Senate

More action needed on adverse events in nursing homes, outpatient settings, expert tells Senators

More action needed on adverse events in nursing homes, outpatient settings, expert tells Senators

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Nursing homes and other non-hospital providers largely have been overlooked in efforts to improve patient safety, and this needs to change, an expert told a Senate panel Thursday. Today, "little is known" about the "distinct safety issues" in nursing homes and other non-hospital settings, said Tejal Gandhi, M.D., MPH, president of the National Patient Safety Foundation and a professor at Harvard Medical School.

Stability sought via budget deal

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Providers are likely looking forward to a fiscal 2014 with generally stable funding sources and no repeat of a government shutdown. The Senate was expected to vote on and pass a massive $1.1 trillion government spending bill as early as late this week. The House overwhelming passed it on Wednesday. The bipartisan agreement would keep payment levels to providers stable with those from 2013, which included sequestration cuts across most sectors. At 1,583 pages, the omnibus bill is a compromise for both major political parties. It funds the government through September and also sets overall spending limits for the next two years.

New bill emphasizes freedom in serious illness care plans

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A newly proposed bill aims to give people with serious and terminal illnesses more say in their care plan and provide Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement to healthcare professionals for holding discussions about a patient's goals, illness and treatment options. The American Association for Long-Term Care Nursing was among the healthcare associations that endorsed the measure.

Medicare 'doc fix' clears hurdle in the House, but providers still have questions

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A House of Representatives subcommittee has approved legislation reforming physician payments through Medicare. The bill passed out of the Energy and Commerce subcommittee on health by voice vote on Tuesday, after a two-day markup.

Chances of sequester deal look slim after Senate Democrats unveil proposal

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A Democratic proposal to replace the sweeping automatic spending cuts known as the sequester appears unlikely to pass the Senate, leading lawmakers and political observers to predict the $85 billion in cuts will take effect as scheduled on March 1.

Senate Democrats poised to introduce package to replace sequester cuts

Senate Democrats poised to introduce package to replace sequester cuts

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Democrats in the Senate could introduce a bill this week to replace the automatic spending cuts known as the sequester, which is scheduled to take effect March 1. Many long-term care stakeholders have opposed the 2% Medicare cuts that are part of the $85 billion sequestration package.

AHCA, Alliance, support Obama's renomination of Tavenner as head of CMS

AHCA, Alliance, support Obama's renomination of Tavenner as head of CMS

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Marilyn Tavenner, the acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, has been renominated by President Barack Obama to permanently fill the position.

No reason to cheer fiscal cliff 'solution'

No reason to cheer fiscal cliff 'solution'

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Should a person be congratulated and backslapped for simply doing his or her job? That's the question that should be on people's minds today as they ponder what has happened with fiscal cliff negotiations.

Preserving the status quo costs more than ever

Preserving the status quo costs more than ever

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As $6 billion investments go, the 2012 presidential and Congressional races didn't deliver much of a return. Except, of course, for people who like to spend money in order to keep things the way they are.

Senators demand more data on Medicare fraud prevention efforts

Senators demand more data on Medicare fraud prevention efforts

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A multimillion dollar Medicare fraud-fighting command center unveiled by the federal government a week ago is already drawing fire from two Republican lawmakers.

Rival small business tax cut bills fail in Senate

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Two bills that would have cut taxes for small business died in the Senate Thursday.

Technology helps anti-fraud efforts, but some say it's still not enough

Technology helps anti-fraud efforts, but some say it's still not enough

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Federal officials testified Tuesday at a Senate hearing that they have made significant strides in cracking down on healthcare fraud and abuse, though at least one prominent Republican said that not enough has been done.

House passes 20% tax cut for small businesses

House passes 20% tax cut for small businesses

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Small nursing home operators stand to benefit from a 20% tax cut for small businesses that passed the House Thursday.

IPAB repeal to be tied to malpractice legislation

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House Republicans plan to tie the repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board to medical malpractice legislation when Congress resumes next week.

'Doc fix' moves on to White House

'Doc fix' moves on to White House

A bill that contains legislation cancelling a scheduled Medicare reimbursement cut to physicians has passed the House and Senate.

