Health And Human Services

Provider groups push for RAC reform

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Hospital industry groups said Thursday they'd rather the government reform the Recovery Audit Contractor program than simply throw more money at fixing an onerous backlog of more than 800,000 Medicare appeals cases.

Government plan calls for increased surveillance, prosecution to combat elder abuse

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Elder abuse is inflicted upon many of the more than 2 million Americans in long-term care settings, and more oversight is needed, according to a government report published Wednesday.

Sebelius resigns as administration touts ACA enrollment numbers

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Kathleen Sebelius is resigning as head of the Department of Health and Human Services, White House officials confirmed to news outlets Thursday.

HHS proposes rule to improve consistency of long-term care ombudsman programs

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The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration on Aging has proposed a rule to create federal guidelines for long-term care ombudsman programs, to create more uniformity and address questions around ombudsman responsibilities, information disclosure, complaint resolution and conflicts of interest.

Government to step up HIPAA enforcement, release new compliance tools

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The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights (OCR) will expand Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act enforcement efforts in the next two years, according to OCR Director Leon Rodriguez.

ACOs, bundled payment groups 'becoming the face of American medicine,' Sebelius says

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Accountable care organizations and bundled payment initiatives are harbingers of the future healthcare system in the United States, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a speech on Tuesday. Sebelius addressed the American Medical Association National Advocacy Conference in Washington, D.C.

Judge grants final approval of Jimmo settlement

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Marking another step toward guaranteeing Medicare coverage for nursing home residents needing skilled services, a federal judge on Thursday approved the October 2012 settlement agreement in Jimmo v. Sebelius.

Omnibus HIPAA rule lays out 'sweeping changes'

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The Department of Health and Human Services issued an "omnibus" rule Thursday, comprehensively updating Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy and security regulations passed as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

U.S. health chief says government will not fund partial Medicaid expansions

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Answering the question on the minds of many state policymakers, the Obama administration said Monday it will not provide full federal funding for states that go only part of the way on expanding Medicaid.

Lawmakers threaten subpoena over Affordable Care Act PR campaign

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Republican members of the House Ways and Means Committee have threatened to subpoena federal health officials to gain access to public relations contracts related to the Affordable Care Act.

OIG should streamline Medicare's self-disclosed overpayment protocol, provider group says

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Federal officials need to provide clearer guidance and offer a more streamlined protocol for providers willing to self-disclose Medicare overpayments, a leading long-term care group says.

Proposed billing regulation would cut costs and red tape for providers, HHS says

Proposed billing regulation would cut costs and red tape for providers, HHS says

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Providers will save time and money through a proposed regulation that would allow providers to electronically post and reconcile payments from health plans, government officials said Tuesday.

Lawmaker questions existence of Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation

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A House Republican has doubts about a program created by the Affordable Care Act to test new care delivery models for Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries and dual eligibles.

Obama administration has missed half of health law's legal deadlines, report claims

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The Department of Health and Human Services missed roughly half of its legal deadlines for implementing the Affordable Care Act, a new report from a right-leaning advocacy group asserts.

OIG: Regulators need to sharpen retrieval of Medicare overpayments made to providers

OIG: Regulators need to sharpen retrieval of Medicare overpayments made to providers

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Medicare recovery audit contractors have not been diligent enough in collecting previously identified overpayments, a government investigation finds.

Reports forecast Medicare funding boost, dim overall outlook

Reports forecast Medicare funding boost, dim overall outlook

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The Affordable Care Act will help Medicare save over $200 billion through 2016, according to government actuaries. But questions as to Medicare's long-term solvency remain, another report from Social Security and Medicare Boards of Trustees states.

Funding for Alzheimer's research in question

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The $80 million President Obama designated to Alzheimer's research could have more strings attached to it than previously thought, a key senator has said.

HHS is overdue in providing federal Medicaid spending update

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Two top Congressional Republicans are concerned that a report on federal Medicaid spending is thus far two months late.

Alzheimer's taskforce plan now includes mention of assisted living services

Alzheimer's taskforce plan now includes mention of assisted living services

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Intensive lobbying paid off for assisted living groups vying for inclusion in the national Alzheimer's taskforce plan. The most recent taskforce plan includes assisted living in its strategy to assess and address the housing needs of those with Alzheimer's disease.

Footloose with Medicare dollars?: Investigators concerned by sharp increase in artificial feet

Physicians and federal investigators are concerned about a dramatic surge in Medicare spending for artificial feet for beneficiaries. While the number of diabetes-related lower limb amputations is falling, Medicare spending on artificial feet grew 60% in the last few years, according to an Associated Press investigation.

House repeals CLASS Act

House repeals CLASS Act

The House of Representatives repealed the CLASS Act on Wednesday night, although its future is far from clear. Many observers expect Republican efforts to repeal CLASS will die in the Senate, where there is likely not enough support to push through the Fiscal Responsibility and Retirement Security Act.

Adverse events in older adults are underreported in hospitals, report says

Adverse events for Medicare beneficiaries are underreported in hospitals, where incident reporting systems only capture about 14% of errors, according to a government report released Friday.

Government saved $17.6 billion in 2011 due to fraud prevention programs

Government saved $17.6 billion in 2011 due to fraud prevention programs

A government crackdown on improper payments in federal programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid, cut wasteful payments by $17.6 billion in 2011, the Office of Management and Budget reported Tuesday. The administration's Campaign to Cut Waste saved $7 billion in Medicare fee-for-service payment errors between 2010 and 2011, according to the OMB.

Obama administration offers up $1 billion for hiring and training healthcare workers

The Obama administration announced Monday the availability of $1 billion in grants for innovative healthcare organizations and projects that can train and hire workers quickly.

CLASS Act is far from dead, according to supporters

CLASS Act is far from dead, according to supporters

When the White House effectively killed the CLASS Act, the program's most vocal advocates dug in their heels in hopes of resurrecting the long-term care insurance program.

Poor coordination between Medicare and Medicaid complicates joint efforts, study shows

The fragmentation of the current healthcare system makes it difficult to measure quality among the dual-eligible population, according to a new report.

Funding for CLASS halted, prompting questions from GOP

The White House has asked the Senate Appropriations Health subcommittee to halt all funding for the CLASS Act for fiscal year 2012.

In another blow to CLASS, HHS shuts down office, reassigns staff

The chief actuary for the Department of Health and Human Service's CLASS Act program has said HHS is shutting down its CLASS office and that he no longer has a job, according to published reports.

Health and Human Services soliciting health IT data from nursing home vendors

Health and Human Services soliciting health IT data from nursing home vendors

The Department of Health and Human Services wants to study nursing home patient assessment data to determine whether health information technology standards can improve coordination of care.

HHS awards $352 million to providers for disaster preparedness

The Department of Health and Human Services announced last week that it is awarding $352 million in grant money to help healthcare providers improve disaster preparedness efforts.