"Payer: CMS|Medicare" & "Medicare" Articles


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Cross-A-Code Instructions in Find-A-Code

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Cross-A-Code is a tool found in Find-A-Code which helps you to locate codes in other code sets that help you when submitting a claim.

Delving Into the 360 Assessment Fraud Complaint

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The Department of Justice is pursuing claims of healthcare fraud against Cigna Health-Spring Medicare Advantage plan based on how they used data from their 360 Program in 2012. A review of the allegations may help other payers avoid similar accusations.

CMS Expands Telehealth Again

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On October 14, 2020, CMS announced further changes to expand telehealth coverage. Eleven (11) new codes have been added to their list of covered services bringing the current total to 144 services. The new services include some neurostimulator analysis and programming services as well as some cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation services.

Medicare Improper Payment Report for Chiropractic (2019)

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CMS audits claims on an annual basis to identify improper payments. These improper payments do not measure fraud. Rather, they estimate the share of payments that did not meet Medicare coverage, coding, and billing rules. In the most recent Improper Payment Report by specialty, chiropractic has the highest Part B improper payment ...

Stay out of Trouble — Understand the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) Program

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To assist low-income Medicare beneficiaries, CMS created the Qualified Medicare Beneficiary (QMB) program; a Medicaid benefit which pays for Medicare deductibles, coinsurance, or copays for any Medicare-covered items and services for Medicare Part A, Part B, and Medicare Advantage (Part C). Providers/suppliers are prohibited from billing premiums and cost sharing to Medicare beneficiaries who are enrolled in QMB.

New Value-Based Payment Models for Primary Care (Primary Care First and Direct Contracting)

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This article summarizes the new Medicare value-based payment models: Primary Care First and Direct Contracting.

2021 Brings Another Risk Adjustment Calculation Change

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In 2021, a big change in Risk Adjustment score calculations will take place, which will affect payments to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans for the coming year and take us closer to quality and value-based programs instead of fee-for-service (FFS) or risk-adjusted (RA). Currently, CMS pays a per-enrollee capitated...

Office of Inspector General Says Medicare Advantage Organizations are Denying Services Inappropriately

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We attended the recent virtual RISE National Conference and had the opportunity to listen to presenters share their knowledge about risk adjustment and HCC reporting and data validation. Among the presenters were representatives from the Office of Inspector General (OIG), who presented findings from encounter data from 2012-2016. They began ...

Payment Adjustment Rules for Multiple Procedures and CCI Edits

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Surgical and medical services often include work that is required to be done prior to a procedure and post-procedure. When there are multiple procedures done by the same physician, group, or another qualified healthcare professional on the same day, the pre and post work is only required once. Therefore, CMS ...

New ABN Form is Here

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The anticipated changes to the Advanced Beneficiary Notice of Non-coverage (ABN) Form (CMS-R-131) have arrived. This important form is issued to the patient or client by providers, physicians, practitioners, and suppliers in situations where Medicare payment is expected to be denied. You can begin using the new ABN immediately if you so wish. However, it becomes mandatory on August 31, 2020.

MEGA - NCCI Edit Changes - WHO Knew?

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There was no huge announcement when CMS released new files in April. The files that were released on April 7, 2020, actually replaced files to update the NCCI edits on Procedure to Procedure (PTP) edits and Medically Unlikely Edits (MUE).  The updated files included; 291,902 Deleted Procedure to Procedure (PTP) edits 197  Deleted Medically Unlikely ...

Changes in Medicare Advantage and Part D

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services finalized several changes in Medicare Advantage and Part D on Friday.  The Trump administration has finalized several changes in Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D in anticipation of bid submissions on June 1. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released  Friday that includes ...

Where is the CCI Edit with Modifier 25 on E/M?

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If you are not seeing a CCI edit when reporting an E/M code with a certain procedure, it may be that there is no edit. CMS does not have a CCI edit for every CPT code, however, there are still general coding rules that must be followed.  The use of Modifier 25 is one example ...

Are Diagnoses from Telehealth Services Eligible for Risk Adjustment?

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On April 10th, CMS released a memo with the subject line, “Applicability of diagnoses from telehealth services for risk adjustment,” suggesting there may be some telehealth services that might not qualify for risk adjustment. However, in the memo CMS states: “Diagnoses resulting from telehealth services can meet the risk adjustment face-to-face ...

Additional Telehealth Changes Announced by CMS

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On April 30, 2020, CMS announced additional sweeping changes to meet the challenges of providing adequate healthcare during this pandemic. These changes expand the March 31st changes. The article covers some of the key changes. See the official announcement in the references below.

SOME of Us Non-Essentials May be Able to Get Back on the Road!

