Implementation of the Healthcare Deficit Reduction Act

Signed by President Bush in 2006

By Gregory O. Ginn; PhD, MBA, CPA, MEd

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™

The Deficit Reduction Act (DRA), S. 1932, was signed by President Bush on February 8, 2006, and became Public Law No. 109-171.  Implementation of the act includes these provisions:

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Subtitle A – Provisions Relating to Medicare Part A

  • hospital quality improvement (section 5001);
  • improvements to Medicare-dependent hospital (MDH) programs (section 5003);
  • reduction in payments to skilled nursing facilities (SNFs; section 5004);
  • phase-in of inpatient rehabilitation facility classification criteria (section 5005);
  • development of a strategic plan regarding investment in specialty hospitals (section 5006);
  • demonstration projects to permit gain-sharing arrangements (section 5007); and
  • post-acute care payment reform demonstration programs (section 5008).

Subtitle B  Provisions Relating to Medicare Part B

  • title transfer of certain durable medical equipment (DME) to patients after 13-month rental (section 5101);
  • adjustments in payment for imaging services (section 5102);
  • limitations on payments for procedures in ambulatory surgical centers (ASCs; section 5103);
  • minimum updates for physician services (section 5104);
  • three-year extension of hold-harmless provisions for small rural hospitals and sole community hospitals (section 5105);
  • updates on composite rate components of basic care-mix adjusted prospective payment systems (PPS) for dialysis services (section 5106);
  • accelerated implementation of income-related reductions in Part B premium subsidy (section 5111);
  • Medicare coverage of ultrasound screening for abdominal aortic aneurysms; National Educational And Information Campaign (section 5112);
  • improvements to patient access and utilization of colorectal cancer screening under Medicare (section 5113);
  • delivery of services at federally qualified health centers (FQHC) (section 5114); and
  • waiver of Part B Late Enrollment Penalty for certain international volunteers (section 5115).

Subtitle C – Provisions Relating To Parts A and B

  • home health payments (section 5201);
  • revision of period for providing payment for claims that are not submitted electronically (section 5202);
  • timeframe for Part A and B payments (section 5203); and
  • Medicare Integrity Program (MIP) funding (section 5204).

Subtitle D – Provisions Relating To Part C

  • phase-out of risk adjustment budget neutrality in determining payments to Medicare Advantage organizations (section 5301); and
  • Rural PACE Provider Grant Programs (section 5302).[1]

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The goal of the act is to save nearly $40 billion over five years from mandatory spending programs through slowing the growth in spending for Medicare and Medicaid. Has it been successful to-date?

Assessment

We know from personal experience that the DRA can be implemented by all healthcare stakeholders to the benefits of the industry sector in the aggregate. But, has it been?

Conclusion

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Editors Note: Gregory Ginn has been a professor in the Department of Health Care Administration at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, since 2000. He received his doctorate, MBA, M.Ed., and undergraduate degree from the University of Texas at Austin, and is an inactive Certified Public Accountant registrant in the States of Nebraska and Texas. Before his current position at UNLV, he spent time teaching at Clarkson College, College of Saint Mary, University of Findlay, University of Central Texas, Stephen F. Austin State University, State University of New York at Buffalo, University of Houston at Victoria, University of Texas at Austin, and the Southwest Texas State University. Prior to his academic roles, he was an accountant for Touche Ross & Co., and an Internal Revenue Service Tax Auditor. Dr. Ginn has also been a reviewer for organizations such as: Health Care Management Review and the Health Care Administration Division of the Academy of Management. He is Treasurer for the Nevada Executive Health Care Forum and was a member of the Southern Nevada Wellness Council. His graduate teaching experience in healthcare administration is abundant, having taught courses in: Management of Health Services Organizations, Quantitative Methods, The U.S. Health Care System, Health Care Systems and Policy, Health Care Finance, Group Practice Management, Long-term Care, and Health Care Law.  He has been published in numerous journals, including Journal of Healthcare Management, Hospital Topics, Nursing Homes, Journal of Nursing Administration, International Electronic Journal of Health Education, and Hospital and Health Services Administration. His current and former professional memberships include: American College of Healthcare Executives, Nevada Executive Healthcare Forum, Academy of Management, Association of University Programs in Health Administration, Certified Medial Planner (Hon.) and Heartland Health Care Executives.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

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A Skeptical View of the ‘National Summit on Health Care Fraud’

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Seeking Real Results; not Empty Rhetoric

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

All our ME-P readers and subscribers are aware of the ‘National Summit on Health Care Fraud’, at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), held on January 28, 2010 in Bethesda, Maryland. The much publicized summit discussed ways to eliminate fraud, waste and abuse in the US health care system.

A major speaker, of course, was US Secretary of Health and Human Services [DHSS] Kathleen Sebelius.

In My Opinion

IMHO, the summit was more political posturing and “nibbling at the margins”, than innovative thought leadership. Much like a hawkish politician with a platform against crime; who can argue with the proposition?

But, how do we actually reduce fraud and abuse? In other words, how can we achieve real results, and not just more anti-fraud rhetoric?

Here are two considerations, currently on the books, that need hard enforcement:

1. Medicare Integrity Program

The MP-P allows the DHHS to contract with non-governmental organizations, known as Medicare Program Safeguard Contractors, to carry out fraud and abuse detection, cost report audits, utilization review, provider payment determinations, and provider education, and to create a list of durable medical equipment subject to prior authorization for reimbursement.

Under this program, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) must implement regulations for contracting procedures.

2. Beneficiary Incentive Program

Under the BIP, Medicare beneficiaries are encouraged to report any suspicious billing activities. When a claim results in collection of funds of at least $100, the beneficiary may be paid a portion of the collections, up to $1,000 for each occurrence. Since this process does not require the same amount of time and resources associated with whistleblowing actions, there has been activity generated by senior groups leading to various enforcement actions.

This program has allowed the Medicare carriers to send notices to patients, which encourages them to call, report, and possibly be rewarded if the report results in action.

Assessment

The first step in fighting healthcare fraud and abuse is to know which laws apply in specific cases.

The next step is formulating policies and procedures to ensure that all workforce members understand how to comply and what their individual responsibilities are in maintaining a sound healthcare business organization.

The third step is enforcement and punishment; less talk and more action!

Assessment

The most effective way to accomplish all of this is through the implementation of a medical practice compliance program, and more specifically, the augmentation of the above two programs currently in existence.

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Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com

OUR OTHER PRINT BOOKS AND RELATED INFORMATION SOURCES:

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