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CMS Releases New Course for SNF Providers

CMS Releases New Course for SNF Providers

CMS SNF CourseBETHESDA, MD – The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a new web-based training course that provides an overview of the assessment and coding the items in Section K related to height, weight, and nutritional approaches for skilled nursing facility residents. The on-demand, 30-minute course includes interactive exercises to test skilled nursing facility providers’ knowledge related to the assessment and coding of K0200: Height and Weight and K0510: Nutritional Approaches.

The new training was developed as part of the Post-Acute Care (PAC) Training contract, which assesses training needs, develops training materials, delivers training to providers and stakeholders, and evaluates the outcome of the trainings for changes and clarification needed due to the passing of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act). The primary goal of the project is to deliver relevant, accurate, and engaging training to assist providers in complying with coding and data submission requirements associated with quality reporting programs (QRPs) for the skilled nursing facility, long-term care hospital, inpatient rehabilitation facility, home health agency, and hospice care settings..

The latest training can be found through the CMS’ skilled nursing facility QRP training web page.

If you have questions about accessing the course or feedback regarding the training, please email the PAC Training mailbox at PACTraining@EconometricaInc.com. Content-related questions should be submitted to the SNF QRP Help Desk at SNFQualityQuestions@cms.hhs.gov.

About Econometrica:

Founded in 1998, Econometrica is a research and management organization in Bethesda, MD, established to provide public- and private-sector clients with customized program support services. Econometrica works with multiple agencies to provide high-quality, cost-effective analyses, modeling, and economic evaluations. The company consistently receives exceptional scores from its clients and believes in three principles: technical capabilities, happy customers, and business development.

The new training was developed as part of the Post-Acute Care (PAC) Training contract, which assesses training needs, develops training materials, delivers training to providers and stakeholders, and evaluates the outcome of the trainings for changes and clarification needed due to the passing of the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014 (IMPACT Act).

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Jonathan Fusfield

CMS Releases Updated Look at COVID-19’s Impact on the Medicare Population

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recently released a snapshot of the impact COVID-19 has had on the Medicare population. The monthly update, released June 30, shows there were more than 4.3 million COVID-19 cases among the Medicare population and more than 1.2 million COVID-19 hospitalizations.

Data in the snapshot covers the period January 1, 2020, to April 24, 2021.

A factsheet and additional information can be fund at https://www.cms.gov/research-statistics-data-systems/preliminary-medicare-covid-19-data-snapshot.

Econometrica Ready for New CMS Priorities Under Brooks-LaSure

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure was sworn in as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on May 27, 2021. With any change in administration, new priorities take precedence.

Akin Gump of Strause Hauer & Feld LLP wrote a primer prior to her confirmation hearings on some of the priorities CMS will pursue under Brooks-LaSure, including healthcare coverage expansion, health equity, surprise billing, and healthcare financing.

These priorities match Brooks-LaSure’s career in the public and private sectors. She was intimately involved in the writing of and implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), first as a staffer for the U.S. House Committee on Ways and Means and then for CMS’ Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO). She has also worked to improve access, quality, and efficiency in healthcare, and she consulted on healthcare financing and cost transparency.

Econometrica has worked with CMS for more than two decades and looks forward to continuing this partnership under Brooks-LaSure.

Source: CMS

CMS
Chiquita Brooks-LaSure – Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

CMS’ New Case Study Showcases Successful Community Advisory Board Collaboration

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a case study highlighting Health Net of West Michigan, an organization participating in CMS’ Accountable Health Communities (AHC) Model. The AHC Model seeks to identify if healthcare costs and utilization can be impacted by the identification and subsequent mitigation of Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries’ health-specific social needs. One part of Health Net’s approach to this identification is through its advisory board, which consists of community partners across multiple sectors and “focuses on addressing social determinants of health at the community and systems levels.”

The inclusion of community members on an advisory board can sometimes prove a struggle. As advisory boards do not have formal authority to direct change, participants can feel disheartened and superfluous to the process. Health Net seeks to engage its community advisory board members by putting them first: From letting the advisory board select their own role titles (“community advisor” was ultimately chosen) to helping advisors develop their professional skills and find opportunities that utilize their lived experiences, Health Net recognizes that by gaining their advisors’ trust and proving their commitment to the community, they will foster goodwill and find advisors with legitimate interest in bettering the community. The case study includes a quote from a community advisor, showcasing how Health Net’s approach to the community has resulted in engaged advisors who understand their role on the board and responsibility to their neighbors:

Health Net’s advisory board has proven beneficial for both the organization and the community at large. The community advisors bring their lived experiences to the table, ensuring that staff members recognize the humanity of those affected by the policies and challenges identified. Community advisors also ensure that Health Net’s actions are aligned with the needs and desires of the community at large, and can offer suggestions and ideas on how to “make [programs] more culturally sensitive and user friendly,” which further aids Health Net in fostering goodwill within the community.

“It’s important to me to decrease disparities about who gets help and who doesn’t […] I give them the idea of what it’s like to be a client out here… They always listen to what I have to say and support whatever I mentioned.” 

—Community Advisor

The CMS case study in full can be accessed at https://innovation.cms.gov/media/document/ahcm-casestudy-healthnet.

Health Net’s advisory board has proven beneficial for both the organization and the community at large. The community advisors bring their lived experiences to the table, ensuring that staff members recognize the humanity of those affected by the policies and challenges identified.

The State Data Resource Center’s Recommendations to Support Vaccine Equity

BETHESDA, MD – As of April 26, 29 percent of the U.S. population is fully vaccinated. Vaccines are now available to all U.S. adults, and 2.6 million doses are being administered in the United States every day. As vaccination rates continue to increase, it is important that vaccine distribution is monitored to ensure that vulnerable populations are reached. Ensuring equitable access to the COVID-19 vaccine—recognized as a national priority by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) —requires that data are available and appropriately used to evaluate socioeconomic and demographic vaccine distribution trends.

Earlier this month, the State Data Resource Center (SDRC) released information to support states in identifying COVID-19 vaccination Medicare claims among their dually eligible beneficiaries. SDRC was established by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in 2011 to help states obtain dually eligible beneficiary data. Econometrica supports CMS in providing resources to states to assist in requesting and using Medicare data files for care coordination and program integrity purposes.

The COVID-19 vaccine information was posted as an announcement on the SDRC website, developed and operated by Econometrica, and includes a recommended process for identifying COVID-19 vaccine claims in both the Coordination of Benefits Agreement (eCOBA) file and the monthly Parts A and B dataset. In both files, Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) codes are used to identify COVID-19 vaccine claims. Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson each have their own assigned HCPCS codes with additional vaccine administration codes that specify whether the claim was the individual’s first or second dose.

In addition to identifying COVID-19 vaccine claims and ensuring each beneficiary received the appropriate number of doses, SDRC recommends that states link these claims to the beneficiary’s demographic information. In doing so, disparities in vaccine uptake across race/ethnicity, disability status, or geography can be evaluated and addressed.

The SDRC announcement highlights an important opportunity for state Medicaid agencies. Analyses, made possible through the use of SDRC data and the SDRC support team, can help to inform policy. By identifying any racial, ethnic, or socioeconomic disparities in access to COVID-19 vaccines, state policymakers can shift their distribution plans to ensure vaccines are available to vulnerable, dually eligible beneficiaries.

Vaccines are now available to all U.S. adults, and 2.6 million doses are being administered in the United States every day.