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What's New with the BFCC-QIOs
Published on May 22, 2024


Kepro’s service areas include CMS Regions 1,4, 6, 8, and 10. In December 2022, Kepro merged with CNSI. Six months later, they announced the organization had been rebranded as Acentra Health indicating that “the name Acentra Health derives from the root words “accelerate” and “central,” reflecting the company’s uncompromising resolve to be a vital partner to public sector health agencies in the delivery of comprehensive healthcare solutions and services, with “Health” being its central business focus.”


On April 30, 2024, Kepro published a special bulletin letting providers know about their name change. They encouraged providers to update their beneficiary notices, the Important Message from Medicare (IM) and the Notice of Medicare Non-Coverage (NOMNC), by replacing “Kepro” with “Acentra Health.” However, they did note that notices that still have the name “Kepro” listed will be accepted and validated and posted a list of FAQs on their website about this change. Key things to be aware of include:


  • Phone numbers and fax numbers will not be changing,
  • Their “go live” target date for rebranding to “Acentra Health” is August 1st and plan to have all their items changed by fall 2024,
  • Kepro has been contracted to perform Medicare’s mandatory reviews through 2029 and its CMS Regions will not be changing,
  • There will be a new website with a new web address, and will be available when the name change occurs by fall 2024, and
  • They encourage you to sign up to their newsletter, Case Review Connections, which includes updates and news from Kepro.


    A day after the special bulletin was published, on May 1, 2024, Kepro began a new process for hospital discharge appeals. Specifically, when a Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiary calls Kepro to file a discharge appeal due to concerns with their discharge planning will be transferred to the Immediate Advocacy (IA) team. This team will review the concerns, identify any gaps or misunderstandings, and determine if additional guidance is needed. You can read more about this new process on Kepro’s Hospital Discharge Appeals webpage.



    Livanta’s service areas include CMS Regions 2, 3, 5, 7, and 9. On May 17, 2024 they distributed Provider Bulletin # 21 announcing that they had been awarded the BFCC-QIO contract for case reviews from May 1, 2024, through April 30, 2029. Livanta will also continue to serve as the national Medicare Claim Review contractor.


    Livanta’s announcement includes the following four sections:

  • Section 1: Beneficiary Case Review versus Claim Review,
  • Section 2: What is changing, and what is staying the same?
  • Section 3: Updating Contact Information and Memoranda of Agreement, and
  • Section 4: Stay in Touch with Livanta.


If you are unsure who your BFCC-QIO is, you can use the QIO “Locate Your BFCC-QIO” tool at



Livanta Provider Bulletin #21:

Beth Cobb

March 2024 Healthcare Potpourri
Published on Mar 27, 2024

March 1, 2024: CDC Updates Respiratory Virus Guidance

The CDC notes that respiratory viruses are responsible for millions of illnesses and thousands of hospitalizations and deaths in the United States every year. This new guidance “provides practical recommendations and information to help people lower risk from a range of common respiratory illnesses, including COVID-19, flu, and RSV. A downloadable infographic highlights five core prevention strategies (immunizations, hygiene, steps for cleaner air, treatment, and stay home and prevent spread).


March 5, 2024: HHS Statement Regarding the Cyberattack on Change Healthcare

HHS announced immediate steps being taken by CMS to assist providers. You can read their full statement at


March 11, 2024: OIG’s FY 2024 Justification of Estimates for Congress

The OIG published their FY 2025 budget requests to provide oversight of HHS programs. The OIG “is responsible for overseeing more than $2 trillion in HHS spending and more than 100 different programs that provide critical services for hundreds of millions of individuals. With just 2 cents to oversee every $100 spent by HHS, HHS OIG must target its resources to maximize the impact of oversight and enforcement work.” They are requesting a total of $499.7 million to provide oversight of HHS programs. This is a $67.2 million increase from FY 2023.


