Health Care Reform’s 1st Birthday: Share What You Think!

March 23, 2011

On the 1st anniversary of the passage of Health Care Reform,  let’s celebrate by accepting the invitation from Joe Biden to “discuss how health care reform is already working.”

Below is the text of an e-mail I (and millions of other Americans, I suspect, received an e-mail from Joe Biden, in which he touts health care reform  as already saving patients like a young man from Minnesota.  In the e-mail, Biden says:  “On the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, I think we have a duty to discuss how reform is already working.”  OK, tell me what you think?

Unquestionably, health care reform produces some winners and loosers.  Although few of the reforms enacted are actually in effect yet, Biden says heath care reform is working and credits the law for saving the life of the young man and millions of others.   On the other hands, many patients and doctors treating patients with cancer and other life threatening illnesses complain and report fears that in the future increasing Medicare, Medicaid or other government regulations and market distruptions.    Some folks think it’s all good.  Other’s think it’s all bad.  Many American’s think it’s a little bit of both and many just don’t know.

Where does the truth lie?  On the 1st anniversary of the passage of health are reform, one thing is certain.  The American health care system and it’s impact on our employees, families, friends, communities and goverment and personal budget’s is too great to be complacent.  So, as Health Care Reform turns one, let’s accept the invitation of Vice President Biden and share our experiences and thoughts with our elected representatives, regulators,  with others on with others on the Coalition for Responsible Health Care Policy linkedin a the following link and keep the discussion going until we get it right:   

Coalition for Responsible Health Care Policy 

Here’s the e-mail from “Joe Biden [info@barackobama.com]”

Cynthia –I want to tell you about a family in Minnesota.

Justin and Kari live in Brooklyn Park, right outside of Minneapolis. They’re parents to three children. Their three-year-old, William, was born with a genetic disorder called tuberous sclerosis complex.

For the rest of his life, William will wrestle with tumors in his brain, his heart, his kidneys, his skin, and possibly other major organs. He must take medication to control seizures and faces the threat of kidney disease.

What Justin and Kari want for William is a future. And because of health reform, that’s what he’ll have.

Today, insurance companies are no longer able to discriminate against William because of the condition he’s dealt with since birth. Now, Justin and Kari know they’ll be able to get the kind of care that William needs — today and into the future.

Their story isn’t unique, but it’s one of many that need to be told. We all know people whose lives have been changed because of the Affordable Care Act, even if we don’t realize it. So we’ve found a way to show exactly how reform is working for all of us — for our parents, our siblings, our kids, ourselves.

Will you take a minute to take our Health Reform Checkup and let the people you love know how reform is working for them?

Before the Affordable Care Act, Justin and Kari weren’t sure about the future. They worried that they’d never be able to find coverage for William again if Justin lost his job. They worried about the life that William would lead — whether he’d ever be able to work or support a family.

Not anymore. William’s condition isn’t going away, but he’ll always be able to get care. The Affordable Care Act is one year old today, and it has already changed William’s life — and this country — for good.

Today, there are families who feel better about the future than they did a year ago. They’ve found some security, some relief. And these are people we know. They’re our neighbors, our colleagues, our friends, our families — the people next to us every day.

On the one-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, I think we have a duty to discuss how reform is already working.

Watch Justin and Kari tell their story, and take a moment to learn how health reform is changing the lives of those you know:

 

 

A year ago, I stood next to the President as he signed health reform into law — and we have you to thank for making that possible.

 

  

Yours,

 

  

Joe

Right-click here to download pictures. To help protect your privacy, Outlook prevented automatic download of this picture from the Internet.

Paid for by Organizing for America, a project of the Democratic National Committee — 430 South Capitol Street SE, Washington, D.C. 20003. This communication is not authorized by any candidate or candidate’s committee.

 


NTHCPA Meets 3/23 On “Physician Discipline, Health Care Fraud & HIPAA Privacy Compliance & Risk Management”

March 20, 2011

NORTH TEXAS HEALTHCARE COMPLIANCE PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATION

Invites Members and Guests to

“Physician Discipline, Health Care Fraud & HIPAA Privacy Compliance & Risk Management”

March 23, 2011
Noon-2:00 p.m.
Dallas Ft Worth Hospital Council

250 Decker Drive, Irving, TX 75062-2706

 

North Texas Healthcare Compliance Professional Association (NTHCPA) invites members and other interested health care compliance professionals to join in a March 23, 2011  roundtable discussion of Physician Discipline, Health Care Fraud & HIPAA Privacy Compliance & Risk Management” from Noon – 2:00 p.m.

