Members Ask for Guidance from States on Extension of CHIP

In a letter sent to the governors in all states, Senators Wyden (D-OR) and Hatch (R-UT) and Reps. Upton (R-MI) and Waxman (D-CA) asked for responses by the end of October as to whether the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) should be extended and, if so, what funding and other changes need to be made to make the program work better.

IOM Issues Report Calling for Changes to GME Program

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a report critical of the current structure of Graduate Medical Education (GME) funding and offered Congress several policy options. The IOM report stated that the GME payment rules reflect an earlier era and discourage physician training outside the hospital where most health care is delivered. Although the report said current funding levels should be maintained, it recommended that the current payment system be phased out over ten years and reconfigured so that physicians are trained to provide better individual care and better population health while striving to lower costs. Also recommended was the establishment of an HHS GME Policy Council to develop a strategic plan for the allocation of GME financing and the makeup of specialists in the physician workforce. The report said CMS should also establish a CMS center to manage the operational aspects of the program and distribute funds directly to GME-sponsoring organizations.

HHS Sets Final ICD-10 Transition Date

HHS issued a final rule under which hospitals and health insurers would be required to transition to the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10) on October 1, 2015, the first date for adoption allowed under the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014.

CMS Final Payment Rules for IPFs and IRFs

CMS issued final rules for fiscal year (FY) 2015 Medicare payments providing for changes as follows: an increase of 2.1%, about $120 million, for 1,626 inpatient psychiatric facilities along with new quality measures and reporting requirements under the inpatient psychiatric facility (IPF) quality reporting program; and an increase of 2.4%, about $180 million, for 1,100 inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs).

Bundled Payments Initiative Adds Providers

CMS announced that under Phase I of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative the agency has added an additional 4,122 providers eligible to enter into pilot program payment arrangements that include financial and performance accountability for episodes of care. The pilot program created under the PPACA is intended to increase the quality of care and the level of coordinated care while lowering Medicare costs.

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