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

The nation’s 9 million Medicare-Medicaid dual eligibles - low-income frail seniors and persons of all ages with severe disabilities - now use about $350 billion in healthcare annually.  States and CMS are rolling out models to integrate Medicare and Medicaid financing and care delivery for dual eligibles.  These reforms are of...
Medicaid financing is extremely complex.  Federal upper payment limits on hospitals, nursing facilities, and other healthcare providers are a case in point.  Here is a quick primer. Origins of Upper Payment Limit: The Upper Payment Limit (UPL) is a federal limit placed on fee-for-service reimbursement of Medicaid providers.  Specifically, the Upper...
As part of the $1.1 billion provided to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) earmarked for comparative effectiveness research (CER) under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA or Recovery Act) of 2009, $474 million went to HHS’s Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) to support...
In its latest Medicaid Integrity Program Report, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) outlines Medicaid program integrity activities for FY 2011, including Medicaid-related audits and evaluations and Medicaid-related legal and investigative outcomes. Funding was employed in 2011 to oversee the integrity of Medicaid activity from the Health Care Fraud...
Nursing homes that receive federal Medicaid or Medicare funding must meet federal quality standards. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and states, accountable for ensuring compliance, inspect nursing facilities periodically using a CMS-developed and state-administered survey or inspection process. The Quality Indicator Study (QIS) is a new electronic study slated...
Several Medicare reform proposals have concentrated on realigning financial incentives within Medicare’s provider payment and delivery system to improve program cost-effectiveness and quality, a key health policy challenge. There have been calls to modernize Medicare’s fee-for-service (FFS) benefit design and address other beneficiary incentive issues as a means of...
Federal and state Medicaid spending currently exceeds $460 billion and, with this, accountability is necessary on all levels. To ensure Medicaid program integrity: Consistent incentives must be offered for better health outcomes. Services must be used appropriately. The program must be monitored on an ongoing basis. Programs must be managed efficiently. In an excellent new...
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...
Are you ready to be an Accountable Care Organization (ACO)? Significant new opportunities and challenges face health systems, hospitals, and physician practices as they decide whether to participate in the new Medicare Shared Savings Program and join together to form an Accountable Care Organization. Accountable Care Organizations: Your Guide to Strategy, Design, and Implementation is...
With an array of payment reforms, quality and safety requirements, massive expansion of Medicaid, and creation of the new State Health Benefit Exchange marketplace, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) presents extraordinary new challenges for compliance, especially for health plans, physicians, hospitals and health systems, and drug and device manufacturers. In...

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