The meeting will be held at the offices of the Dallas Ft Worth Hospital Council, 250 Decker Drive, Irving, TX 75062-2706.

NTHCPA meetings are open to all NTHCPA members and other interested health care compliance professionals. Participation in the meeting is complimentary. Participants are responsible for any parking charges incurred. 

To help us to notify you about upcoming meetings and to arrange for adequate space and refreshments, for this and other meetings, interested persons are encouraged to forward their current contact information including e-mail to Vice-President Cynthia Marcotte Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or by e-mail here.   Please feel free to share this invitation with others who may be interested.

If you are interested in hosting one of the upcoming meetings, wish to suggest topics or speakers, or wish to obtain or share other information, please contact NTHCPA President Erma Lee at (817) 927-1232 or by e-mail here or Vice-President Cynthia Marcotte Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or by e-mail to here.

About the NTHCPA

NTHCPA exists to champion ethical practice and compliance standards and to provide the necessary resources for ethics and compliance Professionals and others in North Texas who share these principles.  The vision of NTHCPA is to be a pre-eminent compliance and ethics group promoting lasting success and integrity of organizations within North Texas.  To register or update your registration or to receive notice of future meetings, e-mail here.

This communication may be considered a marketing communication for certain purposes.  If you wish to ad or update your e-mail for purposes of meetings or other activities of the North Texas Healthcare Compliance Professionals Association or other marketing and promotional mailings from it, please send an email here.


ONC Touts Research On Health IT Benefits In Health Affairs Article

March 20, 2011

Researchers from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) and other Department of Health & Human Services (HHS) leaders are touting new studies they say show the benefits of investing in health information technology (health IT).

Under the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH), part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, as much as $27 billion Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments will be available to eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals when they adopt certified EHR technology and successfully demonstrate “meaningful use” of the technology in ways that improve quality, safety, and effectiveness of patient-centered care.

On March 8, 2011, ONC researches reported results of a comprehensive review of recent studies it says show the effects of health IT on key aspects of health care on the ONC website and in Health Affairs.   

According to Donald Berwick, M.D., administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the study supports the investments that the HITECH Act makes in health IT. “These new findings are very significant in helping to confirm that our Nation has made the right choice in moving aggressively toward adoption of health information technology,” said Dr. Berwick. “These new findings are very significant in helping to confirm that our Nation has made the right choice in moving aggressively toward adoption of health information technology.”

The review included articles published from July 2007 up to February 2010, following up on earlier reviews of articles from 1995 to 2004 and from 2004 to 2007. This latest review initially surveyed more than 4,000 peer-reviewed articles, of which 154 were found qualified for the parameters of the study, a number similar to the previous efforts.  In addition to quality and efficiency of care, the authors categorized additional outcomes including access to care, preventive care, care process, patient safety, and provider or patient satisfaction.

According to the authors, a current review of 154 peer-reviewed studies from July 2007 to February 2010 found:

  • More than 92 percent reached positive overall conclusions on the effects of health IT;
  • 30 percent found mixed but predominantly positive results; and
  • Ten articles were found to have negative or mixed-negative results.

ONC reports that the review also reflected a new balance of evidence between HIT “leader” organizations and other entities, especially smaller medical practices. In previous years, much evidence has come from the “leaders.” The current review shows increased evidence of benefits for others as well.

Examples of positive results highlighted by ONC in its reports include:

  • One study found that at three New York City dialysis centers, patient mortality decreased by as much as 48 percent while nurse staffing decreased by 25 percent in the three years following implementation of electronic health records (EHRs).
  • In an inpatient study, a clinical decision support tool designed to decrease unnecessary red blood cell transfusions reduced both transfusions and costs, with no increase in patient length-of-stay or mortality.
  • Another study addressing HIT in 41 Texas hospitals found that hospitals with more advanced HIT had fewer complications, lower mortality and lower costs than hospitals with less advanced HIT.

ONC researchers report that negative findings in the study were most often associated with provider or staff satisfaction related to difficulties in the process of transitioning from paper-based to electronic-based records and care. The researchers conclude these findings “highlight the need for studies that document the challenging aspects of implementing HIT more specifically and how these challenges might be addressed,” such as through strong leadership or staff participation when adopting and implementing HIT.

