China Issues New Telemedicine Opinions for China and Foreign-Based Providers


Telemedicine providers and vendors doing business in China, whether based in China, the United States, or elsewhere, received new guidance on the use of telemedicine in China. On August 29, 2014, the National Health and Family Planning Commission of the People’s Republic of China (NHFPC) published Interpretations (interpretive guidance) and associated regarding telemedicine services in China. (The Opinions are dated August 21, 2014.) These documents were released to the public shortly thereafter. The documents include the Interpretation and the “Opinions of the National Health and Family Planning Commission Regarding Promoting Medical Institutions’ Telemedicine Services,” reflect China’s efforts to promote the adoption and use of telemedicine in the country. Access a copy of the new Opinions and Interpretation, along with an English language translation, here.

The new Opinions represent the first official telemedicine guidance published since the former Ministry of Health’s brief but notable document, “Notice on Strengthening the Administration of Telemedicine Consultation” promulgated more than 15 years ago on January 4, 1999. The Opinions serve as an essential update to the 1999 Notice, including greater detail and representing important step forward in China’s policy position and regulatory expectations for telemedicine providers. Continue reading this entry

Medicare Bundled Payments Initiative and Oncology Care


The following post is provided by our guest author, Ronald Barkley, MS, JD from the Cancer Center Business Development Group. Ron can be reached at:

According to Modern Healthcare’sInterest Surges in Medicare Bundled Payment Initiative” article on July 31, 2014, enthusiasm for bundled pricing has been associated with the Medicare Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative, which has consisted principally of cardiac and orthopedic procedures with a hospital inpatient component. But what about modifying payment methods for oncology/cancer care? Is oncology next in line for alternate/bundled payment? Continue reading this entry

CMS Says: Let's Make a Deal


In the hours before everyone began enjoying Labor Day Weekend, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued an important inpatient hospital review update.

To expedite the appeals process and reduce the volume of inpatient status claims currently pending, “CMS is now offering an administrative agreement to any hospital willing to withdraw their pending appeals in exchange for timely partial payment (68% of the net allowable amount).” Continue reading this entry

CMS Issues Final Rule on Hospice Wage Index and Payment Rate Update for FY 2015


On August 4, 2014, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a final rule updating the hospice wage index and payment rate for Fiscal Year (FY) 2015 and adopting a number of payment reforms addressing concerns about program integrity, beneficiary protection, and quality (Final Rule). CMS also issued an accompanying Fact Sheet which summarizes the significant provisions. The Final Rule will be published in the Federal Register on August 22, 2014 with an effective date of October 1, 2014.

Hospices are paid on a per diem basis in one of four prospectively determined rate categories, i.e., routine home care, continuous home care, inpatient respite care, and general inpatient care. Hospice payments are subject to a patient-specific cap on inpatient days and an annual aggregate payment cap. Continue reading this entry

CMS Issues Final Rule for Inpatient Stays in Acute Care and Long Term Care Hospitals


On August 1, 2014, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued its annual final rule for policy and payment changes applicable to inpatient stays in acute care and long term care hospitals (Final Rule). This year’s Final Rule is more than 2,400 pages long and is expected to be published in the Federal Register on August 22, 2014. Revisions set forth in the Final Rule are effective for discharges occurring on or after October 1, 2014 (the start of the federal fiscal year (FY) 2015). CMS also issued a press release and Fact Sheet, explaining the highlights of the Final Rule. Continue reading this entry