Data Consolidation Under the PPACA

The Health Resources and Services Administration has proposed transferring all of the data in the Healthcare Integrity and Protection Data Bank to the National Practitioner Data Bank and eliminating the operations of the HIPDA.  Under the proposed rule, all data would be reported only to the NPDB.

ICD-10 Coding Delayed

CMS announced that the agency is likely to delay the PPACA’s required implementation by FY 2014 of the International Classification of Diseases, 10th Revision (ICD-10), coding system for classifying health care diagnoses and procedures.  CMS said the agency will later announce its rulemaking agenda regarding the requirement.

Senate and House FDA Hearings

At a Senate Finance Committee hearing, Senator Ron Wyden and other members asked HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to take proactive steps to prevent the shortage of prescription drugs, particularly pediatric cancer drugs, which have become more prevalent over time.  The Secretary responded that advance notification might prevent “market glitches” and allow for alternative sources to be found and said HHS would work with senators who have introduced legislation, S. 1813, which would require mandatory notification to the FDA and the public of impending drug shortages.  Also, at a House Energy and Commerce Health Subcommittee hearing on medical device safety, the Director of the FDA Center for Devices and Radiological Health said that the FDA’s regulations are not hurting innovation and that more can be done to meet the agency’s goals.  Chairman Joe Pitts had this to say about the FDA agreement with manufacturers over user fees: “What is best for patients, and what is best for jobs, is to have a device review process that is clear, transparent, predictable, and accountable.  I hope that is what the proposed agreement accomplishes.”  However, consumer advocates said that they think the user fee agreement fails to make any patient safety improvements and falls short of providing the resources needed to meet increasing demands on the FDA.

Medicare Overpayment Recovery Rule

CMS announced a proposed rule which would require Medicare providers to return overpayments (e.g. for non-covered services, duplicate payments, errors, etc.) within 60 days of such a determination.  Comments are due by April 16th.

Coburn/Burr Medicare Reform Proposal

Senators Tom Coburn and Richard Burr announced their plans to introduce a Medicare reform proposal which they said would save between $200-500 billion over ten years.  In general, the plan would restructure Medicare along the Medicare Part D model, increase the age of eligibility to 67 over time, raise premiums for higher-income beneficiaries, limit eligibility to Medigap insurance coverage, and combine the deductibles for Part A and Part B, among other things.

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