Reflecting on the findings, Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., said, “My own personal experience in switching my practice from paper to EHRs showed that the change requires some initial effort; however, it did not interrupt work flow in the clinic. The results are better care for patients and new opportunities for the physician and staff to improve quality outcomes.” Dr. Benjamin switched to EHRs in her Gulf Coast Alabama family practice after two hurricanes and a fire destroyed the clinic’s paper records.

At the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, where research into health informatics has been supported since 1968, agency Director Carolyn Clancy, M.D., called attention to the importance of rapid information feedback and current evidence as the Nation pursues HIT implementation. “As we have known, and this new review of the available literature shows, HIT holds tremendous potential to improve health care quality. It is important that we continue to use experience from the field and scientific evidence to guide our efforts to improve the quality and safety of health care for all Americans.”

For Help With Monitoring Developments, Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance monitoring federal health reform, policy or enforcement developments, or to review or respond to these or other health care or health IT related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns/ She also regularly designs and presents risk management, compliance and other training for health care providers, professional associations and others including highly popular programs on “Sex Drugs & Rock ‘N Role: Managing Personal Misconduct in Health Care,” “Managing Physician Performance” and others..   Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

 

©2011 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


CMS Finalizes Allotments To States To Pay Medicaid Part B Premiums For Qualifying Individuals

March 19, 2011

Charts showing the final allotments made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to States of funds to use to pay the Medicare Part B premiums for Qualifying Individuals (QIs) for the Federal fiscal year (FY) 2010 and the preliminary QI allotments for FY 2011 appear in the March 19, 2011 Federal Register.

The funds allotted are funds authorized by Congress pursuant to Section 111 of the Medicare Improvements for Patients and Providers Act of 2008, (MIPPA), Section 2 of the QI Program Supplemental Funding Act of 2008 (the SFA), Section 5005 of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA), the “Emergency Aid to American Survivors of the Haiti Earthquake Act” (Haiti Earthquake Act). The final QI allotments for payment of Medicare Part B premiums for FY 2010 are effective October 1, 2009. The preliminary QI allotments for FY 2011 are effective October 1, 2010.

Review the charts here.

For Help With Monitoring Developments or With Compliance, Investigations, Training Or Other Needs

If you need assistance monitoring federal health policy or enforcement developments, or to review or respond to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns. She also regularly designs and presents risk management, compliance and other training for health care providers, payers, employers, professional associations and others.   Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

 

©2011 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


Sexual Misconduct Investigation Prompts Medical Board Suspension of Texas Doctor

March 16, 2011

Personal Misconduct By Physicians Or Other Health Care Workers Common Trigger for Disciplinary Action Or  Other Liability

On March 14, 2011, a disciplinary panel of the Texas Medical Board temporarily suspended, with notice, the medical license of Ramon A. Cruz, M.D., of Denton, based on allegations of inappropriate sexual behavior with several patients.  According to the Texas Medical Board, the panel found that Dr. Cruz, Lic. No. K3703, engaged in sexually inappropriate behavior with several patients. Four incidents, including an alleged sexual assault, were reported by patients to Denton Police.  The panel found that Dr. Cruz’s actions demonstrate a pattern of inappropriate behavior, which is a continuing threat to public health and safety justifying the suspension of his license.  The suspension remains in effect until the Board takes further action.

Unprofessional personal misconduct presenting a right to public health and safety is a common trigger for discipline by the Texas Medical Board and other licensing boards.  See, e.g. Quality, Recordkeeping & Unprofessional Conduct Lead Reasons For Medical Board Discipline of Physicians. Although complaints based on sexual misconduct occur much less frequently than substance abuse or other types of personal misconduct, the Texas Medical Board and other medical licensing bodies view sexual misconduct as among the most serious types of violations.  The prevalence rate of sexual misconduct in physicians is estimated at 6-10 percent but this phenomenon is likely under-reported in physician surveys and by patients. It is believed that the number of false claims made by patients is very low. A 1992 study indicates that only 4-8 percent of patients report a doctor’s sexual misconduct.  Physicians found guilty of engaging in prohibited sexual misconduct typically are male, have a mean age of 53, practice in private practice, and have a history of substance abuse, are in the midst of a divorce, separation or other life crisis and tend to engage in higher than typical nonsexual patient touch with patients.