All eyes turn to the Senate over the fate of the CLASS Act

Providers will be among the interested stakeholders watching closely for signs whether the Senate will follow the House's lead and vote to repeal the CLASS Act. Many observers believe the Democrat-led Senate will not, but there has been at least a minor shift in momentum for it recently. Various news reports have detailed what it could mean to have the dormant measure still on the books, and fiscal conservatives don't like it. Meanwhile, proponents of the first-ever government long-term care benefit continue to press their opponents with the question: If not CLASS, then what?

Congress votes to prevent whopping physician pay cut

Congress votes to prevent whopping physician pay cut

The House and Senate voted Friday morning to pass a two-month extension of the so-called "doc fix," preventing a scheduled 27.4% cut in Medicare payments for physicians.

Long-term care operators join the rest of the nation in wondering: Will Congress pull a rabbit out of its hat?

Long-term care providers and other caregivers — as well as significant other groups of people around the country — will be anxiously watching to see if the Senate and the House can get together on compromise funding legislation before the end of the year. At risk with the dawning of 2012 will be major funding cutbacks to Medicare doctors, expiration of the Medicare therapy exceptions process, among other items. An impasse was created after the Senate overwhelmingly passed a package that included a two-month extension to payroll tax cuts last weekend, but then the Republican-led House voted down the same measure. Millions of people will be affected one way or another.

CMS instructs contractors to hold physician payment claims as House votes down payroll tax cut bill

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has instructed claims contractors to withhold physician payment claims for the first 10 days of 2012, citing Congress' inability to address the "doc fix."

Providers tense, as House leaders vow to vote around Senate-approved measure with 'doc fix' and therapy cap extender bills

Providers tense, as House leaders vow to vote around Senate-approved measure with 'doc fix' and therapy cap extender bills

Provider groups were anxiously awaiting a vote that is expected to be held Tuesday in the U.S. House of Representatives. The balloting could determine the short-term fate of Medicare spending for the "doc fix" and an extension to the therapy caps exception process.

Providers 'working very hard' to ensure Senate doesn't vote for CLASS Act repeal

Providers 'working very hard' to ensure Senate doesn't vote for CLASS Act repeal

The House Energy and Commerce Committee voted to repeal the CLASS Act on Wednesday, making a full House vote possible by the end of the year. Meanwhile, providers in favor of the law have intensified efforts to ensure the Senate doesn't follow the House's lead.

Repeal excise tax on medical devices, letters state

More than 400 organizations and companies have sent letters to House and Senate leaders asking for the repeal of a 2.3% medical device excise tax. The tax is scheduled to begin in 2013. If enacted, it would cost vendors more than $2.7 billion each year, letters warn.

Bill would correct post-hospitalization Medicare loophole

A bipartisan group of House and Senate members have proposed legislation that would ensure that seniors have access to skilled nursing care after being hospitalized for observation.

Berwick supporters urge Obama, Senate to hold confirmation hearings

Embattled Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Donald Berwick received a shot of support recently from a number of high-profile colleagues in the medical field, according to news sources.

Consumer advocates to ask for more regulation of assisted living at Senate roundtable today

Consumer advocates to ask for more regulation of assisted living at Senate roundtable today

Assisted living should be subject to more government oversight and regulation, at least one consumer group is expected to recommend this afternoon at a Senate Special Committee on Aging roundtable.

Pssssst! Have we got a deal for you!

Pssssst! Have we got a deal for you!

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We might have just been subjected to the biggest dose of chutzpah seen in a long, long while. It smacked of the old image of the leering used-car salesman (sorry, used car sales people) rubbing his thumb and forefinger together to imply he could save YOU money.

What we have here is a failure to capitulate

What we have here is a failure to capitulate

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The saga of Donald Berwick as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services took an interesting, if not sadly predictable, turn last week. Opponents of his patron, President Obama, called for Berwick to be pulled from consideration for renomination.

Lawmakers fail to repeal provision designed to help finance healthcare reform

Lawmakers fail to repeal provision designed to help finance healthcare reform

The Senate failed to muster the votes Monday to repeal an unpopular tax reporting mandate that was passed to help finance the healthcare reform law.

Democrats prevent filibuster in health reform vote, Christmas Eve passage likely

The U.S. Senate could be just two days away from passing a massive healthcare reform package, based on reports out of the nation's capital that the Democrats have attained a 60-vote, filibuster-proof majority.

The gloves to come off in reform debate

Now that House Democrats, the dominant party in that chamber, have issued their proposal for healthcare reform, the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office will put a price tag on it. The full House then could vote on the measure by the end of next week.

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