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The day is coming when the freeways will have 5:00 pm stop-and-go traffic again, no doubt. However, when it comes to re-opening our world, CMS has Recommendations! Changes are finally here; we are starting to see a decline in COVID-19 cases in some states and certain locations. It may be time ...

Now That is Fraud! Genetic Testing "Public alert"

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Genetic testing is becoming very popular. In fact, so popular you might see it in places you would not expect such as a community event, fairs or any event happening in your community. Some labs may even offer FREE screening for genetic testing. Watch for FREE screening announcements or advertisements ...

COVID-19 Chiropractic Resources

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COVID-19 Chiropractic Resources contains current, updated information regarding COVID-19. Included are lists of webinars, articles, websites and links pertaining to the ongoing changes.

CMS Important Information on COVID-19 Released

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CMS has recently released some important information on their last MLN, the highlights are below. COVID-19: Dear Clinician Letter CMS posted a letter to clinicians that outlines a summary of actions CMS has taken to ensure clinicians have maximum flexibility to reduce unnecessary barriers to providing patient care during the unprecedented outbreak ...

CMS Announces Final 2021 HCC Risk Adjustment Changes

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On April 6, 2020, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published their final Medicare Advantage (MA) and Part D payment methodologies for CY 2021. Read more to be prepared for these upcoming changes.

More Telehealth Changes Announced by CMS

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On March 31, 2020, CMS announced further changes to their telehealth program in response to this unprecedented public health emergency (PHE). See this article for further information as well as references & links to CMS information

2020 Medicare Part D Coverage Gap (AKA donut hole)

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Not every Medicare drug plan has complete coverage for prescription drugs - most have some sort of coverage gap, known as the “Donut Hole”. The coverage gap is a temporary limit on coverage under the drug plan. This coverage gap will not affect everyone and begins after you have used ...

Medicare Part D Coverage Gap (Donut Hole) Closes in 2020

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Overview of the Part D coverage gap, how it got closed, what the picture looks like for 2020, and long-term outlook.

Medicare Begins Covering Acupuncture Services

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Medicare is changing their policy regarding coverage of acupuncture, but in order to provide these services, you must follow their rules.

Medicare Announces Coverage of Acupuncture Services

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On January 21, 2020, a CMS Newsroom press-release read, This new announcement is both exciting and refreshing. Acupuncture, a key component of traditional Chinese medicine and most commonly used to treat pain, is now being officially recognized by Medicare and several other large payers as a covered, alternative treatment option for ...

Denials due to MUE Usage - This May be Why!

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CMS assigns Medically Unlikely Edits (MUE's) for HCPCS/CPT codes, although not every code has an MUE. MUE edits are used to limit tests and treatments provided to a Medicare patient for a single date of service or for a single line item on a claim form. It is important to understand MUE's are ...

CMS Report on QPP Shows Increasing Involvement

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MIPS 2018 participation increased according to the final report issued by CMS on January 6, 2020.

Time Is Up! Jan 1 2020 Claims Will be Denied Without MBIs

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New Medicare Card Transition Ends Next Week: Claim Reject Codes Beginning January 1 If you want to get paid you should be reporting MBIs on all of your Medicare claims. The deadline is here: if you are not using Medicare Beneficiary Identifiers (MBIs) on claims (with a few exceptions) after January 1, ...

CMS- Patient Driven Payment Model Effective October 01, 2019

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According to CMS, In July 2018, CMS finalized a new case-mix classification model, the Patient-Driven Payment Model (PDPM), that, effective beginning October 1, 2019, will be used under the Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF) Prospective Payment System (PPS) for classifying SNF patients in a covered Part A stay. Using the new Patient-Driven ...

CMS says Codes are on the Move!

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Have you noticed your LCDs are missing something? CMS is moving codes out of LCDs and into Billing and Coding Articles. MACs began moving ICD-10-CM, CPT/HCPCS, Bill Type, and Revenue codes in January 2019, and will continue through January 2020. Therefore, if there is an LCD with its codes removed, you will find ...

Q/A: Can I Order a TENS unit for a Medicare Patient?

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Question Can a chiropractor order a TENS unit for a Medicare patient? We cannot order X-rays for a Medicare patient so I assume we cannot order a TENS unit either. Answer It’s not that you can’t order the TENS unit, it’s just that when it comes to doctors of chiropractic, Medicare only covers ...

Changes to Portable X-Ray Requirements

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On September 30, 2019, CMS published a final rule which made changes to portable x-ray services requirements as found in the law.

And Then There Were Fees...

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Find-A-Code offers fees and pricing for just about everything, this article will address two of some of the most common payment systems with CMS. (OPPS) -Outpatient Medicare Outpatient Prospective Payment System. (MPFS)- Medicare Physician Fee Schedule The Fees section on each code page is determined on the type of services...

Why is HIPAA So Important?