March 14, 2024: Health Related Social Needs FAQ Document

In the Thursday, March 21, 2024, edition of MLN Connects, CMS announced that they have published a Health-Related Social Needs FAQ document about four services in the CY 2024 Physician Fee Schedule (Caregiver Training, Social Determinants of Health Risk Assessment, Community Health Integration, and Principal Illness Navigation).


For example, “are there limits on how often I can bill for SDOH risk assessment? Yes, in the CY 2024 PFS Final Rule, we established a limitation on payment for the SDOH risk assessment service of once every 6 months per practitioner per beneficiary.”


March 21, 2024: New Video: HHS-OIG’s Perspective on Managed Care

In this just over four-minute video, the OIG advised notes that “Managed care is health care delivery model and an alternative way for Medicare and Medicaid patients to receive their health care benefits,” details potential risks and concerns with managed care and provide information on how patients can protect themselves.


In addition to this new video, on March 18th, the OIG published their first Impact Brief highlighting the impact the OIG’s work has on HHS programs. This first impact brief addresses Medicare Advantage Prior Authorization issues, outlines specific concerns, and demonstrates the agency’s progress to address those concerns.


March 22, 2024: March ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee Meeting Update

CMS sent a notice letting providers know that the meeting materials for the March 19th and 20th meeting are now available at


March 2024: CMS Fast Facts Updated

CMS Fast Facts provides summary information on total program enrollment, utilization, expenditures, and the total number of Medicare providers including physicians by specialty area. This information is refreshed twice a year and was most recently refreshed this month.

Beth Cobb

2023 BFCC-QIO Annual Reports
Published on Mar 13, 2024

What is a Beneficiary and Family Centered Care Quality Improvement Organization (BFCC-QIO)?

“A Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) is a group of health quality experts, clinicians, and consumers organized to improve the quality of care delivered to people with Medicare…BFCC-QIOs help Medicare beneficiaries exercise their right to high-quality health care. They manage all beneficiary complaints and quality of care reviews to ensure consistency in the review process while taking into consideration local factors important to beneficiaries and their families. They also handle cases in which beneficiaries want to appeal a health care provider’s decision to discharge them from the hospital or discontinue other types of services. Two designated BFCC-QIOs serve all 50 states and three territories, which are grouped into ten regions.”¹


Who are the BFCC-QIOs?

Kepro and Livanta are the two contractors that serve as the BFCC-QIOs for all fifty states and three territories, which are grouped into ten regions.



Region 1: Connecticut, Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont

Region 4: Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee

Region 6: Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Texas

Region 8: Colorado, Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, Wyoming

Region 10: Alaska, Idaho, Oregon, Washington



Region 2: New Jersey, New York, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands

Region 3: Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, West Virginia, Washington D.C.

Region 5: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin

Region 7: Iowa, Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska

Region 9: Arizona, California, Hawaii, Nevada, Pacific Territories


BFCC-QIO 2023 Annual Reports

In late February, Kepro and Livanta released their Annual Medical Services Review Reports for 2023 which includes data for claims with dates of service from January 1, 2023 through October 31, 2023.

Livanta noted in their March 5th edition of The Livanta Compass, that they prepare “a report for each of the five regions it serves, highlighting data points and the accomplishments of each specific region. Although each report is tailored to a particular region, the processes and individuals who safeguard the rights of Medicare beneficiaries remain consistent across all the regions that Livanta serves.”


Each report includes data at the region and state level.


The data in Table 6 (Beneficiary Appeals of Provider Discharge/Service Termination and Denials of Hospital Admission Outcomes by Notification Type) in the annual reports includes the number of appeal reviews and percentage of reviews for each outcome in which the peer reviewer either agreed or disagreed with the hospital discharge or discontinuation of skilled services. The following Appeals Notification Types are included in table 6:  


  • Notice of Non-coverage Fee-for-Service (FFS) Preadmission/Admission – Admission and Preadmission/HINN 1,
  • Notice of Non-coverage Request for BFCC-QIO Concurrence - HINN 10,
  • Medicare Advantage Appeal Review for Comprehensive Outpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (CORFs), Home Health Agencies (HHAs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), Value-Based Insurance Design (VBID) Model Hospice Benefit Component – Grijalva,
  • FFS Expedited Appeal (CORF, HHA, Hospice, SNF) – BIPA,
  • Notice of Non-coverage Hospital Discharge Notice – Attending Physician Concurs (FFS hospital discharge), and
  • MA Notice of Non-coverage Hospital Discharge Notice – Attending Physician Concurs (MA hospital discharge).

