Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report Highlights CMS Actions

January 22, 2009 at 8:00 am Leave a comment

Summaries of news about several recent actions taken by CMS appear below.

  • Billing codes: CMS has finalized a new system of codes for physicians and hospitals to use when they bill health insurers for services and has delayed the date for implementation from Oct. 1, 2011, to Oct. 1, 2013, the Wall Street Journal’s “Health Blog” reports. CMS had received more than 3,000 comments on a proposed version of the system, called ICD-10, many of which requested more time to comply. The new system has almost 10 times more codes for services than the current system (Rubenstein, “Health Blog,” Wall Street Journal, 1/15). CMS officials said that they hope the new system will help promote the adoption of health care information technology (Zhang, Wall Street Journal, 1/16).

  • Chronic disease management: Three care management organizations with “demonstrated success” have been given three-year extensions for a Medicare demonstration project on managing care for high-cost beneficiaries with at least one chronic disease, CMS recently announced, CQ HealthBeat reports. The three organizations receiving the extensions — Key to Better Health, Massachusetts General Care Management Program and the Health Hero’s Network Health Buddy Program — “are unique because of their defined intervention focus on the fee-for-service Medicare population,” CMS said in a release. Six organizations initially were chosen to participate in the demonstration project. According to the release, care management services are designed to improve the quality of care and limit costs for fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries, as well as foster collaboration between primary care physicians and specialists to improve communication of clinical information (Teitelbaum, CQ HealthBeat, 1/16).

  • Durable medical equipment: CMS officials on Thursday announced an interim final rule that incorporates changes to a competitive bidding program for durable medical equipment required by a law enacted last year, CQ HealthBeat reports. The law, which blocked a scheduled reduction in Medicare physician reimbursements and added certain benefits to the program, delayed the first round on the bidding program, which began on July 1, 2008, in 10 metropolitan areas. According to acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems, the announcement of the rule and appointees to a new federal advisory committee that will oversee the bidding program “are the first steps to take to restart the competitive bidding process” (Reichard, CQ HealthBeat, 1/15).

Reprinted with kind permission from http://www.kaisernetwork.org. You can view the entire Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, search the archives, or sign up for email delivery at http://www.kaisernetwork.org/dailyreports/healthpolicy. The Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report is published for kaisernetwork.org, a free service of The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

© 2009 Advisory Board Company and Kaiser Family Foundation. All rights reserved.

[Via http://www.medicalnewstoday.com]


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