CMS Finalizes Physician Fee Schedule That Expands Telehealth Services
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) has released its final rule for the Medicare physician fee schedule (“PFS”), effective January 1, 2021. Under the final rule, the PFS conversion factor for 2021 is $32.41, which is down 10 percent from $36.09 in 2020.
New Pharmacy Rules and Regulations Aimed to Reduce Pricing
The United States Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) recently issued a series of proposed and final rules aimed at impacting pharmaceutical drug prices and availability. Specifically, HHS and CMS jointly issued an interim final rule, effective November 27, 2020, that implements the Most Favored Nation Model (the “Model”).
New Jersey Proposes and Adopts New Regulations Authorizing Health Care Providers’ Provision of Telemedicine
Since adopting the New Jersey Telemedicine and Telehealth statute, effective July 21, 2017, various governing boards have proposed and adopted telemedicine regulations. See the full post for a list of the most recent proposals and adoptions.
CMS Issues Proposed Rule on the Basic Health Program Option
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) issued a proposed rule on federal payment amounts to states that elect to establish a Basic Health Program (“BHP”) under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (the “Act”) for program year 2022. Under the Act, BHPs may offer health benefits coverage to low-income individuals.
This blog post includes summaries of several laws recently passed by the New Jersey Legislature that impact health care providers, including a law requiring health care providers to wear certain kinds of name tags. These additional requirements come at a time when New Jersey’s providers are providing continued crucial care in response to the pandemic and experiencing significant financial strain caused by the pandemic.
Revised New Jersey Executive Directive No. 20-020 Requires Hospitals to Allow Support Person for Pregnant Patients During Labor
The New Jersey Department of Health has modified its previous guidance to require hospitals to allow at least one designated support person to accompany a pregnant patient during labor, delivery, and the entire postpartum hospital stay. A doula, who is part of the patient’s care team and essential to patient care, shall not count as a support person. The support person(s) and doula must be asymptomatic for COVID-19 and shall undergo symptom screening and temperature checks prior to entering the clinical area, but there is no prior testing requirement.
Revised New Jersey Executive Directive No. 20-016 Modifies Testing Protocols for Ambulatory Surgery Centers to Allow Antigen Tests
The New Jersey Department of Health has modified its previous guidance on the resumption of elective surgeries and invasive procedures in Ambulatory Surgery Centers (“ASCs”) to allow antigen tests to satisfy the requirement that patients undergo COVID‑19 testing and receive results within six days before their scheduled surgery.
New Jersey Is Poised to Allow the Use of Telemedicine for Medical Cannabis
New Jersey is poised to approve S619, which would permit providers to authorize patients for medical cannabis through telemedicine and telehealth. The bill has already passed the Assembly and is before the Senate for a second reading. Under the bill, for the first 270 days following enactment, a health care practitioner may authorize the medical use of cannabis via telemedicine and telehealth for a patient who is a resident of a long-term care facility, has a developmental disability, is terminally ill, is receiving hospice care from a licensed hospice care provider, or is housebound as certified by the patient’s physician.
Time to Repay Medicare Loans Extended
On September 30, 2020, as part of a larger government short-term spending bill, President Trump signed into law a program which relaxes the repayment terms for Medicare loans that hospitals received earlier this year under the Accelerated and Advanced Payment Program. Whereas the loans were originally due 120 days after they were issued, the new law directs the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) to wait up to one year after the loan was issued to begin withholding Medicare payments to recoup funds.
The New Jersey State Legislature Passes Bill Requiring New Direct Care Staff-to-Resident Ratios for Nursing Homes and Establishes a New Task Force on Direct Care Worker Retention
The New Jersey Legislature passed a bill (A4652/S2712) which requires nursing homes to maintain certain minimum direct care staff-to-resident ratios. The bill expressly requires: (i) one certified nurse aide to every eight residents for the day shift; (ii) one direct care staff member to every 10 residents for the evening shift, provided that no fewer than half of all staff members are to be certified nurse aides, and each staff member will sign in to work as a certified nurse aide and will perform certified nurse aide duties; and (iii) one direct care staff member to every 14 residents for the night shift, provided that each direct care staff member is to sign in to work as a certified nurse aide and perform certified nurse aide duties.