7:39 AM, Jan 2, 2014 • By JERYL BIER
The contractor building the financial management system for Healthcare.gov is being blamed by a Houston hospital for delayed Medicare reimbursements that have caused the hospital to miss payrolls for weeks. Novitas Solutions is the federal government's new Medicare payment processor for the south-central region of the country hired by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), a division of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS.) ABC-KTRK in Houston reports:
According to the CEO Jason Leday, more than 150 employees haven't been paid in nearly a month.
"I understand that they have children and a house payment, bills. Not getting paid is wow," nearby resident Theresa Gutierrez said.
The hospital is strapped for cash not because its not making money, but because Leday says a new Medicare payment facilitator named Novitas Solutions is taking too way long to pay out Medicare claims to the hospital.
Leday says he's owed nearly $3 million in payments from Medicare and can't make payroll...
The Texas Medical Association says they are familiar with complaints like this one regarding the medicare payment facilitator- and a representative told us smaller community hospitals like this one are in similar situations.
Novitas also runs the south-central region's Medicare website which was launched just two days before the October 1 launch of Healthcare.gov. As THE WEEKLY STANDARD reported on December 19, that site has experienced problems reminiscent of Healthcare.gov's troubles, and the site will not be fully operational until well into 2014.
Novitas's direct connection to Healthcare.gov stems from an emergency, no-bid contract for "financial management services" awarded in August and first reported by THE WEEKLY STANDARD in September. The services required included accounting, tracking of accounts receivable and accounts payable, documenting funds collected by CMS, and data validation, among other things. CMS justified the no-bid award because the "prospect of a delay in implementing the Marketplace by the operational date of January 1, 2014, even for a few days, would result in severe consequences, financial and other" and that the services required were "beyond what was initially anticipated and beyond CMS' currently available resources."
Novitas did not respond to KTRK for its story, and so far has not responded to a request for comment since the story ran. In the past, Novitas has referred requests for comment to HHS.
Despite initially promising more information about the August contract, HHS/CMS has ignored repeated requests for clarification about the nature of the work and how it relates to the mission of Healthcare.gov. HHS has not responded to a request for comment about the reports of slow payments to hospitals either.
8:36 AM, Dec 19, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
As the October 1 launch of Healthcare.gov drew closer, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) realized it was in trouble.
2:21 PM, Oct 25, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
The Obamacare website Healthcare.gov has been grabbing all the headlines lately, but another aspect of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) may come under increased scrutiny in the weeks and months ahead: Electronic Health Records (EHR).
2:48 PM, Aug 29, 2013 • By DANIEL HALPER
The Department of Health and Human Services released a statement today saying that gay spouses are now eligible for key Medicare benefits. The announcement is presented as "guidance" for "implementing Supreme Court’s decision on the Defense of Marriage Act."
3:29 PM, Aug 8, 2013 • By JERYL BIER
A recent audit by the Office of the Inspector General for Health and Human Services found that in four out of five cases when elective surgeries were cancelled for one reason or another, Medicare still paid even though the claims submitted by the hospitals failed the "reasonable and necessary" standard.
Unintended consequences.8:01 AM, Jul 29, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
The bankrupt city of Detroit may have found a way out of its health care woes for its retired city workers: shifting the costs to taxpayers nationwide via Obamacare. If Detroit and other struggling municipalities follow through, the result could be a "huge cost" to taxpayers. The New York Times has the story:
5:04 PM, Jun 18, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
At least for now (although a statewide referendum may be pending), Arizona governor Jan Brewer, a Republican, has succeeded in her efforts to implement a key part of Obamacare in her state.
12:17 PM, Jun 1, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The recent news on the economy, in general, and deficits, in particular, has been encouraging. Seems the clumsy blend of tax increases and reduced spending – aka the sequester – brought in more revenue and reduced spending. Funny how that works.
Obama’s deceptive budget. Apr 29, 2013, Vol. 18, No. 31 • By JAY COST
Earlier this month, President Obama released his fiscal year 2014 budget, which calls for $1.1 trillion in higher taxes over the next decade, cuts of $400 billion from Medicare and Medicaid, and alterations to Social Security’s benefit rate worth about $130 billion.
10:00 PM, Mar 18, 2013 • By WILLIAM KRISTOL
Robert Samuelson's fine column in the Washington Post, “America the retirement home,” argues that “The budget debate’s central reality is that federal retirement programs, led by Social Security and Medicare, are crowding out most other government spending,” and that this is endangering the other important functions of government, including defense:
8:35 AM, Feb 6, 2013 • By JEFFREY H. ANDERSON
It’s an old basketball adage that teams that apply a full-court press don’t like to be pressed themselves. They like to force the action, not have it forced on them. In a similar vein, those who seek to centralized power by spearheading the passage of new federal laws generally don’t like to obey those laws themselves. Laws are something for other people to dutifully obey — less important people.
1:01 PM, Jan 22, 2013 • By MICHAEL WARREN
Wisconsin congressman Paul Ryan knocked President Barack Obama for "shadowbox[ing] a straw man" in his inaugural address. Speaking Tuesday morning on the Laura Ingraham Radio Show to guest host Raymond Arroyo, Ryan responded to Obama's statement that Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security "do not make us a nation of takers, they free us to take the risks that make this country great."
Ryan called Obama's insinuation that he and other reform-minded Republicans consider recipients of these benefits "takers" a "switcheroo."
5:35 PM, Jan 16, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
The head of the AARP has stated clearly where his organization stands on the matter of cutting entitlements. As Kate Ackley reports in Roll Call:
12:51 PM, Jan 2, 2013 • By GEOFFREY NORMAN
Among the many items bundled into the fiscal cliff fix there was another delay in implementing cuts to physician payments for Medicare services. It wasn't hard, though. Congress has had plenty of practice handling what is called the "doc fix," since it has been doing it almost routinely for the last decade.