Current Report Articles
Federal Focus

Federal Focus (July 24, 2020) – CMS to Resume Audits Beginning Aug. 3
Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced in March that auditing health care providers' Medicare claims would be suspended. The suspension included pre- and post-payment medical reviews by the Medicare Administrative Contractors, Supplemental Medical Review Contractors and Recovery Audit Contractors. CMS released a notice that the auditing process will resume on Monday, Aug. 3.

CMS Cancels Claims Detail Reports for Certain Measures
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services canceled the release of September 2020 claims detail reports for the following measures, including some newly reported measures.

  • Colonoscopy (ASC-12), Orthopedic Surgery (ASC-17), and Urology Surgery (ASC-18) measures for calendar year 2022 payment determination under the Ambulatory Surgical Center Quality Reporting Program
  • Colonoscopy (OP-32), Chemotherapy (OP-35) and Hospital Outpatient Department Surgery (OP-36) measures for calendar year 2022 payment determination under the Outpatient Quality Reporting Program

The decision to cancel the release of the September 2020 CDRs does not impact future CDR or facility-specific report releases for the measures and payment determination years described above. Additional details are available.

Revised Privacy Protections Modernize Care Coordination for Americans Seeking SUD Treatment
The 42 CFR Part 2 regulations have been revised to advance the integration of health care for individuals with substance use disorders while maintaining critical privacy and confidentiality protections. More information can be found on this fact sheet and by joining an upcoming webinar, Best Practices in Navigating HIPAA and 42 CFR Part 2: A Client, Family and Organizational Perspective. The webinar is at 1 p.m. CST on Thursday, July 30. Registration is required.

MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issues updates to MLN Connects Provider eNews. eNews includes information about national provider calls, meetings, events, announcements and other MLN educational product updates. The latest issue provides updates and summaries of the following:

Telemedicine Hack: A 10-Week Learning Community to Accelerate Telemedicine Implementation for Ambulatory Providers
HHS Telemedicine Hack is a 10-week virtual, peer-to-peer learning community to accelerate telemedicine implementation for ambulatory providers. Components of TM Hack include: five teleECHO sessions; five virtual "office hour" discussion panels; and inter-session peer-to-peer learning facilitated via virtual discussion boards. CME/CEU credits are available at no cost to participants.

Telemedicine Hack sessions will take place on Wednesdays, from 11 a.m. to noon, CST., July 22–Sept. 23, 2020.


A list of all upcoming HHS/ASPR COVID-19 Clinical Rounds Project ECHO training opportunities is available online.

CMS Announces eCQM Education Session
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services scheduled an outreach and education webinar for eligible hospitals, Critical Access Hospitals, and eligible clinicians and professionals performing electronic clinical quality measure reporting for the following CMS programs.

  • Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program;
  • Medicare and Medicaid Promoting Interoperability Programs;
  • Quality Payment Program: The Merit-based Incentive Payment System;
  • Advanced Alternative Payment Models; 
  • APM: Comprehensive Primary Care Plus; and
  • APM: Primary Care First.

The webinar, Measure Collaborative Workspace Series - Measure Collaboration Workspace and eCQM Flows and Clinical Flow Prototype, is scheduled at noon, Wednesday, July 29. Registration is required.

CMS Releases HSRs for FY 2021 HAC Reduction Program
The Hospital-Specific Report for the fiscal year 2021 Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program now is available for hospital review on the QualityNet Secure Portal. The 30-day review period ends Tuesday, Aug. 18. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services webinar, Overview of the FY 2021 Hospital-Acquired Condition Reduction Program, provides a high-level overview of the FY 2021 HAC Reduction Program, including information on program updates, scoring methodology, HSRs, and the Scoring Calculations Review and Correction process. Additional details are available.

CDC Reports Drug Overdose Deaths Increased 4.6 Percent in 2019
According to preliminary data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, drug overdose deaths in the United States rose 4.6 percent in 2019 to 70,980, including 50,042 involving opioids. The data show changes in overdose deaths by drug category and state. According to a separate CDC report, 6.6 percent of women reported using a prescription opioid pain reliever during pregnancy in 2019, and one in five of these women reported misusing opioids. The authors recommend obstetric providers discuss the risks and benefits of opioid therapy for chronic pain, screen all pregnant women for substance use disorders, and provide referral and treatment as appropriate.

CMS Announces Preview Period for October 2020 Hospital Compare Data
October 2020 Hospital Compare preview data is now available on QualityNet. The preview period ends Monday, Aug. 17, and is applicable for hospitals and facilities participating in the following programs:

  • Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting;
  • Hospital Outpatient Quality Reporting; and
  • Prospective Payment System Exempt Cancer Hospitals Quality Reporting.

Additional information is available.