CMS offers new listservs
* The CMS said last week it is making available on its Web site new resources for healthcare providers, including listservs that distribute regularly updated information on specialized topics. Those include a listserv focused on issues important to acute-care hospitals. The CMS also launched a Medicare Learning Network on its Web site to help providers understand new policies and fiscal intermediary instructions. The additions are "consistent with our goal of enhancing responsiveness and improving communications with providers, physicians and others in the healthcare community," CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said in a news release. To subscribe to a listserv, go to cms.hhs.gov/mailinglists. For the learning network, go to cms.hhs.gov/medlearn.
Dems sue for CMS estimates
* Democrats on the House Government Reform Committee sued in U.S. District Court in May in Los Angeles to compel HHS to release CMS cost estimates for last year's Medicare reform law developed while the law was under consideration. The suit alleges that the estimates by the CMS actuary were shared with Republicans-but not Democrats-on the House-Senate conference committee that wrote the final law. Congress estimated the law would cost $400 billion over 10 years-an estimate backed up in statements by President Bush and HHS Secretary Tommy Thompson during the House vote on the bill last November, said David Vladeck, an attorney for the Democrats. After the law was approved, the Bush administration said it would cost $534 billion over 10 years. HHS spokesman Bill Pierce said that while rough cost estimates were made during deliberations, revisions to the bill made it difficult to arrive at an accurate figure, and the $534 billion estimate was not reached until last December. CMS Administrator Mark McClellan said he intends to make future estimates by the CMS actuary readily available to Congress.