Legislative Activity

This Week’s Hearings:

  • Thursday, May 15: The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions will hold a hearing titled “Progress and Challenges: The State of Tobacco Use and Regulation in the U.S.” The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs will also hold a hearing on “The State of VA Health Care.”

Regulatory Activity

CMS Launches Restructured QIO Program

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a plan to restructure the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program to improve patient care, health outcomes, and save taxpayer resources. The first phase of the restructuring will allow two Beneficiary and Family-Centered Care (BFCC) QIO contractors to support the program’s case review and monitoring activities separate from the traditional quality improvement activities of the QIOs. In the program’s second phase – expected in July – CMS will award contracts to organizations that will directly work with providers and communities on data-driven quality initiatives to improve patient safety, reduce harm, and improve clinical care and transparency at local, regional, and national levels through Quality Innovation Network and Value, Incentive and Quality Reporting support contractors.

CMS SMD Letter: Accountability in Financing and Donations

CMS issued a guidance letter to states regarding fiscal accountability with respect to allowable and unallowable use of provider-related donations to fund the non-federal share of Medicaid payments. The letter also addresses the use of certain types of public-private partnerships involving supplemental/add-on payments to the base rate contingent upon agreements between government and private entities, including Low-Income and Needy Care Collaboration Agreements (LINCCAs), Collaborative Endeavor Agreements (CEAs) and Public-Private Partnerships.

CMS Releases Medicare/Medicaid Regulatory Provisions to Promote Transparency and Burden Reduction Part II Final Rule

CMS released the Medicare and Medicaid Programs; Regulatory Provisions to Promote Program Efficiency, Transparency, and Burden Reduction; Part II Final Rule. This final rule “reforms Medicare regulations that CMS has identified as unnecessary, obsolete, or excessively burdensome on health care providers and suppliers, as well as certain regulations under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments of 1988 (CLIA). This final rule also increases the ability of health care professionals to devote resources to improving patient care, by eliminating or reducing requirements that impede quality patient care or that divert resources away from providing high quality patient care. CMS is issuing this rule to achieve regulatory reforms under Executive Order 13563 on improving regulation and regulatory review and the Department’s plan for retrospective review of existing rules. This is the latest in a series of rules developed by CMS over the last 5 years to reform existing rules to reduce unnecessary costs and increase flexibility for health care providers.”