From Modern Healthcare

Provider-Relief Grant-Spending Reports Due in February 2021

July 22, 2020

Healthcare providers will be required to account for how they spent COVID-19 relief grants by February 2021, HHS quietly announced on Monday.

When lawmakers established the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund, one of the stipulations was that healthcare providers receiving large grants would have to submit quarterly reports to HHS and to an oversight commission on their spending, starting on July 10. But HHS delayed that reporting deadline last month and said providers wouldn’t have to submit quarterly reports.

Healthcare providers will be required to account for how they spent COVID-19 relief grants by February 2021, HHS quietly announced on Monday.

When lawmakers established the $175 billion Provider Relief Fund, one of the stipulations was that healthcare providers receiving large grants would have to submit quarterly reports to HHS and to an oversight commission on their spending, starting on July 10. But HHS delayed that reporting deadline last month and said providers wouldn’t have to submit quarterly reports.

Instead, healthcare providers that received more than $10,000 from the Provider Relief Fund will have to account for all the grant funds they spent in 2020 by February 15, 2021, according to a new HHS notice document….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article

Trump Signs Second Major COVID-19 Relief Package

March 18, 2020

President Donald Trump has signed Congress’ second major COVID-19 relief package which includes an increase in state Medicaid funding that hospitals liked and a requirement that insurers do not charge cost-sharing for services related to coronavirus testing.

Here’s a rundown of the major provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act relevant to the healthcare industry. The Senate passed the bill 90-8, and President Trump immediately signed it.

President Donald Trump has signed Congress’ second major COVID-19 relief package which includes an increase in state Medicaid funding that hospitals liked and a requirement that insurers do not charge cost-sharing for services related to coronavirus testing.

Here’s a rundown of the major provisions of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act relevant to the healthcare industry. The Senate passed the bill 90-8, and President Trump immediately signed it.

Increase in Medicaid matching funds

The federal government’s Medicaid matching funds will increase across the board by 6.2%. Hospital groups including the Greater New York Hospital Association, Federation of American Hospitals and America’s Essential Hospitals supported the payment bump. Similar policies were enacted in two previous bailout packages in the 2000s….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article

Centene, WellCare Merger Nears Finish Line

January 22, 2020

Health insurers Centene Corp. and WellCare Health Plans said they expect to close their $17 billion merger on Thursday, creating one of the largest providers of government-sponsored health plans with roughly 22 million members.

The insurers announced late Tuesday that they have cleared all the necessary regulatory hurdles to close the deal, including passing a review by the U.S. Justice Department. The companies previously entered agreements to divest parts of their businesses in several locations, all of which will be completed this week.

Health insurers Centene Corp. and WellCare Health Plans said they expect to close their $17 billion merger on Thursday, creating one of the largest providers of government-sponsored health plans with roughly 22 million members.

The insurers announced late Tuesday that they have cleared all the necessary regulatory hurdles to close the deal, including passing a review by the U.S. Justice Department. The companies previously entered agreements to divest parts of their businesses in several locations, all of which will be completed this week.

The American Hospital Association had urged the Justice Department to thoroughly review the merger, arguing it could reduce competition among managed Medicaid, Medicare Advantage and Affordable Care Act marketplace plans….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article

How Congress’ Surprise Billing Compromise Fell Short

December 23, 2019

On the afternoon of Dec. 11, five Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives huddled to hammer out discord over a surprise billing proposal, just days before a deadline to fund the government.

The spending bill was the best chance lawmakers had to pass surprise billing legislation before the end of the year, as it would insulate them from taking a vote that would divide the powerful corporate interests. But now that prospect was in jeopardy.

On the afternoon of Dec. 11, five Democratic leaders in the U.S. House of Representatives huddled to hammer out discord over a surprise billing proposal, just days before a deadline to fund the government.

The spending bill was the best chance lawmakers had to pass surprise billing legislation before the end of the year, as it would insulate them from taking a vote that would divide the powerful corporate interests. But now that prospect was in jeopardy.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (Calif.) and Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (Md.) met with Energy & Commerce Chair Frank Pallone, Ways & Means Chair Richard Neal (Mass.) and Education & Labor Committee Chair Bobby Scott (Va.), and Pelosi gave the committee chairs until 11 a.m. the next day to work out their differences on the measure….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article

Politics Threatens Drug Pricing Deal Between Congress, Trump

September 25, 2019

A congressional effort to reach a deal to lower prescription drug prices this year seemed on a path to derailment Wednesday amid political escalation on several fronts.

House Republicans took a hard line against a major plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in the first committee hearing on her proposal to authorize government negotiation of certain high-priced drugs.

A congressional effort to reach a deal to lower prescription drug prices this year seemed on a path to derailment Wednesday amid political escalation on several fronts.

House Republicans took a hard line against a major plan from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), in the first committee hearing on her proposal to authorize government negotiation of certain high-priced drugs.

Later in the afternoon, Senate Finance Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) acknowledged his effort with ranking member Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) to get their embattled proposal on the Senate floor may not happen this year and could slip into early 2020 when when the presidential election will overshadow congressional activity….

Read the full Modern Healthcare article