Repositioning of Nursing Homes to Alternative Models of Care

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The juncture of the increasing drive to lower healthcare costs, consumer preferences for at home care or care in more residential environments, and the ability to deliver care as needed in portable and flexible ways, all have combined to produce an acceleration in the closure and repositioning of traditional SNFs to alternative uses. All of this is creating occasional access issues for residents even in States where there is a surplus of beds or a moratorium in place on new construction. Continue reading this entry

House Plans to Vote Thursday on Medicare Physician Payments, CHIP Extension Legislation

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After a decade of short-term actions, congressional leaders are pushing this week to permanently repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment rates, and replace the system with one that values quality outcomes. The SGR formula has called for dramatic cuts every year for the past 10 years, but Congress has passed several temporary “patches” over the formula since then to keep physician payments steady. Without congressional intervention, doctors will face a 21% reduction in Medicare payments rates after the current patch expires on March 31.

The House plans to vote March 26 on a legislative package that will permanently repeal the SGR formula and extend the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for two years. As of Tuesday evening, some Senators were still talking about passing a 30-day extension, to allow for more time to garner more support in their chamber. But House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) told reporters that the House will not pass any temporary extensions, putting pressure on the Senate to pass the House bill (presuming it passes in the House on Thursday) before Congress goes into spring recess at the end of this week. Continue reading this entry

Congressional Leaders Introduce Legislation to Repeal Medicare’s SGR Formula, Increase Physician Reimbursement Rates

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A group of bipartisan, bicameral congressional leaders introduced a bill, on March 19, to repeal the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula that governs Medicare physician payment rates. The formula has called for dramatic payment cuts every year for the past 10 years, but Congress has passed several temporary “patches” over the formula through the years to keep physician payments steady. The current patch will expire on March 31, after which doctors will face a 21% reduction in Medicare payment rates. (See related post, CMS Releases the 2015 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule) Continue reading this entry

CMS Announces Next Generation ACO Model

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CMS announced a new ACO payment initiative on March 10, 2015, the Next Generation ACO Model, designed for entities experienced in coordinating care for populations of patients. The announcement reflects CMS’ commitment to exploring different Medicare payment arrangements that encourage providers to assume higher levels of financial risk and reward while delivering quality care. The Next Generation ACO Model is an alternative to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (“MSSP”) and the Pioneer ACO Program and is another effort of CMS to expand value-based contracting. Continue reading this entry

China Telemedicine Tackles Long Term Care: Business Opportunities and Government Guidance

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This post is the fifth in Foley’s blog series, “Realizing the Potential of Telemedicine in China,” meant to address top issues facing U.S. companies looking to enter the Chinese telemedicine market.

A China government policy development program uses telemedicine as the lynchpin in China’s promotion of healthcare services for the elderly, including accelerated pilot programs for telemedicine services at elder care institutions in the Beijing municipality and Hubei and Yunnan provinces. Read our discussion below, plus access our exclusive Chinese-to-English translation of the official notice. Continue reading this entry