Nursing Home Staff Turnover Rates Partially Explains Disproportionate Number of Deaths during COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted residents and staff of nursing homes and long-term care facilities more than any other demographic, accounting for nearly 40 percent of the total mortality rate from the virus in the United States.  According to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”), at least 132,000 residents and employees have died from complications of the COVID-19 across 31,000 facilities, although some estimates place the death count closer to 200,000.  One factor aggravating the number of deaths in nursing homes is the extraordinarily high rate of staff turnover each year. 

Newly Added Regional Medicare Fraud Strike Force Targets Opioid Crisis

One month after the largest health care fraud enforcement action was taken, the Assistant Attorney General, Brian A. Benczkowski, of the Justice Department’s Criminal Division, announced the addition of the Newark/Philadelphia Regional Medicare Strike Force. The newly added 11th Medicare Strike Force will largely focus on healthcare fraud that is contributing to the opioid epidemic.

Medicare Regulations Compliance for Long-term Care Hospitals-within-Hospitals

Christine S. Kim Assistant Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D. 2017   Due to the inextricably association between long-term care Hospitals-within-Hospitals (“HwHs”) and their respective Long Term Care Hospitals (“LTCH”), or host hospitals, efforts to circumvent compliance with federal reimbursement regulations have evolved. This blog article discusses the ways in which the Centers …
Read more

MACRA 101: Physician Fee Schedule Adjustments and the New Pick Your Pace Options

Alanna J. Kroeker Executive Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2017   In this article, we will cover the anticipated reimbursement scheme for both MIPS and APMs, as well as briefly discuss two new reporting paths recently revealed to be available to clinicians in 2017. One of the most attractive pieces of the …
Read more

DOJ Joins Whistleblower Suit Against UnitedHealth Group

The United States Department of Justice (“DOJ”) recently intervened in a qui tam action against UnitedHealth Group (“United”) and its subsidiary, UnitedHealthcare Medicare & Retirement, the nation’s largest provider of Medicare Advantage (“MA”) Plans. The suit alleges that United engaged in an “up-coding” scheme to receive higher payments than they should have under MA’s risk adjustment program. Assuming these allegations of United’s false claims are true, then United billed and received hundreds of millions of dollars in improper payments from Medicare.

My Summer with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

This summer I had the opportunity to intern with the Office of Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (OIG) in Washington, DC. I thoroughly enjoyed my time with OIG, and I learned a great deal about health care fraud, waste, and abuse. In spending my summer with OIG, I had a glimpse into the powerful regulatory bodies that protect the health care market from abuse. As I move forward with my career in regulatory work, I will take with me the invaluable experiences and skills from my internship.

Mother and Son Sentenced to Federal Prison for Pharmacy Fraud Scheme

Anais Holland-Rudd Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2018   Niurka Fernandez, 54, and her son Roberto Alvarez, 26, both plead guilty on August 31, 2016 to one count of conspiracy to commit health care fraud. On November 10th, Fernandez was sentenced to 120 months in prison while Alvarez was sentenced to …
Read more

MACRA 101: Noteworthy Changes in the Final Rule

Alanna Kroeker Executive Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2017   As our MACRA 101 series comes to an end, this article is intended to point out key differences between the proposed rule released earlier this year and the final rule which was released October 14th.  The lengthy final rule, reaching almost 2,400 …
Read more

MACRA 101: Advanced Alternative Payment Models

Bherti Patel Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2018   The Quality Payment Program (QPP) will reward delivery of quality patient care through the following two programs: the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (APMs). These two programs will allow clinicians and physicians to provide care in a …
Read more

MACRA 101: MIPS and the Clinical Practice Improvement Reporting Category

Christine Bulgozdi Associate Editor Loyola University Chicago School of Law, JD 2018   The Merit-based Incentive Payment System (“MIPS”) is one of the two different payment methods that MACRA will use for eligible clinicians. Clinicians will be evaluated based on a single Composite Performance Score from four reporting categories: Quality, Resource Use, Advancing Care Information and …
Read more