Beth Cobb

Year 2 HWDRG Validation Reviews
Published on Mar 13, 2024

Did You Know?

In the February 2024 edition of The Livanta Claims Review Advisor, Livanta reported findings from their second year of higher-weighted diagnosis related groups (HWDRG) validation reviews completed from November 1, 2022 through October 31, 2023. They note in the newsletter that these types of reviews “involve validation of codes on the claim by credentialed coding auditors and clinical review by board-certified practicing physicians as appropriate.”


Coding auditors utilize official coding guidelines, the American Hospital Association (AHA) Coding Clinics, and other authoritative coding references to complete their DRG validation reviews.  


Why It Matters?

When a hospital submits a record for a HWDRG, the review may also include a review to determine if the documentation also supported the medical necessity of an inpatient admission. The following table highlights a compare of Livanta’s Year One and Year Two review results.


Overall Findings

Year 1

Year 2










DRG Changes





Admission Denials (Medical Necessity Errors)





Total Claims Reviewed





Beth Cobb

New Resources to Address Social Determinants of Health
Published on Dec 13, 2023

In a November 16th Press Release HHS announced three new key resources to “build on the Administration’s work to advance health equity by acknowledging that peoples’ social and economic conditions play an important role in their health and wellbeing.”


White House Resource: U.S. Playbook to Address Social Determinants of Health (SDOH)

HHS defines SDOH as “the conditions in the environment where people are born, live, learn, work, play, worship, and age that affect a wide range of health, functioning, and quality-of-life outcomes and risks.”


The White House’s vision is for every American to lead full and healthy lives within their community. “This Playbook lays out an initial set of structural actions federal agencies are undertaking to break down these silos and to support equitable health outcomes by improving the social circumstances of individuals and communities.” The playbook groups actions into the following three pillars:


  • Pillar 1: Expanding Data Gathering and Sharing,
  • Pillar 2: Support Flexible Funding to Address Social Needs,
  • Pillar 3: Support Backbone Organization.


    HHS Resource: Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) Health-Related Social Needs (HRSN) Framework

    In a related Press Release HHS notes “the Playbook highlights ongoing and new actions that federal agencies are taking to support health by improving the social circumstances of individuals…The second resource provides guidance “to structure programs that address housing and nutritional insecurity for enrollees in high need populations.”


    HHS Resource: HHS’s Call to Action to Address Health Related Social Needs

    The third document is meant to “encourage cross-sector partnerships among those working in health care, social services, public and environmental health, government, and health information technology to create a stronger, more integrated health and social care system through shared decision making and by leveraging community resources, to address unmet health related social needs.”


    Z-Codes: Identifying and Coding Social Determinates of Health

    Identifying and coding SDOH supports quality measurement, planning, and implementation of social needs, and identifying community population needs. This data can be used to advocate for updating and creating new policies. For example, effective October 1, 2023, the severity designation for three Z codes was changed to a CC (comorbidity or complication) for purposes of MS-DRG assignment:

  • Z59.00: Homelessness, unspecified,
  • Z59.01: Sheltered homelessness (due to economic difficulties, currently living in a shelter, motel, temporary or transitional living situation, scattered site housing, or not having a consistent place to sleep at night), and
  • Z59.02: Unsheltered homelessness (residing in a place not meant for human habitation, such as cars, parks, sidewalks, or abandoned buildings (on the street)).

CMS noted in a FY 2024 IPPS Final Rule Fact Sheet that as SDOH codes are increasingly added to billed claims, they plan “to continue to analyze the effects of SDOH on severity of illness, complexity of services, and consumption of resources.” 


