Federal Regulation news
Medical Agendas in D.C. for 2016
Written by Editor   
Monday, January 25, 2016 12:00 AM

With the presidential election season upon us, there is not much time to get things done politically, but the senior policy adviser with the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA) said the group does have some goals for the year, mainly in the regulatory area.

One practical issue MGMA would like to see addressed is an electronic claim attachment standard. The insurer says, “We need more information to process the claim” and even if the doctor can submit  the claim electronically, the law won’t allow you to send the attachment electronically. Here is a huge opportunity to simplify a major hassle factor for practices.

CMS Provider Re-enrollment Deadline Extension
Written by Editor   
Saturday, January 23, 2016 12:00 AM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently announced that the previous March 24, 2016 deadline for Medicaid provider re-enrollment is extended to Sept. 25, 2016. Though this extension gives states additional time to ensure providers comply with Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) requirements, Texas Medicaid encourages all providers who have not yet submitted a re-enrollment application to begin this process immediately to avoid potential payment disruptions.

Additional information will be announced in the coming weeks to assist providers who are working on the re-enrollment process.

Meaningful Use Program Is Ending, CMS Chief Says
Written by Editor   
Friday, January 22, 2016 12:00 AM

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is planning to end the Meaningful Use program, CMS acting administrator Andy Slavic, MBA, said.

"The meaningful use program as it has existed will now effectively be over and be replaced with something better," Slavitt said at the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. The specifics of the new program will be revealed in the next few months, he added.

"Now that we effectively have technology in virtually every place care is provided, we are now in the process of ending Meaningful Use and moving to a new regime culminating with the MACRA implementation," Slavitt explained, referring to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, the law that repealed the Sustainable Growth Rate reimbursement formula. Most of MACRA's provisions take effect in 2019.

Obamacare Insurers Sweeten Plans With Free Doctor Visits
Written by Editor   
Thursday, January 21, 2016 12:00 AM

Health insurers in several big cities will offer free visits to primary care doctors in their networks. Doctor visits without copays. Or co-insurance. And no expensive deductible to pay off first. Free.

In Atlanta, Chicago, Dallas, Miami, and more than a dozen other markets, individuals seeking coverage from the insurance exchanges can choose health plans providing free doctor visits, an insurance benefit once considered unthinkable. The improvements are rolling out in a limited number of plans following reports that high co-pays and deductibles have discouraged many Americans who signed up for private coverage the past 2 years from using their new insurance under the Affordable Care Act.

2015's Diet Guide
Written by Editor   
Tuesday, January 19, 2016 12:00 AM

New dietary guidelines officially endorsed by the U.S. government have been released and were immediately greeted with criticism.  The guidelines are roughly similar to the previous version, issued in 2010, but with an added focus on dietary patterns rather than on individual foods, and a new recommendation that fewer than 10% of calories per day should be from added sugars.

The American Medical Association (AMA) expressed solid support for the new dietary guidelines without hint of criticism.  “The AMA applauds the Committee for recommending that our nation's children and adults should focus on achieving a healthy overall diet rather than focus on consuming only specific nutrients," wrote the AMA president. 

"Eating pattern may be more predictive of overall health status and disease risk than individual foods or nutrients," according to the published guidelines, issued jointly by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Department of Health and Human Services. The guidelines have been updated every 5 years since 1980.

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