Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

Medicare beneficiaries in Special Needs Plans (SNPs) have higher Part D prescription drug utilization and costs than enrollees in other Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plans (MA-PDs) do. This is no surprise since, by design, Special Needs Plans serve higher-risk Medicare patients, including many dual eligibles. However, despite higher drug...
The incoming leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) face a number of serious management challenges. These challenges, recently identified by the Office of the Inspector General (OIG), will require close, sustained attention by the Secretary's Office and the agency heads, particularly at CMS and...
As the new Obama Administration and the 111th Congress focus on health care issues, here is a quick list of some of the Medicare policy changes Democrats will likely seek in 2009-2010: Likely Changes in Medicare Advantage: 1. Phase-out of difference between Medicare Advantage plan rates and Medicare fee-for-service: Some Medicare Advantage...
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has updated its excellent series of reader-friendly primers on Medicare payment methodologies for hospitals, physicians, Medicare Advantage plans, prescription drug plans, and other health care providers. MedPAC is an advisory agency to Congress and is highly influential, particlarly on payment methods, delivery systems,...
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has released its Medicare payment recommendations to Congress for 2011. In addition to specific recommendations for payment updates for fee-for-service providers and Medicare Advantage plans, MedPAC's report includes interesting information and analysis on spending trends, consequences of rapid spending on Medicare and the...
Medicare Advantage plans and Medicare Part D prescription drug plans face an extraordinary array of changes as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) and the Health Care and Education Reconciliation Act (HCERA). These include: New payment benchmarks for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, phased in and...
Comprehensive compliance programs are essential for all hospitals, health systems, physician practices, Medicare Advantage plans, Medicaid health plans, Medicare prescription drug plans, drug manufacturers, medical device makers, long-term care providers, and others doing business with Medicare, Medicaid, or other government health programs. To help prevent fraud, waste, and abuse in Medicare and...
Over time, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has revised the risk adjustment methodology for Medicare Advantage plan payments.  The risk adjustment process calculates a risk score for each Medicare Advantage (MA) plan enrollee, consistent with specific demographic factors and health status.  An MA plan's overall risk score...
Because preventative care can reduce expenditures and improve health outcomes, the GAO conducted a study examining actual preventative service use in relation to the U.S. Preventative Services Task Force (USPSTF) and Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) by Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) beneficiaries. This study also examined whether or not the...
As a natural outcome of program incentives, physicians and other health care providers are motivated to deliver more services as a means to increase Medicare fee-for-service (FFS) payments. Chronic overtreatment, and the resulting overpayment, has led Medicare into its current financial crisis. Medicare’s private insurance plans, Medicare Advantage (MA) plans,...

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