Politics & policy

Insight into federal and state health care legislation & CMS regulation

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Medicare will now cover blood glucose testing supplies for enrollees with diabetes. There are more than 4 million Medicare-eligible patients diagnosed with diabetes.... Organ donation is suddenly the focus of enormous attention from the Department of Health and Human Services. First, the department issued a proposed rule revising the local-first policy to make urgency — not geography — the primary criterion for allocating organs. Now, the department has announced new regulations requiring hospitals to notify their regional organ-procurement organizations whenever a patient dies to determine if the patient's organs are suitable for transplantation. HHS may penalize institutions that fail to comply. Expect Congress to monitor organ-transplant policy developments with more scrutiny.... HCFA is installing new software that experts say can detect mathematical errors and inappropriate billings. Pointing out that three years have passed since the General Accounting Office first recommended that HCFA adopt the software, a GAO report said installation is expected to save hundreds of millions of dollars a year. Incorrect billings last year cost Medicare $1.7 billion.

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