Because of their special role and responsibility with respect to patients and the community, the law, the profession and the public impose high expectations upon physicians and other health care professionals in relation to their sexual conduct toward patients and others.  State medical practices and other medical licensure bodies, the American Medical Association Code of Conduct, the Joint Commission, peer review and other disciplinary boards and other regulatory and administrative policies and bodies generally prohibit both sexual assault, sexual harassment, and a broad range of other conduct of a sexual nature considered to be inconsistent with the special relationship of trust occupied by the health care professional. 

Sexual misconduct charges that can result in discipline can include clear atrocities such as rape or other sexual assaults, as well as engagement in inappropriate sexual relationships or overtures to current or former patients, as well as sexual harassment and certain other types of sexual relationships or conduct involving staff or others.  See, e.g., Ringer v. Texas State Bd. of Med. Examiners, 1999 Tex. App. LEXIS 8214 (Tex. App. 1999); Texas State Board of Medical Examiners v. Haynes, 388 S.W.2d 258, 261 (Tex. App. 1965); Texas State Board of Medical Examiners v. Koepsel, 159 Tex. 479 (Tex. 1959).  In addition discipline by the Board of Medicine, physicians or other health care providers typically also face other consequences such as medical malpractice, sexual harassment or other similar claims or charges, peer review discipline, data bank reports, employment termination or discipline, practice expulsion, and criminal prosecution.  Even if a physician or other heath care provider dodges formal discipline, accusations of sexual misconduct by a physician or other health care provider tends to permanently damage the practice and reputation of the health care.

Sexual misconduct by a physician or other health care provider or workforce member also can create significant exposures for hospitals, clinics, affiliated physicians and health care professionals associated with a physician or health care provider found to have engaged in sexual misconduct. Among other things, the failure of these third parties to take adequate steps to prevent, investigate, report or redress another health care provider’s sexual misconduct or harassment may result in malpractice or other civil litigation, licensure or other professional investigation or discipline, reputational damages and other consequences.

To guard against these exposures, physicians and other health care providers should exercise care to avoid engaging in actions that might expose them to charges of sexual assault, harassment or other inappropriate sexual conduct and should adopt policies, adopt procedures and practices to prohibit and provide training and other oversight to encourage other health care providers and staff to avoid such conduct. If a physician or other health care provider or organization observes, receives a report or charge or otherwise becomes aware of information indicating that a potential sexual assault or other inappropriate sexual conduct may have occurred, it should act promptly and appropriately to investigate and redress the conduct or suspected conduct in a manner designed to strengthen their defenses against possible disciplinary action or other liabilities and risks.   Because of the legal sensitivity and risk associated with the allegations of sexual misconduct and the investigation of those charges, physicians and other health care providers and organizations involved in these concerns generally should engage competent legal counsel as soon as possible when these concerns come to light for assistance in responding to the concerns, as well as the ability to use attorney-client privilege and work product, peer review, quality, and other legal privileges and other legal rules and safeguards to help promote confidentiality and defensibility of sensitive communications and conduct in connection with the investigation and response to these concerns.

For Help With Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance providing compliance or other training, reviewing or responding to these or other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies, to health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns/ She also regularly designs and presents risk management, compliance and other training for health care providers, professional associations and others including highly popular programs on “Sex Drugs & Rock ‘N Role: Managing Personal Misconduct in Health Care,” “Managing Physician Performance” and others..   Her publications and insights appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.

 

©2011 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.

 


States Get More Info On Affordable Care Act Medicaid Eligibility Maintenance Of Effort; Payers & Providers Must Monitor

March 7, 2011

On February 27, 2011, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius issued a new letter and a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document that explain Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) provisions in the Affordable Care Act in ways that afford greater flexibility to States.  The new guidance clarifies aspects of the maintenance of effort (MOE) rules for Medicaid and CHIP.  According to HHS, added guidance will follow.  In these turbulent financial times, states are likely to welcome guidance that allows them more flexibility.  While HHS and the states work out the detaails of these rules, health care providers and health plans also must keep a close eye out for developments that may require changes in enrollment or coverage coordination procedures to ensure their ability to comply with these evolving requirements.

The Medicaid MOE provision in the Affordable Care Act generally ensures that States’ eligibility rules for adults under the Medicaid program remain in place pending implementation of eligibility rules changes that become effective in January 2014.  The MOE provision for children extends to 2019.

