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CMS calls for hospitals to be subject to a new bundled payment model and data-reporting requirements

Notable policies in Medicare’s FY25 proposed rule for inpatient hospital care and long-term care hospitals include the formation of a mandatory bundled payment model and requirements for hospital data reporting. Although the proposed payment rate was the headlining aspect of the rule for hospitals, the policy developments could have a longer-term impact on segments of…

Nick Hut April 16, 2024

The Medicaid unwinding continues to pose issues one year in, but healthcare coverage appears stable

The unwinding of Medicaid continuous-enrollment requirements reached the one-year mark this month amid mixed measures of the effect on overall coverage. In one sense, the impact has exceeded all projections. Since states could begin disenrolling Medicaid beneficiaries on April 1, 2023, coverage for more than 19.6 million beneficiaries had been terminated as of April 4,…

Nick Hut April 12, 2024

Hospital advocates bemoan the small Medicare payment increase proposed for FY25

The payment increase described in Medicare’s FY25 proposed rule for acute care and long-term care hospitals falls well short of what hospitals need to keep up with costs, advocates say. The payment rate would rise by 2.6% for hospitals that fulfill quality-reporting requirements and meet the criteria to be designated as meaningful users of electronic…

Nick Hut April 11, 2024

Navigate the new norms in telehealth billing and coding practices

While telehealth has been around for decades, its adoption soared during the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the American Medical Association, telehealth use grew 70% in 2020. While the use of telehealth since then has leveled off, it remains a valuable and popular care option. More than half of patients surveyed said they prefer telehealth for…

HFMA April 4, 2024

Insurers see reasons for concern as CMS keeps the Medicare Advantage purse strings tight for 2025

Medicare Advantage (MA) faces the prospect of constrained revenue and payments for participating stakeholders after CMS finalized what amounts to a small decrease in the 2025 payment rate. Average revenue for MA plans is projected to increase by 3.7%, or more than $16 billion — but that’s primarily because of a prospective increase in the…

Nick Hut April 4, 2024

News Briefs: Providers face trying times  in the first month after the Change Healthcare cyberattack  

Healthcare providers struggled financially and operationally in the first 30 days after a Feb. 21 cyberattack forced the shutdown of Change Healthcare’s claims submission and payment systems, among more than  100 other applications.  As of the week of March 18, parent company UnitedHealth Group had restored Change Healthcare’s payment platform and was reporting progress in…

Nick Hut March 30, 2024

Hospital finances are on the upswing, but the toll of the Change Healthcare outage is yet to be seen

Note: The second section of this article was updated where noted with a new comment from Fitch Ratings. There is reason to be optimistic about the state of hospital finances, but the impact of the Change Healthcare cyberattack has added uncertainty to the forecasts. Financial metrics for the first two months of 2024 continued to…

Nick Hut March 28, 2024

Battle of the Bots: As payers use AI to drive denials higher, providers fight back

Two fighters face each other in the ring, circling together, assuming there will be a single victor.   One, representing the U.S. health insurance industry, has made huge investments in aggressive technology over the past several years to automate claim processing and reviews, making it hard for the other fighter — representing the nation’s healthcare providers…

Jeni Williams March 28, 2024

The FY24 HHS budget covers key programs for rural hospitals while tightening spending in some areas

The newly passed budget covering HHS during the remainder of FY24 contains notable provisions for healthcare providers. The roughly $117 billion departmental budget for the next six months was set in an appropriations bill that was passed by Congress and signed by President Joe Biden within hours of the March 22 expiration of funding for…

Nick Hut March 25, 2024

Hospitals warrant an extra boost in their Medicare payment rate next year, MedPAC says

Hospitals will get a more favorable Medicare payment increase in FY25 if Congress follows the recommendations of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). In its semiannual report to Congress, MedPAC recommended a 1.5% bump on top of what otherwise would be provided according to statute. That would mean an estimated increase of about 4.5% for…

Nick Hut March 22, 2024
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