The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed a 2.2% payment update for long-term acute-care hospitals that would become effective July 1. In addition, the CMS is proposing permanently putting such facilities on an update cycle starting July 1, different from the Oct. 1 start date for acute-care hospitals, so the agency can use its resources better. Read the proposal.
In other policy news, HHS' inspector general's office, in its first fraud alert since 2000, warned Medicare beneficiaries of illegal telemarketing by durable medical equipment manufacturers. In general, unless a previous relationship with the Medicare beneficiary exists, DME companies are banned from soliciting beneficiaries to buy covered items or services. Both the supplier and telemarketer could be subject to fraud charges, Rehnquist said in the two-page alert. Fraud alerts generally signal areas of future government investigation. -- by Tony Fong and Mark Taylor