The letter and supporting FAQ document released February 27, 2011 address three aspects of the MOE provisions:

  • The MOE exemption for higher-income adult populations in States that are experiencing budget deficits.  Under the Affordable Care Act, if a State has or projects a budget deficit, the MOE provision does not apply to adults who are not eligible for coverage on the basis of pregnancy or disability and whose incomes are above 133 percent of the Federal poverty level.  The FAQ document explains State options and how States can seek this exemption.
  • The implication of the MOE provision on Section 1115 demonstration projects.  Some States cover groups of people under Medicaid through a Section 1115 demonstration.  As explained in the FAQ document, the MOE provision generally applies to these waivers and demonstrations.  However, waivers and demonstration are, by their terms, time limited.  The guidance clarifies that the MOE provision does not require States to seek a new or renewed waiver after the expiration of their waiver or demonstration.
  • How premiums are treated under the MOE requirements.  Because premiums and premium increases have an impact on eligibility, previous guidance under the Recovery Act explained that new or increased premiums were considered to be a violation of the Recovery Act MOE requirement.  Because the period during which the Affordable Care Act MOE provisions apply is considerably longer than the MOE period under the Recovery Act, this new guidance offers States additional flexibility relating to premiums and the MOE requirements under the Affordable Care Act.  This will help a number of States that have been requesting the ability to adjust premiums for populations such as children in CHIP with family incomes above 150 percent of the Federal poverty line.

For Help With Compliance, Investigations Or Other Needs

If you need assistance responding to or monitoring changes in Medicaid, CHIP or other federal or state health program eligibility rules or dealing with other health care related risk management, compliance, enforcement or management concerns, the author of this update, attorney Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, may be able to help. Vice President of the North Texas Health Care Compliance Professionals Association, Past Chair of the ABA Health Law Section Managed Care & Insurance Section and the former Board Compliance Chair of the National Kidney Foundation of North Texas, Ms. Stamer has more than 23 years experience advising health industry clients about these and other matters. Ms. Stamer has extensive experience advising and assisting health care providers and other health industry clients to establish and administer medical privacy and other compliance and risk management policies and to respond to OCR, FTC, medical board and other health care industry investigation, enforcement and other compliance, public policy, regulatory, staffing, and other operations and risk management concerns. A popular lecturer and widely published author on health industry concerns, Ms. Stamer continuously advises health industry clients about compliance and internal controls, workforce and medical staff performance, quality, governance, reimbursement, and other risk management and operational matters. Ms. Stamer also publishes and speaks extensively on health and managed care industry regulatory, staffing and human resources, compensation and benefits, technology, public policy, reimbursement and other operations and risk management concerns including a number of programs and publications on Medicare quality and other compliance concerns.  Her publications and insights on HIPAA and other related matters appear in the Health Care Compliance Association, Atlantic Information Service, Bureau of National Affairs, World At Work, The Wall Street Journal, Business Insurance, the Dallas Morning News, Modern Health Care, Managed Healthcare, Health Leaders, and a many other national and local publications.  You can get more information about her health industry experience here. If you need assistance with these or other compliance concerns, wish to inquire about arranging for compliance audit or training, or need legal representation on other matters please contact Ms. Stamer at (469) 767-8872 or via e-mail here.

About Solutions Law Press

Solutions Law Press™ provides business risk management, legal compliance, management effectiveness and other resources, training and education on human resources, employee benefits, compensation, data security and privacy, health care, insurance, and other key compliance, risk management, internal controls and other key operational concerns. If you find this of interest, you also be interested reviewing some of our other Solutions Law Press resources including:

If you or someone else you know would like to receive future updates about developments on these and other concerns, please be sure that we have your current contact information – including your preferred e-mail – by creating or updating your profile here. For important information concerning this communication click here. 

THE FOLLOWING DISCLAIMER IS INCLUDED TO COMPLY WITH AND IN RESPONSE TO U.S. TREASURY DEPARTMENT CIRCULAR 230 REGULATIONS.  ANY STATEMENTS CONTAINED HEREIN ARE NOT INTENDED OR WRITTEN BY THE WRITER TO BE USED, AND NOTHING CONTAINED HEREIN CAN BE USED BY YOU OR ANY OTHER PERSON, FOR THE PURPOSE OF (1) AVOIDING PENALTIES THAT MAY BE IMPOSED UNDER FEDERAL TAX LAW, OR (2) PROMOTING, MARKETING OR RECOMMENDING TO ANOTHER PARTY ANY TAX-RELATED TRANSACTION OR MATTER ADDRESSED HEREIN.©2011 Cynthia Marcotte Stamer, P.C.  Non-exclusive license to republish granted to Solutions Law Press.  All other rights reserved.


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