Posted by Marc Goldsand
on March 14, 2016
House Bill 37 (“HB 37”), a bill intended to codify and regulate direct primary care in the State of Florida, which had sailed through the Florida House with virtually unanimous support, died in the Senate as the legislative clock ran out on it last week. When the Senate failed to take it up for vote before the session expired on March 11th, it had the effect of killing the bill. The 60-day 2017 legislative session begins on March 14, 2017.
For more information, please contact Marc I. Goldsand of Cozen O’Connor at [email protected] or (786) 871-3935, or a member of Cozen O’Connor’s Health Law team.
Posted by Marc Goldsand
on February 03, 2016
Affordable Care Act
Florida House Bill 37 and Florida Senate Bill 132, similar bills aiming to expressly authorize and regulate direct primary care medical home plans in the State of Florida (“DPCs”) and both stating that DPCs are not “insurance” under State law, have been smoothly sailing through committees in their respective chambers. The House Bill has already passed through the Select Committee on Affordable Healthcare Access, the Finance and Tax Committee, and the Health and Human Resources Committee. Its next step is a vote in front of the entire House. The Senate Bill cleared the Health and Policy Committee, but no word yet from the Banking and Insurance and Fiscal Policy Committees. At some point before the session ends on March 11, 2016, if they continue to move forward, the bills will be consolidated and approved by both chambers, after which the final bill will be subject to approval or veto of Governor Rick Scott. Passage is by no means certain, but there appears to be an appetite for this law with – so far – no real opposition this year.
DPCs are private payment agreements between primary care physicians and their patients, whereby patients typically pay low dollar (perhaps $75 to $100) monthly payments directly to the provider for primary care services, in lieu of typical insurance covering primary care services. In return for the monthly payments (which are easily collected by credit card or cash, without the need for insurance/managed care code-based reimbursement billing), primary care providers offer at little or no additional charge an array of primary care services to the member patients. When paired with a high-deductible “wrap-around” insurance policy, the DPCs comport with the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.
Posted by J. Nicole Martin
on April 15, 2015
We wrote in late March about the U.S. House of Representatives passing SGR legislation intended to be a permanent cure to Medicare’s “doc fix” legislation. Yesterday evening, the Senate finally passed the SGR legislation to avoid a rate cut. Congress anticipates President Obama will sign the SGR legislation into law fairly quickly. Among other measures, the SGR legislation will amend Title XVIII of the Social Security Act, pertaining to Medicare, to:
- “remove sustainable growth rate (SGR) methodology from the determination of annual conversion factors in the formula for payment for physicians’ services; and
- revise the update in rates for 2015 and subsequent years.”
Notably, the SGR legislation extends the two-midnight Medicare rule through FY2015. The two-midnight Medicare rule only provides coverage for hospital stays when a beneficiary remains in a hospital over two midnights because the beneficiary requires care over this minimum period of time. Medicare generally denies coverage for care provided during shorter length hospital stays. The SGR legislation also extends the CHIP program through FY2017.
For further information contact Cozen O’Connor’s health care team.
Posted by Ryan Blaney
on March 27, 2015
Affordable Care Act
In a historic bipartisan moment, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a nearly 300-page bill that is intended to “repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate [“SGR”] and strengthen Medicare access by improving physician payments and making other improvements.” The legislation, titled the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, which is referred to as the Medicare “doc fix”, is the result of ongoing bipartisan efforts to resolve an unpopular physician reimbursement system that if not overridden each year would cut Medicare doctor’s pay by a notable percentage. The annual reimbursement cut would occur as required under the federal Balanced Budget Act of 1997 (the “BBA”), if not for the annual fixes set into motion by Congress. In a March 25, 2015 letter from the Congressional Budget Office (“CBO”) to House Speaker Boehner, the CBO explained that the BBA established the SGR formula “to ensure that real—that is, adjusted for inflation—spending per [Medicare] beneficiary for physicians’ services would grow on average at a rate of increase in gross domestic protect per capita minus the expected rate of increase in productivity for the economy as a whole.”
According to news outlets and press conferences, President Obama is ready to sign the bill once the Senate passes it. In the CBO’s letter to House Speaker Boehner, it estimated that this bill will increase:
- The federal budget deficits by $141 billion;
- Direct spending by approximately $145 billon; and
- Revenues by approximately $4 billion.
Under the Bill, Medicare’s payment rates for services on the physician fee schedule would increase by 0.5 percent a year for services furnished through 2019. From 2019 through 2025 payments will remain the same but Medicare doctors will be eligible for merit-based bonus payments consistent with Medicare initiatives such as care models that shift away from fee for services.
Many expected the Bill to pass the Senate on Friday, March 27th but the Bill was not put up for a vote and Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid and Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the bill will not get a vote until mid-April when the Senate returns from its recess. CMS has provided notice that they will be able to hold payment for 14 calendar days to avoid a rate cut.
For further information contact Cozen O’Connor’s health care team. We will continue to monitor and provide updates.