Health Policy 2016
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FMCSA Announces Decision on Medical Examination Report Forms: On October 27, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) announced its decision to allow certified Medical Examiners (MEs) to use the Medical Examination Report (MER) Form MCSA-5875, and Medical Examiner’s Certificate (MEC) Form MCSA-5876 with October, November, and December, 2015 revision dates until existing stocks are depleted.

CMS Releases New Payment System: On October 14, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the much-anticipated final rule implementing the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA).

The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services Offers Web Resources to Help Clinician Prepare for MIPS: On October 14, the CMS released the rule governing the new Quality Payment Program (QPP) which replaces the flawed Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate formula and rewards clinicians for quality of services rather than volume.

Physicians Must Post Non-Discrimination Statements by October 17:  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Civil Rights (OCR) earlier this year issued final regulations implementing a provision (Section 1557) of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, national origin, sex, age, or disability in certain health programs and activities. By October 17, physicians and other covered entities must take “appropriate initial and continuing steps” to notify patients of certain services/information. 

UCAOA Offers Comments on Proposed Medicare Payment Policies: UCAOA submitted comments  on September 6 to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to the Calendar Year 2017 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Proposed Rule.  In its comments, UCAOA offered support of CMS’ proposal to modify the 24/7 access requirements for providers who want to bill Medicare for Chronic Care Management (CCM) codes. 

UCAOA Offers Comments on Sleep Apnea Screening: In response to a request for public comment, on July 7, UCAOA offered its recommendations to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) on screening of obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) for transportation workers.   

UCAOA Warns Proposed Medicare Payment System Could Result in Less Beneficiary Access: On June 27, UCAOA submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in response to its proposed rule implementing a new Medicare payment system under the Physician Fee Schedule. 

CMS Releases Details of New Medicare Physician Payment System: On April 27, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the much-anticipated proposed regulations that will govern implementation of the new Medicare physician payment system that replaces the sustainable growth rate formula repealed by Congress one year ago. The new system offers physicians two pathways for Medicare payment beginning in 2019: The Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or participation in an alternative payment model (APM).

Department of Transportation Seeks Input on Sleep Apnea: UCAOA Issues Call for Volunteers to Respond: On March 10, 2016, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) issued an advance notice of proposed rulemaking which requests data and information concerning the prevalence of moderate-to-severe obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) among motor carrier workers, including information about whether motor carrier workers who exhibit multiple risk factors for OSA should be required to undergo evaluation and treatment by a healthcare professional with expertise in sleep disorders.

UCAOA Members Encouraged to Apply for EHR Meaningful Use Hardship Exemption: Last year, Congress passed the Patient Access and Medicare Protection Act, which mandated changes to the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program hardship exception process that allows eligible professionals to avoid a Meaningful Use (MU) penalty in 2017. All UCAOA physician members subject to the 2015 Medicare MU program are encouraged to apply for the hardship exception. 

Arizona Bill Would Require Approximate Cost of Healthcare Services: Trends toward healthcare pricing transparency continue.  A bill introduced in Arizona, HB2218, would require certain healthcare entities, including urgent care centers, to provide the prospective patient with the approximate cost of services so they might make informed decisions.  In this bill, the patient population is limited to the state of Arizona employees.

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