Your Government at Work


OIG Work Plan Updates
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) has made recent updates for October to its Work Plan. The OIG Work Plan summarizes new, ongoing, and revised areas of hospital review that the OIG plans to pursue. As of June 2017, the OIG started updating its Work Plan monthly in order to enhance transparency around its continuous work planning efforts. One update to the Work Plan involves review of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) Medicare Beneficiary Identifier Card.

CMS Aids in Hurricane Michael Emergency Response
As previously reported, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) acted to provide emergency relief to those impacted by Hurricane Michael in the state of Florida. Following that effort, CMS announced that the same agency waivers would take effect in the state of Georgia. As it did for Florida, CMS will be providing immediate relief to those impacted, including temporarily waiving or modifying certain Medicare, Medicaid, and Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) requirements, creating special enrollment opportunities for individuals to access healthcare immediately, and taking steps to ensure dialysis patients obtain critical life-saving services. To read more about this, see here.

HHS Civil Monetary Penalties Inflation Adjustment
The Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) updated its regulations to reflect required annual inflation-related increases to the civil monetary penalties in its regulations. This update was made in accordance with the Federal Civil Penalties Inflation Adjustment Improvements Act of 2015, which is intended to improve the effectiveness of civil monetary penalties and requires agencies to adjust those penalties annually for inflation. The rule with updates was effective October 11, 2018 and the adjusted civil monetary penalty amounts apply to penalties assessed on or after October 11, 2018.

CMS Proposes Rule on Disclosing Drug Prices
As part of the effort to lower prescription drug prices, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (“CMS”) proposed a rule to require prescription drug manufacturers to post the Wholesale Acquisition Cost for drugs covered in Medicare or Medicaid in direct-to-consumer television advertisements. Under the rule, the price required to be posted would be for a typical course of treatment for an acute medication like an antibiotic and would take the form of a legible textual statement at the end of the television ad. CMS will provide an exception to the requirement for prescription drugs with list prices of less than $35 per month. The proposed rule would mean greater transparency into the prices prescription drug manufacturers set and give beneficiaries information they need to make informed decisions based on cost.