Current Report Articles
Federal and National News

News (Mar. 15, 2024) – President Proposes Fiscal Year 2025 Budget
President Joe Biden released a proposed budget for fiscal year 2025. Although the president's budget is likely dead on arrival, it includes notable information that may guide regulating agency actions in 2025. The budget includes total receipts of $5.485 trillion and total outlays of $6.135 trillion for a deficit of $1.694 trillion. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' requested budget includes a request of $1.6 trillion in discretionary and mandatory funding for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services during FY 2025.

8th Circuit Upholds Arkansas 340B Protections
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit upheld an Arkansas law granting protections for hospitals and other entities participating in the 340B program. The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America claimed the law, which prohibited drug manufacturers from restricting the use of contract pharmacies, was preempted by the federal 340B statute. The court ruled that the Arkansas statute was harmonious with federal law.

NHSC Scholarship Program Accepting Applications
Health professional students studying to become physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, nurse midwives or physician assistants can apply for the National Health Service Corps Scholarship Program. Recipients of the scholarship agree to provide service commitment in an underserved community for each year of scholarship support received. There is a two-year minimum service commitment, and participants can receive a maximum of four years of support. Applications are due by 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Apr. 25.

Congress Enacts Medicaid DSH Payment Cut Delays and Medicare Extenders
Congress enacted the Consolidated Appropriations Act (HR 4366), which included a health care minibus package. The law delays the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payment reductions, extends the Medicare-dependent Hospital program and extends the enhanced Medicare low-volume payment adjustment through the end of 2024. The bill also reduces the Medicare physician fee schedule payment reductions for CY 2024. The minibus did not include site-neutrality payment adjustments, or the requirement to obtain and bill using an NPI for all off-campus outpatient provider-based departments.

CMS Issues Statement About Change Healthcare Cybersecurity Attack
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services continues to monitor and assess the impact of the Change Healthcare cyberattack that occurred in late February. CMS announced that "in addition to considering applications for accelerated payments for Medicare Part A providers, we will also be considering applications for advance payments for Part B suppliers." CMS released a fact sheet with additional information. Providers who use WPS as the MAC will need to request the Medicare advanced payment using a questionnaire and request form.

CMS Issues Revised Guidelines for CMHCs
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued revised guidelines for Community Mental Health Centers. The agency updated the State Operations Manual-Appendix F to reflect changes made in the Hospital Outpatient Prospective Payment System final rule released in November 2023. Among other requirements, intensive outpatient services were added as a new level of care.

CMS Issues Final Guidance on Medicare Prescription Payment Plan
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released a final part one guidance for the new Medicare Prescription Payment Plan. The guidance addresses topics such as identifying Medicare Part D enrollees who are likely to benefit from the program, the opt-in process, program participant protections and the data collection needed to evaluate the program. The guidance requires pharmacies to provide information about the program for anyone who meets a $600 out-of-pocket threshold based on a single prescription at the point-of-sale. Medicare Part D enrollees will be able to opt into the new program for the 2025 plan year.

MLN Connects Provider eNews Available
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued the following updates to MLN Connects Provider eNews:

Before You Go ...

  • Online health care and IT certification training programs now are available through careLearning. Additional information is available.
  • The American Hospital Association's Physician Alliance and the Collaborative for Healing and Renewal in Medicine released a five-step blueprint to help health care leaders build a systemic well-being program to prevent health care worker burnout.