The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced November 29, 2011 that Medicare will cover screening and counseling to help reduce obesity. Medicare beneficiaries can receive these and other approved preventive services from primary care providers (including nurse practitioners and certified nurse midwives) without any cost sharing.
Recent decisions by CMS, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, have a direct and significant impact upon nursing practice and care, for RNs as well as APRNs. The proposed rule for Medicare Conditions of Participation is open for comments; the rule regarding ACOs is a final rule. The link to the Federal Register notice of each rule appears after each heading. ANA comments can be found on our website, Nursing World, at http://www.nursingworld.org/comments.
After months of debate and intense negotiation between the U.S. House of Representatives, Senate, and White House, President Barack Obama signed The Budget Control Act of 2011 (S. 365) into law on August 2nd. This legislation will raise the debt ceiling through the end of 2012 and paves the way for trillions of dollars in government spending cuts. Although Medicare and Medicaid dodged a bullet in this first round, ANA remains concerned that safety net programs will be on the chopping block once the newly created Deficit Reduction Committee seeks to identify another $1.5 trillion in savings.
HHS Initiatives to Help States with “Dual-Eligible” Medicare/Medicaid Patients Include More Nurse Practitioners in Nursing HomesWednesday, August 31st, 2011
On July 8, Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services announced three new initiatives to help states improve the quality and lower the cost of care for the approximately nine million Americans who are eligible for benefits under both Medicare and Medicaid programs. These individuals, known as “dual-eligibles,” include some of the sickest patients, and account for a significant and growing portion of health care costs — over $300 billion per year. A technical resource center will help states coordinate care, and demonstration projects are designed to improve care coordination and decrease hospital admissions of nursing home residents. The nursing home demonstration project calls for facilities to adopt improvements such as employing more nurse practitioners, and increasing evidence-based interventions to prevent falls, pressure ulcers, and other preventable conditions.
The American Nurses Association (ANA) acknowledged the 45th anniversary of the enactment of Medicare on July 1 and reaffirmed its commitment to the program, which provides insurance coverage for 47 million vulnerable elderly and disabled individuals. ANA was the first health care organization to support the creation of Medicare and firmly opposes large scale cuts to the program.
Home Health Legislation Reintroduced in U.S. House, Ensures Better Patient Access to Care, Removes Barriers for Nurses as Qualified ProvidersThursday, June 30th, 2011
On June 21, 2011, Representatives Greg Walden (R-OR) and Allyson Schwartz (D-PA) reintroduced the “Home Health Care Planning Improvement Act of 2011” (H.R. 2267). This bipartisan legislation would allow advanced practice registered nurses (APRNs) – nurse practitioners (NPs), clinical nurse specialists (CNSs), certified nurse midwives (CNMs), physician assistants (PAs) – to order home health services and meet the face-to-face requirement under Medicare in accordance with state law.