To help with understanding and coding Z Codes, CMS has published an infographic titled Improving the Collection of Social Determinants of Health (SDOH) Data with ICD-10-CM Z Codes. This document defines Z codes, explains the importance of collecting them and includes recent SDOH Z Code Categories and new codes effective October 1, 2023.


A related Journey Map walks you through five steps to using Z codes and how using these codes can enhance your quality improvement initiatives.


Beth Cobb

Happy Case Management Week 2023
Published on Oct 11, 2023

Happy Case Management week. This year, the American Case Management Association (ACMA), the Case Management Society of America (CMSA), and Commission for Case Manager Certification (CCMC) have joined to celebrate National Case Management Week with the theme and goal of “Keeping the person at the heart of collaborative care.”


In keeping with this year’s theme, the ACMA’s defines case management in the health care delivery systems as being “a collaborative practice including patients, caregivers, nurses, social workers, physicians, payers, support staff, other practitioners, and the community. The Case Management process facilitates communication and care coordination along a continuum through effective transitional care management. Recognizing the patient’s right to self-determination, the significance of the social determinants of health and the complexities of care, the goals of Case Management include the achievement of optimal health, access to services, and appropriate utilization of resources."


Medicare & You 2024

The 2024 Medicare and You handbook is now available and can be downloaded in different formats and languages. This is a great resource to help you understand the different parts of Medicare (A, B, C, D) and what services original Medicare Fee-for-Service covers.


There are seven “What’s new & important?” call outs on page two of the handbook, for example:

  • Changes to telehealth coverage: You can still get telehealth services at any location in the U.S., including your home, until the end of 2024. After that, you must be in an office or medical facility located in a rural area to get most telehealth services. There are some exceptions, like mental health services.
  • More times to sign up for Medicare: If you recently lost (or will soon lose) Medicaid, you may be able to sign up for Medicare or change your current Medicare coverage. There are special situations that allow you to sign up for Medicare.
  • COVID-19 care: Medicare continues to cover the COVID-19 vaccine, and several tests and treatments to keep you and others safe.

MMP wishes all the hard working and dedicated Case Managers that we work with a happy case management week.






Beth Cobb

CMS Memorandum: Guidance on Hospital Discharges to Post-Acute Care Proviers
Published on Jun 21, 2023

It has been almost four years since the September 30, 2019 publication of the Discharge Planning Conditions of Participation (CoP) Final Rule in the Federal Register. At that time, CMS indicated that they would provide sub-regulatory interpretive guidance after the publication of the final rule, which will provide further clarification for implementing the final discharge planning requirements. You can read more about this final rule in a related MMP article.

In 2020, COVID-19 was declared a Public Health Emergency (PHE), and CMS used emergency waiver authorities so providers could rapidly respond to people impacted by COVID-19. Specific to the Discharge Planning CoPs, CMS waived the following requirements:

§482.43(A)(8) Quality and Resource Use Measures

“The hospital must assist patients, their families, or the patient’s representative in selecting a post-acute care provider by using and sharing data that includes, but is not limited to, HHA, SNF, IRF, or LTCH data on quality measures and data on resource use measures. The hospital must ensure that the post-acute care data on quality measures and data on resource use measures is relevant and applicable to the patient’s goals of care and treatment preferences.”


§482.43 (C)(1) Patient Choice Lists

“The hospital must include in the discharge plan a list of HHAs, SNFs, IRFs, or LTCHs that are available to the patient, that are participating in the Medicare program, and that serve the geographic area (as defined by the HHA) in which the patient resides, or in the case of a SNF, IRF, or LTCH, in the geographic area requested by the patient. HHAs must request to be listed by the hospital as available.”


§482.61(e): Discharge Planning and Discharge Summary

“The record of each patient who has been discharged must have a discharge summary that includes a recapitulation of the patient’s hospitalization and recommendations from appropriate services concerning follow-up or aftercare as well as a brief summary of the patient’s condition on discharge.”


The discharge planning waivers expired on May 11, 2023 at the end of the COVID-19 PHE.

