Senate Finance Moves to Change Medicare Audit Processes
June 03, 2015
The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to change how improper Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers are contested by Recovery Audit Contractors to streamline the appeals and audits processes.
• The Senate Finance Committee approved a bill to change how improper Medicare payments to hospitals and other providers are contested by Recovery Audit Contractors to streamline the appeals and audits processes. This is a bipartisan bill that will hopefully minimize the backlog of Medicare appeals that have been frustrating seniors and providers in Oregon and the rest of the country. It will provide the HHS resources to keep up with the increase in appeals and will let HHS bring on more people to work through the claims backlog at a faster rate. It will also create a new track for lower-cost, less-complex cases to be heard by different hearing officers. It also requires CMS to better coordinate provider audits to allow a more transparent and efficient process and it rewards providers who consistently bill correctly by exempting them from burdensome audits. [The Hill][BGov]
Economic Indicators & News
• The U.S. trade gap shrank by 19% to a seasonally adjusted $40.88 billion in April. This was the largest decrease in six years, potentially boosting GDP in the second quarter. Imports dropped 3.3% to $230.78 billion while exports increased 1% to $189.91 billion from March to April. U.S. exports of services were the highest on record last month. [WSJ]
• The U.S. private sector added 201,000 jobs in May. Manufacturing cut 5,000 jobs while the service sector added 192,000, a sign that the labor market is reaccelerating after its winter slowdown. Small businesses drove much of the growth, adding 122,000 workers while large firms with 500 or more employees only added 13,000. [WSJ]
• Australia’s economy grew 0.9% in the first quarter, faster than expected. Growth was fueled by financial and insurance services as well as higher household consumption expenditures. However, growth remains well below potential as Australia adjusts to a post-mining boom economic landscape. [BBC]