HMS Among Experts Weighing In On Healthcare

HMS Healthcare Management Solutions is participating in a panel discussion coordinated by the Connecticut Commission On Aging today, January 27, 2012.  HMS Director of Home Care & Hospice, Kim Skehan, is among the panel of experts weighing in on workforce development and long-term services related to the direct care workforce.

In addition, HMS will be attending a press conference, Home Care: It’s Complicated at the Legislative Office Building in Hartford this afternoon.  The event is hosted by Representatives Betsy Ritter and Michelle Cook and the Connecticut Home Health Legislative Work Group with Skehan been an integral part of.  Representatives from DSS, DPH and DCP are expected to attend.

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Center Aims To Cut Health-Care Costs

The Obama administration touts it as a key solution to the nation’s runaway health-care spending: a new national center set up by the 2010 health-care law to test and implement groundbreaking ways to cut costs while improving patient care.

This week, officials will release a report summarizing its progress: 16 recent initiatives, funded with more than $1.7 billion in federal money, that will involve more than 50,000 providers over the next five years.

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation is technically limited to experimenting with payment incentives and methods of delivering care within Medicare and Medicaid, as well as the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP). But the center will work with providers who also see a large share of private patients, to ensure that the models tested are effective for those populations as well.

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GOP Leaders Drafting ‘Replace Bill’ For Health Care Overhaul

In an effort to seize any opportunity presented if Obama’s signature legislation is ruled unconstitutional, House Republican leaders are drafting a bill to replace President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul if the Supreme Court strikes it down this summer.

The Republican bill would include malpractice reform, high-risk insurance pools for people with pre-existing conditions, tax breaks for individuals and small businesses, and would allow people to buy cheaper coverage from insurers in another state.

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Medicare Home Health Agency Utilization By State

Curious about how much each state utilizes home care services? Click below to view the Medicare Home Health Agency Utilization By State report based on provider data derived from bills for services performed in 2010 and recorded inCMS central records as of June 2011.

Click here to view the report, which includes information on reimbursement, number of patients, visits, average reimbursement and average visits per patients and contact HMS Health Care Management Solutions for more information.

5010 Compliance Postponed

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is delaying enforcement of the January 1 deadline for Version 5010 compliance.  Practices now have until March 31, 2012 to make the switch.

CMS is still urging all HIPAA covered entities to work toward the January 1 deadline, but won’t take action against those who aren’t compliant until March 31.  The agency still expects HIPAA-covered entities to continue good-faith efforts to comply with the 5010 conversion.

HMS Healthcare Management Solutions information systems are currently compliant with the 5010 update to the HIPAA electronic transaction standards. Because of the cutting-edge technology HMS invests in, we are prepared for the change and are here to assist you along the way.  Our systems are in place and have been tested to ensure you can continue to send claims and receive reimbursement without interruption.



Two Sides Far Apart on Payroll Tax Cut

Meeting for the first time, members of a new bipartisan, House-Senate committee negotiating a final version of a yearlong payroll tax cut agreed that a deal had to be struck before the end of February, when a short-term extension that passed in December will expire.

Expiration of the 2011 two-percentage-point cut to the payroll tax would raise taxes on around 160 million workers, and 3 million could lose their jobless benefits if unemployment insurance is not renewed as part of the deal. Congress, already at historic lows in popularity, will take another hit if consensus cannot be reached.

But negotiators are far apart in how to cover the $160 billion it would cost to maintain the cut, extend expiring unemployment benefits and avoid deep cuts in fees to doctors treating Medicarepatients.

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State Of Union Speech Light On Healthcare

Presenting what he called a “blueprint for an economy built to last,” President Barack Obama focused heavily on strengthening American business and innovation in a State of the Union address that barely mentioned healthcare.

The lack of attention to the issue comes during a year when the U.S. Supreme Court will determine the constitutionality of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), the seminal 2010 healthcare law that many of the president’s supporters view as one of Obama’s greatest achievements as president.

Obama addressed healthcare within the context of the national deficit, which was a hotly debated issue on Capitol Hill throughout 2011. He noted that lawmakers have already agreed to more than $2 trillion in cuts and savings, but that more needs to be done. The president said because of tax-code loopholes, a quarter of all millionaires currently pay lower tax rates than millions of middle-class households.

“Do we want to keep these tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans?” Obama said. “Or do we want to keep investments in everything else—like education and medical research; a strong military and care for our veterans? Because if we’re serious about paying down our debt, we can’t do both.”

The president acknowledged that he is receptive to changes to the nation’s federal healthcare programs—but did not say what he would accept in that regard.

“As I told the speaker this summer, I am prepared to make more reforms that rein in the long-term costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and strengthen Social Security, so long as those programs remain a guarantee of security for seniors,” Obama said, although he did not offer further details.

Meanwhile, Obama took a shot at the nation’s insurers, saying he will not “go back to the days when health insurance companies had unchecked power to cancel your policy, deny you coverage, or charge women differently than men.”