On June 6, 2023, CMS issued a Memorandum (QSO-23-16-Hospitals) to State Survey Agency Directors and noted in the Memorandum Summary that:

“CMS is committed to ensuring that the health and safety of patients are protected when discharges from hospitals and transfers to post-acute care providers occur. Therefore, we are providing the following information:

  • Reminding state agencies (SAs), accrediting organizations (AOs), and hospitals of the regulatory requirements for discharges and transfers to post-acute care providers.
  • Highlighting the risks to patients’ health and safety that can occur due to an unsafe discharge.
  • Recommendations that hospitals can leverage to improve their discharge policies and procedures to improve and protect patients’ health and safety.”


    Areas of Concern

    Examples from the list of concerns identified by CMS related to missing or inaccurate patient information includes:

  • Incomplete comprehensive list of all medications that have been prescribed to a patient during, and prior to, the hospitalization,
  • Skin tears, pressure ulcers, bruising, or lacerations, including orders or instructions for cultures, treatments, or dressings, and
  • A patient’s preferences and goals for care, such as their choices for treatment or their advance directives for end-of-life care.


After noting how missing and inaccurate patient information can have a negative impact for the patient, caregiver, and PAC providers, CMS reminds SAs and AOs about the discharge planning CoPs and advises that “when conducting surveys, SAs and AOs should be alert to the common issues identified above and ensure these discharges are occurring in a compliant and safe manner.”


Moving Forward

As of June 20, 2023, interpretive guidance for the Discharge Planning CoPs is still “pending and will be updated in future release” of the State Operations Manual – Appendix A – Survey Protocol, Regulations, and Interpretive Guidelines for hospitals. In the meantime, I encourage you to share this memorandum with your Discharge Planning staff so they can use the full list of areas of concern to make sure your medical record does not have missing or inaccurate patient information.



September 30, 2019 Discharge Planning CoP Final Rule:

Hospitals and CAHs (including Swing Beds, DPUs), ASCs and CMHs: CMS Flexibilities to Fight COVID-19:

June 6, 2023 CMS Memorandum (QSO-23-16-Hospitals):

CMS State Operations Manual – Appendix A:


Beth Cobb

May 2023 Coverage and Compliance Education Updates, COVID-19 Updates, and More
Published on May 31, 2023

Coverage Updates

May 9, 2023: U.S. Preventive Services Task Forces (USPSTF) Posts Draft Recommendation Statement for Screening Breast Cancer

The USPSTF issued a draft recommendation indicating that science now shows all women should get screened for breast cancer every other year starting at age 40. This recommendation applies to women at average risk of breast cancer and includes people with a family history of breast cancer, and people who have other risk factors, such as dense breasts.


Compliance Education Updates

MLN Fact Sheet: Clinical Laboratory Fee Schedule

This fact sheet has been updated to include the CY 2023 specimen collection amounts and flat-rate travel allowance.


MLN Fact Sheet: Skilled Nursing Facility 3-Day Rule Billing

The end of the COVID-19 PHE brought an end to the 3-day prior hospitalization waiver. CMS has updated this MLN Fact Sheet to remove language related to this waiver. For Case Managers hired during the pandemic, this is a must read to help understand what is required for your Medicare Fee-for-Service beneficiary to qualify for admission to a Skilled Nursing Facility.

COVID-19 Updates

May 19, 2023: End of COVID-19 PHE FAQs Updates

Learn about updates to the Frequently Asked Questions: CMS Waivers, Flexibilities, and the End of the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency (questions 21-23 on page 9). For example, CMS answers the question, can hospitals bill for outpatient physical therapy (PT), occupational therapy (OT), speech language therapy (SLF) services, Diabetes Self-Management Training (DSMT), or Medical Nutrition Therapy (MNT) provided to beneficiaries in their homes through telecommunication technology by hospital-employed staff?


