CMS finalizes rules on new Medicare payment methodologies for clinicians

On October 14, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued final rules to implement a new Quality Payment Program which includes the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and Advanced Alternative Payment Models (Advanced APMs). The new program is authorized under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). That landmark bipartisan legislation: repealed Medicare’s flawed sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula, replaced three prior Medicare incentive programs, consolidated Medicare quality reporting requirements beginning in 2017, and authorized new pay-for-performance adjustments beginning in 2019 for eligible clinicians paid under the Medicare Part B physician fee schedule. [More]

Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act goes to the President

To address national concerns and issues related to the education, health and safety of Native children, Senator Heidi Heitkamp (D-ND) and Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) introduced the Alyce Spotted Bear and Walter Soboleff Commission on Native Children Act. Congress recently passed the Act, eight years after the Fostering Connections legislation was passed in 2008 to allow Native American tribes to develop and operate their own child welfare systems. [More]

CMS overhauls long term care standards

On October 4, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule in the Federal Register on Medicare/Medicaid standards that are applicable to long term care (LTC) facilities. The amendment is the most comprehensive upgrade of those standards since 1991. The new standards address issues examined at the White House Conference on Aging in July 2015 for a proposed rule which elicited nearly 10,000 public comments at the time. [More]

HHS proposes new rules on Medicaid fraud control units

On September 20, 2016, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Office of the Inspector General (OIG), and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), jointly proposed new rules governing state Medicaid fraud control units (MFCUs). The proposed rules would require that MFCUs and state Medicaid agencies establish, review, and periodically update memoranda of understanding (MOUs) on coordination between these state agencies. [More]

Bracing for Zika

Doctors in Puerto Rico, and across the United States, are preparing for the births of the first babies with known exposure to the Zika virus in their first trimester, according to a New York Times article published on September 26, 2016. The article, “Doctors Brace for Zika Babies,” highlights efforts to help the Pediatric community prepare for Zika; including the establishment of a network of pediatric health care providers and a recent meeting of pediatric experts and subspecialists held by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American Academy of Pediatrics. [More]

#PCGCares: Announcing our fifth “30 for 30” grant!

To commemorate our 30th year of service, and to offer some very humble thanks to our clients and the communities that we serve, PCG has pledged to donate $30,000 to six selected charities throughout 2016.

October marks the next grant in our yearlong campaign; it also marks the first time we are deviating from our planned approach of supporting one charity with the “30 for 30” donation. Instead, in response to the devastating floods that hit Louisiana in August, PCG is donating $10,000 to three organizations dedicated to delivering flood relief to communities across south Louisiana. Recipients of our fifth grant include the American Red Cross, the Louisiana Association of United Ways and Project 70805. [More]

Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) of 2016 Update

The momentum of passing the Family First Prevention Services Act (FFPSA) legislation has slowed although a Continuing Resolution for extension of federal appropriations through December 9, 2016 was passed on September 28, 2016. Currently, the legislation (FPPSA) calls for the delay of the final step of Fostering Connections legislation implementation, which would de-link income standards with children age two and under for Title IV-E Adoption Assistance. [More]

Texas Supreme Court denies appeal of lower court decision refusing to prevent legislative cuts to Medicaid rates for certain children’s home services

On Friday, September 23, 2016, the Texas Supreme Court refused to hear an appeal of a lower court decision, which held that certain providers and children’s advocacy groups lacked standing to invoke court jurisdiction in an attempt to prevent a state legislative $350 million Medicaid rate reduction for certain services to children with disabilities. [More]

GAO report examines cybersecurity under HHS programs

On September 26, 2016, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released a report entitled “Electronic Heath Information: HHS Needs to Strengthen Security and Privacy Guidance and Oversight.” The report examines rapid increases from 2009 through 2015 in breaches of personal health information, culminating in 56 major breaches affecting 113,181,615 health records in 2015. [More]