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CMA and AMA urge exemptions from Open Payments reporting

The American Medical Association, the California Medical Association (CMA) and more than 80 other health care organizations recently submitted a joint letter in response to a request from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for feedback on the Open Payments Program reporting requirements. Under the Open Payments program, drug and medical device manufacturers are required to report their financial interactions with licensed physicians – including consulting fees, travel reimbursements, research grants and other gifts. The joint letter urges CMS to exempt journal reprints and medical textbooks from “Open Payments” ...

CMA recoups $29 million on behalf of physician members

California physicians have a powerful ally when it comes to dealing with problematic payors—the California Medical Association (CMA) Center for Economic Services (CES). Staffed by practice management experts with a combined experience of more than 125 years in medical practice operations, the CES team has recovered $29 million from payors on behalf of its physician members over the past 10 years. In 2018, CES had a record year, recovering nearly $11 million from payors on behalf of physician members, up from $3 million in 2017. This is money that would ...

Coding Corner: Separate reporting of pre-intra- and post-procedure work

“Coding Corner” focuses on coding, compliance, and documentation issues relating specifically to physician billing. This month’s tip comes from G. John Verhovshek, the managing editor for AAPC, a training and credentialing association for the business side of health care. The global surgical package includes all “necessary services normally furnished” by a provider “before, during, and after a procedure,” as defined by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Service (CMS). When a provider is responsible for only a portion of the global package (e.g., an emergency department physician initiates fracture care, ...

First-ever TRICARE open enrollment begins November 12

Beginning November 12 and running through December 10, 2018, TRICARE will initiate its first ever open enrollment period for beneficiaries to enroll in or change their TRICARE Prime or TRICARE Select health plan coverage. Beneficiaries already enrolled who want to continue with their current plan without changes do not need to do anything. Any changes made during the 2018 open enrollment will be effective January 1, 2019. Outside of open enrollment, beneficiaries enrolled in Prime or Select will only be able to make a plan change if they have ...

L.A. Care partially rescinds recoupment requests

Between June and August of this year, L.A. Care issued a large number of overpayment requests to physicians. According to L.A. Care, it was requesting refunds on overpaid Medi-Medi claims. However, some of the requests were for very old claims, dating back to 2012. The California Medical Association (CMA) raised concerns with L.A. Care about the timeliness of some of the refund requests, as California’s Knox Keene act limits plans’ ability to request refunds to 365 days from the date of payment, except in cases of fraud or misrepresentation. After ...

IEHP completes termination of Vantage contract; three plans extend termination dates

The California Medical Association (CMA) has confirmed that Inland Empire Health Plan (IEHP) completed its contract termination with Vantage on August 31, 2018. IEHP transitioned its 273,000 covered lives to the following delegated groups: Receiving Provider Group Number of Enrollees Alpha Care Medical Group 80,190 La Salle Medical Associates 74,428 IEHP Direct 74,176 ...

Noridian announces improvements to Medicare portal

Noridian, the Medicare Administrative Contractor for California, recently announced improvements to the Noridian Medicare Portal (NMP) that will make it easier for providers to identify reasons behind eligibility-related claim denials. When a claim is denied for eligibility-related reasons, providers can select the link under Claim Status in the “Related Inquiries” portion of the page to access details to assist with determining their next steps. Effective July 27, 2018, all NMP users can also send secure online messages to Noridian regarding medical reviews or to voice concerns to be addressed by ...

DHCS receives approval on Medi-Cal supplemental tobacco tax payments for FY 2018-2019

The California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) recently received federal approval on its plan to increase Medi-Cal fee-for-service physician payments for the 2018-2019 fiscal year. The supplemental payments—made possible by the Proposition 56 tobacco tax funding—will raise payments for a total of 23 CPT codes, including 10 new preventive CPT codes. DHCS will be increasing the supplemental payment for the previously eligible CPT codes to 85 percent of Medicare (a 40 percent average increase in payments for these eligible codes compared with 2017 – 2018 payment levels). The 10 ...

Have you received your supplemental Medi-Cal managed care payments?

The California Health Care, Research and Prevention Tobacco Tax Act of 2016 (Prop 56) created new revenues dedicated to the Medi-Cal program. Physicians receive supplemental payments in both fee-for-service and Medi-Cal managed care when providing Medi-Cal services under certain CPT codes.  While the California Department of Health Care Services (DHCS) began disbursing FY 2017-2018 supplemental fee-for-service payments in January 2018, federal approval of the supplemental Medi-Cal managed care payments was delayed. This resulted in delayed payment for Medi-Cal managed care services. DHCS began dispersing the FY 2017-2018 funds to the plans ...

CMS identifies and corrects errors in MIPS scoring logic

Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released 2017 Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance scores and payment adjustment information for the 2019 payment year. Physicians have been able to request targeted reviews if they believe an error was made in the calculation of their performance score. The requests CMS received through targeted reviews led them to take a closer look at a few prevailing concerns. Those concerns included the application of the 2017 Advancing Care Information and Extreme and Uncontrollable Circumstances hardship exceptions, the awarding of Improvement Activity ...