May 25, 2023: FDA Approved Oral Antiviral Paxlovid for Treatment of Mild to Moderate COVID-19

This drug is for use in adults at high risk for progression to severe CODI-19, including hospitalization and death. Approved during the COVID-19 PHE, Patrizia Cavazzoni, M.D., director for the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research notes that “Today’s approval demonstrates that Paxlovid has met the agency’s rigorous standards for safety and effectiveness, and that it remains an important treatment option for people at high risk for progression to severe COVID-19.”

Other Updates

Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) Review Contractor: Same Company, New Name

The CERT review contractor, formerly known as NCI Information Systems, Inc. has changed their company name to Empower AI, Inc. Their email domain is


You can learn more about changes to the CERT Contractors (Review Contractor and Statistical Contractor) in a related Palmetto GBA article at


May 4, 2023 MLN Connects: May is National Mental Health Month

CMS notes in the May 4th edition of MLN connects that 20% of Americans experience mental illness each year and disproportionately affects racial and ethnic minority groups. I encourage you to read this edition of MLN Connects to learn about appropriate preventive services covered by Medicare (i.e., Depression Screening) and additional mental health resources made available by CMS.


May 24, 2023: Inpatient Rehabilitation Review Choice Demonstration and Targeted Probe and Educate

Palmetto GBA clarifies that this demonstration is for IRF providers that are physically located in and bill to the state of Alabama. Also, any current TPE reviews in process prior to June 1, 2023, will continue the normal medical review course until completion.

Beth Cobb

Livanta's Higher Weighted DRG and Short Stay Reviews
Published on May 03, 2023

Did You Know?

Livanta, the National Medicare Claim Review Contractor, is actively reviewing two types of reviews monthly.  

Higher weighted diagnosis-related groups (HWDRG) Reviews: When a hospital resubmits a claim with a higher weighted DRG as a correction to the original claim, this “is a trigger for a potential review of an inpatient claim. This review activity helps ensure that the patient’s diagnostic, procedural, and discharge information is coded and reported properly on the hospital’s claim and matches documentation in the medical record.”  

Short Stay Reviews (SSRs): For SSRs, “reviewers at Livanta obtain and evaluate the medical record to ensure that the patient’s admission and discharge were medically appropriate based on the documentation of the patient’s condition and treatment rendered during the stay, and that the corresponding Part A Medicare claim submitted by the provider was appropriate.” 

Why It Matters? 

HWDRG Reviews: When a hospital’s HWDRG claim is subject to a post-payment review, in addition to DRG validation of the adjusted claim, the review will include validation of medical necessity of the inpatient admission. 

SSRs: Short Stays are a high volume and high-cost review focus for more contractors than Livanta. RealTime Medicare Data’s (RTMDs) database includes Medicare Fee-for-Service paid claims for the nation. The following RTMD data represents paid short stay claims in CY 2022:

  • 874,104: The volume of short stay claims,
  • $47,043,865,852: The total charges by hospitals for short stay claims, and
  • $10,052,743,324: The total payment by Medicare to hospital for short stays.

Discharge disposition codes expired (20), transfer to another acute care facility (02), transfer to a short-term general hospital with a planned acute care hospital inpatient admission (82), left against medical advice (07), and hospice election (50 & 51) are excluded from the short stay RTMD data as CMS considers them to be unforeseen circumstances. 

Office of Inspector General (OIG)

Prior OIG audits identified millions of dollars in overpayments for inpatient claims with short lengths of stay. The OIG had previously stated they would not audit short stays after October 1, 2013; however, their current work plan includes a review of CMS’ Oversight of the Two-Midnight Rule for Inpatient Admissions.

Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT)

Since the October 1, 2013 implementation of the Two-Midnight Rule, as part of their annual report, the CERT review contractor has reported hospital inpatient review findings by length of stay. The improper payment rate for “0 or 1 day” claims is consistently higher than other lengths of stay. In fact, the improper payment rate for short stay claims increased from 16.8% in 2021 to 20.1% in 2022 with a projected improper payment of $1.5B.

