The Small Business Administration has launched an online tool to clarify the Affordable Care Act's employer mandate, saying businesses will not be able to avoid the law's costs by cutting full-time employees to part-time hours because the government will add up the number of part-time hours to determine whether they qualify as full-time equivalent hours.
In testimony during a Small Business Administration Regulatory Fairness Hearing in Seattle last week, AOPA Executive Director Tom Fise detailed how fraud allegations by the Office of Inspector General led to measures that have affected patient care and engendered expensive appeals, layoffs and business closures. He stated the position that AOPA is taking in its lawsuit against HHS. AOPA plans to participate in the next Regulatory Fairness Hearing in Davenport, Iowa, on June 21.
New HIPAA regulations on security and confidentiality of data, which went into effect in March, require health care providers to conduct security analyses and correct deficiencies in such areas as risk assessment and data management. Experts emphasize the importance of data encryption and employee training in achieving compliance.
As a result of sequestration, reimbursement will be reduced by 2% for all Medicare claims with a service date on or after April 1, 2013, writes AOPA's director of Coding and Reimbursement Services, Joseph McTernan, in this Q&A. Reimbursement by other insurers should not be affected, and the Medicare fee schedule has not been reduced. He notes that non-assigned claims are also subject to the 2% reduction, but sequestration does not affect patients’ deductibles or coinsurance.
The Boston Marathon bombings highlighted the situation of the approximately 2 million amputees in the U.S., including roughly 1,800 who lost a limb from military causes and 300 to 400 new amputees a day from accident or disease. Research "is not linear, it is exponential because there are so many more people working on these problems," according to double amputee Hugh Herr, head of the Biomechantronics Group at MIT. But while innovation is high, so are costs, and the Amputee Coalition is lobbying for passage of the Insurance Fairness for Amputees Act to ban reimbursement caps for prostheses.