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Why is HIPAA So Important? Some may think that what they do to protect patient information may be a bit extreme. Others in specialty medical fields and research understand its importance a little more. Most of that importance lies in the information being protected. Every patient has a unique set of ...

CMS and HHS Tighten Enrollment Rules and Increase Penalties

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This ruling impacts what providers and suppliers are required to disclose to be considered eligible to participate in Medicare, Medicaid, and Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). The original proposed rule came out in 2016 and this final rule will go into effect on November 4, 2019.  There have been known problems ...

Are You Aware of Medicare Advantage Plans Timely Filing Rules?

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The Medicare Fee for Service (FFS) program (Traditional or Original Medicare) has a timely filing requirement; a clean claim for services rendered must be received within one year of the date of service or risk payment denial. As any company who has billed Medicare services can attest, the one-year timely filing ...

Will Medicare Change Their Rules Regarding Coverage of Services Provided by a Chiropractor?

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Two separate pieces of legislation introduced in the House of Representatives (H.R. 2883 and H.R. 3654) have the potential to change some of Medicare’s policies regarding doctors of chiropractic. Find out what these two bills are all about and how they could affect Medicare policies.

The OIG Work Plan: What Is It and Why Should I Care?

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The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) founded its Office of Inspector General (OIG) in 1976 and tasked it with the responsibility to combat waste, fraud, and abuse within Medicare, Medicaid, and the other HHS programs. With approximately 1,600 employees, HHS OIG is the largest inspector general's office within ...

The Slippery Slope For CDI Specialists

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Who knew that when Jack & Jill when up the hill to fetch a pail of water, they would have to ensure that in order to keep the level of water the same on the way back down, they would need to both support the pail.  Many of you in this industry are ...

Anthem is Changing their Timely Filing Requirements for All Plans, Including Medicare Advantage

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Anthem has been very busy sending out notices stating that, beginning October 1, 2019, all timely filing deadlines for claims will be 90 days. We've seen this letter, or something very similar, sent to doctors and other healthcare providers from California to Kentucky. In their notice, Anthem states: "Effective for all commercial ...

Q/A: What do I Need to Document for Periodic Adjustments on a Medicare Patient?

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Question: What type of documentation is required for a Medicare patient with degenerative joint disease who get adjusted once or twice a month for occasional flare-ups of the D. J. D. region? The noted adjustments give good relief of the patient's symptoms. Answer: There is no question that these adjustments would be considered ...

Act Now on CMS Proposal to Cover Acupuncture for Chronic Low Back Pain

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Now is the time to comment on a proposal to cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain. This comment period is the part of the HHS response to the opioid crisis. You only have until August 14th to officially comment.

Helping Others Understand How to Apply Incident to Guidelines

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Over the past few months, I have worked with different organizations that have been misinterpreting the "incident to" guidelines and, in return, have been billing for services rendered by staff that are not qualified to perform the services per AMA and CPT. What I found within the variances is that ...

A United Approach

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A United Approach As auditors, we all have a different perspective when evaluating documentation. It would be unreasonable to think that we all view things the same way. In my opinion, differing perspectives are what makes a great team because you can coalesce on a particular chart, work it through and ...

Now is Your Chance to Speak Up! Tell CMS What You Think!

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CMS is asking for your input, we all have ideas on how we would change healthcare documentation requirements and get rid of the burdensome requirements and regulations if it were up to us, so go ahead, speak up! Patients over Paperwork Initiative is being looked at to help significantly cut ...

Medicare Revises Their Appeals Process

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On April 12, 2019, Medicare announced that there will be some changes to their appeals process effective June 13, 2019. According to the MLN Matters release (see References), the following policy revisions in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual (MCPM), Chapter 29 are taking place: The policy on use of electronic signatures Timing ...

Medicare Revises Their Appeals Process

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There are policy revisions in the Medicare Claims Processing Manual (MCPM), Chapter 29 taking place June 13, 2019. This will give you a heads up on those changes.

What is Medical Necessity and How Does Documentation Support It?

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We recently fielded the question, “What is medical necessity and how do I know if it's been met?" The AMA defines medical necessity as: It is important to understand that while the AMA provides general guidance on what they consider medically necessary services, these particular coding guidelines are generic and may be ...

Auditing Chiropractic Services

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Chiropractic is unique from other types of health care and auditors need to be aware of the nuances of this field. Chiropractic has become the focus of more and more audits as doctors seem to struggle to create records that properly support the care provided to the patient throughout the entire episode.

Q/A: What do I do When a Medicare Patient Refuses to Sign an ABN?

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Question: What do I do when a Medicare patient refuses to sign an ABN? Answer: That depends on whether the patient is still demanding to have/receive the service/supply. If they aren’t demanding the service, then there is no need to force the issue. Just make sure that you still have an ...