Program for Evaluating Payment Patterns Electronic Report (PEPPER)

One-Day stays for medical and surgical DRGs are review targets in the short-term acute care PEPPER. The suggested intervention for high outliers is that “this could indicate that there are unnecessary admissions related to the inappropriate use of admission screening criteria or outpatient observation. A sample of one-day stay cases should be reviewed to determine whether inpatient admission was necessary or if care could have been provided more efficiently on an outpatient basis (e.g., outpatient observation).”

What Can I Do?

Livanta provides several education resources on their website. For example, the Livanta Claims Review Advisor newsletter alternates between SSRs and HWDRG reviews. Examples of newsletter topics includes: 

HWDRG Review Topics: Physician Queries, Sepsis DRGs, Encephalopathy, Anemia and GI Bleeding, and Malnutrition, and Short Stay Review Topics: Chest Pain, Atrial Fibrillation, Congestive Heart Failure, and Transient Ischemic Attack Case Scenarios.

I encourage you to share this information with your HIM, Case Management, and Clinical Documentation Integrity staff.


Livanta website:

RealTime Medicare (RTMD):

OIG Workplan:

CERT Reports:

36th Edition of Short-Term Acute Care Hospitals Users Guide at


Beth Cobb

April 2023 COVID-19 and Other Medicare Updates
Published on Apr 26, 2023

COVID-19 Updates


March 29, 2023: FAQs Issued on Coverage of COVID-19 Testing and Vaccines by Health Plans After the Public Health Emergency Ends

A set of FAQs were issued to help group health plans and health insurance issuers in the private market understand their obligations under the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA) and Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act (CARES Act) related to coverage for COVID-19 diagnostic testing and vaccines following the expiration of the PHE. The FAQs were issued jointly by HHS, the Department of Labor, and the Department of Treasury.


April 10, 2023: New COVID-19 Treatments Add-On Payment (NCTAP)

This webpage was updated to let providers know Medicare will provide an enhanced payment through September 30, 2023, for eligible inpatient cases using certain new products with current FDA approval or emergency use authorization (EUA) to treat COVID-19.


April 5, 2023: COVID-19 Over the Counter (OTC) Test Coverage Ends May 11, 2023

“Effective May 12, 2023, COVID-19 OTC tests (HCPCS K1034) are no longer a covered benefit for Medicare. Any providers or suppliers providing monthly supplies to their patients should notify their patients of this change before providing further services.”


Other Updates


April 4, 2023: Special Edition MLN Connects: Proposed Rules

CMS announced the release of the FY 2024 proposed rules for Hospice, Medicare Inpatient Psychiatric Facilities, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities, and Skilled Nursing Facilities. Included in the announcement are links to related Fact Sheets.


April 6, 2023: Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage: Form Renewal         

CMS posted a notice in the March 6, 2023 edition of MLN Connects letting providers know the OMB has approved the Advance Beneficiary Notice of Noncoverage (Form CMS-R-131) for renewal. The expiration date is the only change to the form and must be used beginning June 30, 2023.


April 17, 2023: New Resources to Address Rising Threat of Cyberattacks in Health and Public Health Sector

HHS issued a Press Release announcing new resources made available by the U.S. HHS 405(d) Program to address cybersecurity concerns in the Healthcare and Public Health (HPH) sector including a Knowledge on Demand – platform offering free educational cybersecurity trainings, the 2023 edition of the Health Industry Cybersecurity Practices (HICP) report, and a Hospital Cyber Resiliency Initiative Landscape Analysis reporting on the current state of domestic hospitals’ cybersecurity preparedness.


The HICP report indicates that “healthcare records continue to be one of the most lucrative items on the underground market, ranging from $250 to $1,000 compared to other items like credit cards only selling for an average of $100,” driver’s license an average of $20, and SSN’s average of $1.


April 21, 2023: CMS Issues Two More Civil Monetary Penalties for Failure to Meet Hospital Price Transparency Requirements

On April 21, CMS updated the hospital’s price transparency enforcement actions webpage by adding two more hospitals subject to civil monetary penalties for noncompliance with the hospital price transparency requirements ( 

Beth Cobb

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