact your Congressional representatives about this issue and how it may impact your patients.

Access this valuable resource here.

Sunday is World Hepatitis Day

Sunday, July 28, marks World Hepatitis Day — a time to ‘find the missing millions’ or the estimated 300 million people worldwide are unaware they are living with viral hepatitis. Did you also know that ‘baby boomers’ are five times more likely to have hepatitis C than other adults? Most people with chronic hepatitis virus do not know they are infected since symptoms usually do not appear until the later stages of the infection. Screening is critical.

Medicare covers viral hepatitis immunization and screening services. For more information access the

Medicare Preventive Services Educational Tool
Medicare Part B Immunization Billing Educational Tool

The World Hepatitis Day website also offers a wealth of information and resources for you and your patients.

In the News

Why Lawmakers Keep Ignoring ‘the worst example of surprise billing’, The Advisory Board Forum, 7-24-19

Learning Opportunity

The NC Healthcare Information and Communications Alliance (NCHICA) half day forum Incidence Response 101 will be held Aug. 2 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Research Triangle Foundation in Research Triangle Park. Speakers will address why an incident response plan is important; creating, testing and implementing the plan as well as legal compliance issues. Learn more and register.


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