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Topic: Part D
Plans will shortly be receiving the Readiness Checklist from CMS. At first glance it looks like just a bunch of boxes to check off and answering yes and no questions. Here’s the rub:
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC ), the nonpartisan blue-chip Congressional uber-nerds on our favorite entitlement program, met this week and the staff report presented a couple bombshells on retention rates in Medicare Advantage (MA).
Last week, in a surprise move, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reversed its threat to terminate all Medicare Advantage and Part D health plans with 3 or fewer Stars for more than 3 consecutive years. Roughly a dozen health plans were lined up in front of the firing squad as an example to the industry for months — and then CMS issued squirt guns to the executioners.
After 70 Senators signed a protest bill and the hue and cry from hospice providers, patients and prescribers got too loud, CMS rescinded its’ previous regs for hospice patients and published new guidance on 7-18-14. Previous guidance required health plans to place prior authorization edits on all medications after a member was identified as being a hospice patient. So, all the medications that the member was previously receiving under their Part D benefit were denied at point of sale. This caused a significant hardship to hospice providers who many times had to pay for the hospice member’s medications. The philosophical and medical issue continues to be what medications should be continued and which medications should be discontinued when members are in their hospice benefit. Should antihypertensive, antihyperlipidemic, diabetes and other chronic medications be continued for hospice patients? Rational and substantive arguments exist for the continuation of some chemotherapy medications which keep tumor growth in check and are considered to be palliative for some patients.
The question arises from almost every client, “Why do we have to do daily rejected claims review?” The answer is that there is no better way “to take the temperature” of Part D compliance than rejected claim reviews. Everything that can and will occur happens at Point of Sale. At a minimum you can detect problems with the following:
Last week the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) met with 30 hospice & healthcare organizations about suspending a new rule intended to avoid duplicate payments for hospice medications. This is a very big deal and the new rule is mucking up many beneficiaries’ last days. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization described the meeting as “an important first step at righting the wrongs being faced by dying Medicare patients.”