Official NTOCC Comments

Review the official comments, letters and responses from the National Transitions of Care Coalition (NTOCC).

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NTOCC Update: Houses Passes SGR Reform Bill, Senate Vote in April

Posted on 3/27/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

The House overwhelmingly passed the Medicare physician-reform bill, also known as the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) “doc fix”, on Thursday afternoon by a vote of 392-27, with 212 Republicans and 108 Democrats voting in favor of the legislation. The bill, which we outlined in more detail in an earlier update, will phase in a new payment system over the next few years that will focus on rewarding doctors who provide high-value—as opposed to high-volume—care. It will also extend funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) for another two years.

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NTOCC Update: House Leadership Releases Details of SGR Repeal-and-Replace Package

Posted on 3/23/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

On March 31, 2015, the current “patch” for SGR will expire. The Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which was first implemented in 1997, calls for automatic reductions in Medicare reimbursement rates for providers if overall Medicare spending exceeds a target rate. Without further action by Congress to temporarily avoid the cuts or permanently replace the flawed formula, providers will face a 25% cut in reimbursements beginning April 1, 2015.

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President Releases Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Budget

Posted on 2/3/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

Today, President Obama released his $4.066 trillion budget proposal for fiscal year (FY) 2016, outlining the administration’s policy priorities for the coming year, which is largely viewed as a Democratic blueprint for lofty policy proposals that will face strong opposition by the Republican-controlled Congress.

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NTOCC Updates from HHS and Senate HELP Committee

Posted on 1/30/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

Today, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) issued their draft nationwide health IT interoperability roadmap titled: Connecting Health and Care for the Nation: A Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap Version 1.0. This draft was referenced by Kelly Cronin at the National Transitions of Care Summit this past December. Today’s release is a continuation of the commitment to building a more robust health IT structure as part of a Department-wide effort to achieve better care, smarter spending, and improve health outcomes by improving our health care delivery system.

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HHS Announces Dramatic Move Away from Traditional Fee-For-Service Medicare Payments

Posted on 1/27/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

HHS announced yesterday that they are moving towards an alternative payment model for Medicare payments. In the new model, HHS has set a goal of tying 30 percent of traditional, fee-for-service Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as ACOs or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016. By the end of 2018, the goal is to tie 50 percent of payments to those models. In order to achieve these goals, Secretary Burwell also announced the creation of the Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, in which HHS will work with private payers, employers, consumers, providers, states and state Medicaid programs, and other partners to expand alternative payment models into their programs. The Network will hold its first meeting in March of this year.

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Kaiser Health News Article Focuses on Early 2014 Evaluation of the Community-based Care Transition Program (CCTP)

Posted on 1/21/2015 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

Kaiser Health News recently reported on a Health and Human Services (HHS) and Econometrica evaluation dated May 30, 2014, that found only a small minority of community groups enrolled in the Community-based Care Transition Program (CCTP) produced significant results, compared with those from sites that weren’t part of the program. The evaluation also found that, of the 48 groups studied, only four significantly cut readmissions compared with those of a control group.

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Federal Agencies Release Coordinated Health IT Plan

Posted on 12/10/2014 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

As mentioned by Kelly Cronin at NTOCC’s Annual Summit, HHS’s Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) released an updated Federal Health Information Technology (IT) Plan for the years 2015 through 2020. The plan looks to expand adoption of health information technology, advance interoperability, strengthen care delivery, and forward research and innovation. This plan updates a previous version that was released in 2008, and moves to a value-based model focused on improving access and quality, while lowering costs through “person-centered care.”

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NTOCC Update: CMS releases final versions of Physician Fee Schedule Rule and the Home Health Payment System Rule

Posted on 11/5/2014 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

This week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released the final versions of the Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) Rule and the Medicare Home Health Prospective Payment System (HH PPS). In the PFS rule, NTOCC was particularly concerned with the implementation of the Chronic Care Management (CCM) code. CMS’ proposal would pay physicians a separate fee for managing Medicare beneficiaries with two or more chronic conditions. In the HH PPS rule, NTOCC commented on the proposed changes to the face-to-face encounter requirements that could have a negative impact on Medicare beneficiaries’ transitions to home health.

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When IT and reimbursement intersect: The renewed focus on care transition technologies

Posted on 9/26/2014 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

Source: Becker's Health IT & CIO Review

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IOM Releases New Report on Improving End of Life Care

Posted on 9/18/2014 by NTOCC ® in Public Policy Updates

Today, the Institutes of Medicine (IOM) issued a new consensus report entitled “Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life” in which a committee of experts finds that improving the quality and availability of medical and social services for patients and their families could not only enhance quality of life through the end of life, but may also contribute to a more sustainable care system. The 500-page report spans various aspects of end of life care including delivery of person-centered, family orientated care; clinician/patient communication and advanced care planning; professional education and development; policies and payment systems; and public education and engagement. The report offers a variety of recommendations including many that are aligned with NTOCC’s policy and advocacy work. This includes the recommendations that the federal government should provide financial incentives “for coordination of care across settings and providers from hospital to ambulatory settings as well as home and the community.”

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