CMS Proposes Dialysis Payment Cuts

CMS proposed lowering its reimbursement rate for dialysis and end-stage renal disease patients by $970 million in 2014. The office is seeking public comment on the move through August 30.  By Jim McLaughlin -

HHS Recruits Institute of Museum and Library Services to Educate Public on Insurance Exchanges

The Institute of Museum and Library Services, the primary source of federal support for libraries and museums nationwide, will partner with CMS and HHS to assist the government in educating Americans on the new health insurance marketplace.  By Ellie Rizzo -

CMS: Hospital-Based Home Health Agencies Could See 1.1% Payment Cut

CMS has issued a proposed rule that would reduce hospital-based home health payments in 2014 by 1.1 percent.  By Ellie Rizzo -

HHS: Contraception Coverage Rules Finalized

The Obama administration issued final rules today addressing the availability of contraceptive coverage to women who work for nonprofit religious organizations that object to contraception, according to an HHS news release.   By Ellie Rizzo -

HHS' Private-Public Innovation Programs Now Accepting Applicants

HHS is now accepting applicants for its HHSentrepreneurs program, which connects private sector entrepreneurs with federal employees to tackle a variety of healthcare innovation projects, according to an HHS news release.   By Ellie Rizzo -

HHS Relaunches Website for Insurance Exchange Information

Today HHS announced that it has re-launched Healthcare.gov and implemented a 24-hour toll-free number for information about the new insurance marketplace exchanges.  By Ellie Rizzo -

HHS: Insurance Efficiency Saves Consumers $3.9B on Premiums in 2012

HHS announced today that consumers saved $3.9 billion on health insurance in 2012, thanks to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's medical loss ratio provision.  By Ellie Rizzo -

CMS Gives State Exchanges Option for Alternative Streamlined Forms

CMS announced it will allow states to modify its streamlined application to screen for federal health insurance premium subsidies in states that run their own health insurance exchanges.  By Jim McLaughlin -

HHS Releases Guidelines to Curb Transmission of HIV, HBV, HBC From Transplanted Organs

Today HHS released updates to the 1994 guidelines on preventing the unexpected transmission of hepatitis B, hepatitis C, and HIV.   By Ellie Rizzo -

CMS Innovation Center Director Dr. Rick Gilfillan to Step Down

Richard Gilfillan, MD, who has led the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation since it was created in 2010, will leave his director post at the end of June, according to a Politico report. By Heather Punke -

Employment-Based Wellness Program Final Rules Released

HHS announced that it, along with the U.S. Departments of Labor and Treasury, has issued the final rules on employment-based wellness programs.   By Anuja Vaidya -

HHS: Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan Rates to Match Medicare

HHS has issued an interim final rule that sets reimbursement rates under the agency's pre-existing condition insurance plan guidelines to be made final June 15. By Jim McLaughlin -

CMS Loosens Medicaid Enrollment Process

In an effort to remove potential slowdowns for states in Medicaid enrollment once millions more are expected to join the rolls next year, top CMS officials have simplified the system and proposed strategies to encourage early and efficient enrollment.  By Jim McLaughlin -

CMS Accepting More Bundled Payment Model 1 Applications

CMS has announced an open period for more applications from hospitals to take part in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement initiative's Model 1. By Heather Punke -

HHS Announces $1B for Second Round of Health Care Innovation Awards

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has announced a roughly $1 billion initiative to fund the second round of Health Care Innovation Awards. By Heather Punke -

HHS to Offer States $87M in Healthcare Price Transparency Grants

On the tails of a CMS report released Wednesday showing wide variances in price rates among hospitals, HHS announced it has made more grant money available to support states' rate reviews for health insurance and healthcare pricing.  By Jim McLaughlin -

CMS to Increase Payment to Inpatient Rehab Facilities by 2% Under Proposed Rule

CMS has issued a proposed rule increasing Medicare payments to inpatient rehabilitation facilities by 2 percent in fiscal year 2014.  By Helen Gregg -

CMS Issues Proposed Rule for Increasing Payments to Skilled Nursing Facilities

CMS has issued a proposed rule increasing Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities by 1.4 percent in fiscal year 2014.  By Helen Gregg -

Sebelius Names New Chief of Staff

HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius named Andrea Palm her new chief of staff, following former chief Sally Howard, who resigned to become deputy commissioner for policy at the Food and Drug Administration, according to a report by The Hill.  By Jim McLaughlin -

HHS to Award $3M to Help Veterans Pursue Nursing Degree

The Department of Health and Human Services has announced a program to help veterans with medical experience or training pursue a degree in nursing.  By Helen Gregg -

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