HHS

Azar toes company line, which isn't half bad

Azar toes company line, which isn't half bad

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When the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services addressed a gathering of nursing home owners and operators Tuesday in Washington, it might not have been the HHS Secretary everyone had once hoped for. But at least he delivered his message straight and didn't drop any big surprises on anyone.

Religious conscience objections 10 times as high since HHS launched new division

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More than 300 healthcare workers have complained to the Health and Human Services Department about employers infringing on their religious or conscience rights, a monthly total that increased nearly tenfold.

Federal health services face erosion on third day of federal government shutdown

Federal health services face erosion on third day of federal government shutdown

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Senators on both side of the aisle engaged in heavy negotiations — and in some cases political sniping — on Sunday, as they faced the prospect of a third day of the government shutdown.

Administration to shield health workers who refuse to treat transgender patients

Administration to shield health workers who refuse to treat transgender patients

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The Trump administration is expected to institute new protections as soon as this week for healthcare workers who refuse to treat transgender patients or perform other types of care to which they morally object.

Medical records firm sues HHS over HIPAA document fees

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A technology company that helps healthcare providers complete medical records requests is suing the Department of Health and Human Services over "irrational, arbitrary" HIPAA limits that cap how much providers can charge for those documents.

HHS releases long-awaited interoperability framework

HHS releases long-awaited interoperability framework

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The quest for secure, shareable information in the medical world is inching closer to reality.

Ex-drug exec picked to run health agency

Ex-drug exec picked to run health agency

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President Donald Trump chose a former pharmaceutical company executive in mid-November to take over as the nation's top health official.

Field for the new HHS chief includes celebs

Field for the new HHS chief includes celebs

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Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma and television personality Mehmet Oz, M.D., are rumored to be on a list of potential candidates to replace former Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D.

HHS wants input on obstacles facing faith-based providers

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The Department of Health and Human Services wants to hear from faith-based healthcare providers about any challenges or obstacles they face participating in federal healthcare programs, according to a recent notice.

HHS issues final rule on the ACA's anti-discrimination provisions

HHS issues final rule on the ACA's anti-discrimination provisions

The rule requires that each covered healthcare program provide notice of its compliance with the rule's various policies and requirements, as well as how to file grievances and a complaint with OCR.

The root cause of naked photos

The root cause of naked photos

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Sen. Tom Carper (D-DE) had never crossed my radar before this week, but he certainly has my attention now. He's demanding feedback from federal regulators on their tracking of social media exploitation by rogue nursing home employees.

OIG says critical access swing beds should be paid at SNF rates

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New legislation should be introduced to significantly change the way rural-based hospitals are reimbursed for care provided in post-acute care swing beds, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General told the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week.

Nursing homes receive an unexpected compliment

Nursing homes receive an unexpected compliment

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Would anyone recommend duplicating something if they didn't feel it was worthy or successful? Of course not. It's this reasoning that should give skilled nursing operators comfort and pride.

Industry warily eyes funding adjustments

Industry warily eyes funding adjustments

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Long-term care leaders have mixed feelings about a first-ever federal timeline for more bundled and other alternative payments, calling it "a good thing" but also "aggressive."

OIG: Government should consider more drug substitution

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Drug substitutions saved the government $13 million last year, but more drug substitutions under Medicare Part B would have saved an additional $6 million, the Office of Inspector General for Health and Human Services concluded in a recent report to Congress.

Federal judge orders the return of $90 million in Medicaid credits

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The state of Georgia may be the mouse that roared after convincing a federal court last week to force the government to return a bungled $90 million credit, even after ruling Health & Human Services had every right to reject the state's request.

Also in the news for Friday, February 6

CATO blogger calls nursing home lobbyists parasites ... Tennessee Medicaid expansion plan fails ... HHS to release draft adult immunization plan Friday.

Providers tentatively welcome Medicare payment goals tied to quality

Providers tentatively welcome Medicare payment goals tied to quality

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Long-term care leaders on Monday called a first-ever federal timeline for greater levels of bundled and other alternative payments "aggressive" but "a good thing."

Also in the news for Monday, Sept. 29

Nursing homes in Connecticut fined for verbal abuse ... HHS announces $212M in grants to combat chronic disease ... National Association of Medicaid Directors lays out recommendations on managed care and modernizing program.

Also in the News for Sept. 23, 2014

Trial begins in $1 billion-plus nursing home case tied to Illinois candidate for governor ... Long shifts for nurses correlate to decline in quality, European study finds ... Legally married same-sex couples are family members under HIPAA, according to HHS guidance.

House leader urges HHS to end settlements meant to cut Medicare backlog

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The Department of Health and Human Services may not have had the authority to offer providers special settlements to help clear a huge backlog of Medicare appeals, a leading Congressman said in a recent letter to the agency. Rep. Kevin Brady (R-TX) is urging HHS to halt the new settlement process.

AHRQ to host webinar on fall prevention

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality will host a webinar on fall prevention in long-term care facilities on Aug. 13, from 1 p.m. to 2 p.m.

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.

Improper coding for doctors' evaluation and management visits costs Medicare billions, OIG report

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Documentation coding errors related to routine patient evaluation and management (E/M) visits are costing the Medicare program billions of dollars in improper payments a year — nearly $7 billion alone in 2010 — according to a new government report. But the investigation involved few claims involving nursing homes.

Also in the news for May 9, 2014 . . .

Potential HHS chief gets friendly reception from senators ... Handshake strength helps predict dementia, mortality, researchers say ... 'Picky eater' cells could be new Alzheimer's therapy targets

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 wants civil monetary penalty rules changed

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Civil monetary penalties for providers will be revised if two proposed rules from the Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Inspector General are approved.

When we talk about providing good care, what do we really mean?

When we talk about providing good care, what do we really mean?

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In case you haven't noticed, "quality" is quite the buzzword in long-term care these days.

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 initiatives aim to decrease number of disabled people in nursing homes

Government initiatives aim to decrease number of disabled people in nursing homes

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The federal government is ramping up efforts to reduce the number of disabled people in nursing homes through interagency initiatives. While many disabled people have already been moved out of nursing homes, a sharper focus is needed because the aging of the baby boom generation will increase the number of seniors with disabilities, the Education Department said in a Federal Register article.