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Showing 48 posts in Affordable Care Act.

ALERT – ACA Section 1557 Now in Effect – Is your rural health clinic in compliance?

On October 16th, Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) went into effect, requiring all recipients of money from federal health care programs to provide language assistance for individuals with Limited English Proficiency at no cost. This section applies to rural health clinics (“RHCs”) as well, which means they must now comply with notice and assistance regulations as well as grievances in the cases of larger entities.  More >

Primary Care Providers – Are you feeling the pinch?

It was nice while it lasted – due to a provision of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), services furnished by certain primary care providers (“PCPs”) were subject to an enhanced payment rate for Calendar Years 2013 and 2014. These PCPs had to have (a) been Board certified in the specialty designation of family medicine, general internal medicine or pediatric medicine or have a subspecialty designation recognized by specific boards or associations, or (b) furnished more than 60% of claims in specific evaluation and management or vaccine administration services under certain codes to have been eligible for these enhanced payments.[1] The payments were raised to the level of the Medicare Part B fee schedule rate (unless the actual billed charge for the service was lower), and providers had until April 1, 2013 to self-attest to being eligible.[2] The increase applied to both fee-for-service and managed care Medicaid plans. More >

Pharmacists: Aren’t you really providers already? - Part One

While the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) ushered in a new era of access to health care, it only served to exacerbate a growing crisis in the provision of health care – lack of providers. As of April 2015, the Health Resources and Services Administration lists the population of the United States that lives within a health professional shortage area (“HPSA”) for primary care as 103,847,716, with 1,023,989 of those living in Kentucky.[1] This shortage calls for a reimagining of ways that non-physician providers can fill the care gap, and the debate surrounding the provider status of pharmacists with regard to federal health care programs is evidence of a changing mindset. More >

Kentucky’s Evolving Behavioral Health Providers

Psychology TherapyOne of the most important effects of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) is the profound change in the coverage of behavioral health services. Building on the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008, the ACA requires both Medicaid and Medicare to provide far more robust behavioral health benefits, especially in the area of substance abuse. This expansion of benefits is not without growing pains - health care providers are waking up to the new reality of a vastly expanded need for substance abuse and other mental health services as well as providers. As state Medicaid programs struggle to finance these new benefits, the need for behavioral health care providers and clinicians has become acute. This is especially true in Kentucky, where access to substance abuse care is crucial due to the epidemic of prescription drug and heroin addictions. Fortunately, however, the Cabinet for Health and Family Services has taken proactive steps to strengthen and expand behavioral health infrastructure to meet the ACA’s directives. More >

The Unhappy Intersection of Hospital Mergers and Antitrust Laws

Posted In Affordable Care Act, Hospitals

The rapidly-evolving field of health care has been moving lately towards a single-minded goal – coordination of patient care in the name of efficiency and efficacy. Hospital systems are more and more often merging with other medical practices to better achieve the standards and goals of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, however, recently provided a stark reminder that the ACA isn’t the only law hospitals need to consider compliance with in these mergers.Modern Hospital More >

The Importance of HPSA and MUA Designation

Rural communities in Kentucky are still largely underserved by health care providers. With the expanded range of Medicaid and Medicare services now available as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), rural health care infrastructure needs a shot in the arm to meet the demand. Fortunately, several programs exist to incentivize the provision of rural health care, and Kentucky providers in underserved areas should begin taking advantage of them. More >

Charitable Hospitals and Community Health Needs Assessments

In the last days of 2014, the IRS released regulations that finalized the compliance requirements for charitable hospitals. These new 2014 IRS regulations relate to the Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA or needs assessment) requirements for nonprofit hospitals or nonprofit organizations Senior female doctor using a tablet computer in her officeoperating a hospital contained in Section 501(r) of the tax code, which was created by the Patient Portability and Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). Section 501(r) requires that thorough CHNAs be conducted every three years in order to maintain their 501(c)(3) nonprofit status. These needs assessments must define the community served by the hospital, the needs of the community, and a strategy addressing the identified community needs. Since each facility that fails to meet CHNA requirements loses its nonprofit status and has to pay a $50,000 excise tax, nonprofit hospitals and networks need to pay special attention to the changes and incorporate these new requirements into their needs assessments. More >

Three Factors Affecting the Mid-Level Practitioner Workforce, Part One

As more Kentuckians gain access to health care as a result of the Affordable Care Act, healthcare workforce shortages for primary care providers becomes problematic particularly in rural Kentucky. Never before have mid-level practitioners been more important. The Health Resource and Services Administration (“HRSA”) estimates that there will be a shortage of 20,400 primary care ­physicians by 2020, but this number could be drastically reduced – as low as 6,400 – with an abundant increase in the autonomous practice of mid-level providers[1]. The same HRSA study concluded that a fully-utilized workforce of mid-level practitioners could account for 28% of all primary care by 2020. Three factors make mid-level practice more attractive than ever in Kentucky. More >

DOJ Intervenes In Case Involving ACA’s 60-Day Overpayment Rule

Recently, the Department of Justice (“DOJ”) intervened in a qui tam whistleblower suit in the US District Court for the Southern District of new York, which involves Continuum Health Partners and several Mount Sinai-related hospitals. United States ex. Rel. Kane v. Continuum Health Partners, Inc. et al, (Civil Action, No. 11-2325(ER)). While DOJ intervention in whistleblower cases is not unusual, this case is significant because the DOJ’s complaint specifically alleges that the defendants failed to return Medicaid overpayments within 60 days, as required by the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”). The case is one of the first to explore the issues and interpret the requirements of the 60-Day Rule. More >

AMA Releases Guiding Principles on Telemedicine

Posted In Affordable Care Act, Health Care Law, Physician shortages, Telehealth

The American Medical Association (“AMA”) recently approved “guiding principles” regarding the provision of medical services through telecommunications technologies, i.e. telemedicine. These principles stem from a previous policy report developed by the AMA’s Council on Medical Service and address major issues in telemedicine, including: More >

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