Q/A: Can I Tell a Medicare Patient Which Option to Check on the ABN?

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Question My patient seemed confused about which of the options they should check. Can I just tell them which one they should check? Answer No! That could be construed as coercion. The official instructions state “Under no circumstances can the notifier decide for the beneficiary which of the 3 checkboxes to select.” Now, this ...

Clearing Up Some Medicare Participation Misunderstandings

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Even though we may think we truly understand what it means to be a participating provider, Medicare doesn’t quite work the way that other insurance plans do. Far too many providers do not understand the difference and get into hot water. To further complicate matters, the rules are different for ...

The Impact of Medical Necessity on High Level E/M Services

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I was recently asked the question, "Does 99233 require documentation of a past medical, family, and/or social history (PFSH)?"  The quick answer is, "it depends." Code 99233 has the following minimal component requirement: Subsequent inpatient E/M encounters can meet the code level requirement either by component scoring & medical necessity or time & medical necessity. ...

Revised ABN Requirements Still Fuzzy

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Although it has been quite some time since ChiroCode published an article about the revised instructions for non-participating providers  who use the ABN, there are still some outstanding questions about this change. So far, Medicare has not provided additional guidance about this question despite requests by us for clarification. Medicare now requires non-participating providers to include the ...

Date of Service Reporting for Radiology Services

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Providers need to ensure that they are reporting radiology dates of service the way the payer has requested. Unlike other many other professional services which only have one date of service (DOS), radiology services can span multiple dates. Medicare requirements may differ from professional organization recommendations.

Q/A: Can you Help me Understand the New Medicare Insurance Cards?

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As many of you are aware, CMS began issuing new Medicare identification cards last year which required the replacement of social security numbers with a new Medicare Beneficiary Identifier (MBI). All cards have now been mailed out and patient's should have the new cards when they come in. Currently, we are in the transition period until January 2020.

Understanding NCCI Edits

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Medicare creates and maintains the National Correct Coding Initiative (NCCI) edits and NCCI Policy Manual, which identify code pair edits. When performed on the same patient, on the same day, and by the same provider, the secondary code is considered an integral part of the primary code, and payment for ...

Medicare Supplemental Policies (MediGap) and Extremity Adjustments

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The nice thing about MediGap policies is that they pay for some of the healthcare costs that an original Medicare plan (Part B) does not cover. So when a patient has Medicare and a Medicare supplement (MediGap) and their condition is related to an extremity (a noncovered service), Medicare must ...

Coding Medicare Initial Preventive Physical Exams (IPPE)

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The Medicare Initial Preventive Physical Exam (IPPE), also commonly referred to as the “Welcome to Medicare Physical”, may seem daunting to many, but when broken out to identify the requirements is fairly straightforward. Purpose An IPPE helps the Medicare beneficiary (the patient) get to know their healthcare provider at a time when they ...

HHS Proposes Significant Changes to Patient Access Rules

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In a significant announcement on February 11, 2019, HHS proposed new rules aimed at improving interoperability of electronic health information. This announcement was made in support of the MyHealthEData initiative which was announced by the Trump administration on March 6, 2018. The goal of that initiative was to break down ...

Charging Missed Appointment Fees for Medicare Patients

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Some providers mistakenly think that they cannot bill a missed appointment fee for Medicare beneficiaries. You can, but Medicare has specific rules that must be followed. These rules are outlined in the Medicare Claims Policy Manual, Chapter 1, Section 30.3.13. You must have an official “Missed Appointment Policy” which is ...

Attestations Teaching Physicians vs Split Shared Visits

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Physicians often use the term "attestation" to refer to any kind of statement they insert into a progress note for an encounter involving work by a resident, non-physician practitioner (NPP), or scribe. However, for compliance and documentation purposes, "attestation" has a specific meaning and there are distinct requirements for what ...

Empowering Medicare Beneficiaries

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BLOG: CMS announced a NEWS release today making it easier to help Medicare Beneficiaries access cost and quality information. CMS announced,  "Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) launched a new app that gives consumers a modernized Medicare experience with direct access on a mobile device to some of ...

How to Report Co-Surgeons Using Modifier 62

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Modifier 62 is appended to surgical claims to report the need for the skills of two surgeons (co-surgeons) to perform a procedure, with each surgeon performing a distinct part of the same procedure, during the same surgical session. An easy way to explain this is to visualize a patient requiring cervical fusion where ...

Home Oxygen Therapy

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Home Oxygen Therapy Guidelines

CMS Finalizes Major Changes to ACO Program

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Back in August of 2018, as part of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program), CMS proposed some sweeping changes for Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). There has been some controversy over these changes which require ACOs to move to two-sided models. In this Final Rule which was scheduled to be published in the Federal Register ...


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