CHA News Article

CHA, HASC and Member Hospitals Meet With CMS Administrator Tavenner and Deputy Administrator Blum

As part of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce congressional action program held in Washington, D.C., this week, CHA, the Hospital Association of Southern California and several hospitals from Los Angeles County met with Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner, Principal Deputy Administrator Jonathan Blum and Melanie Bella, director of the Medicare-Medicaid Coordinated Office, to discuss many top regulatory issues. The group, led by CHA Board Member Bill Caswell, Kaiser Permanente, discussed the Covered California rollout and the leadership hospitals have provided in helping to get new patients enrolled, as well as the commitment of California’s hospitals and health systems to providing high-quality services to newly enrolled patients. In addition, the group spent considerable time discussing concerns related to proposed reductions in Medicare Advantage rates, the recent changes in the Coordinated Care Initiative in Los Angeles and the rollout of Medicare’s new inpatient admission criteria (the two-midnight policy).

CHA thanked CMS for extending the two-midnight policy’s period of non-enforcement, but suggested that even more time is needed to further evaluate the policy’s merits and consider potential alternatives. The group also requested swift action by CMS in addressing the broken Medicare appeals process that has resulted from inappropriate claims denials by the Recovery Audit Contractor program, and for continued changes in that program going forward.

On Monday, the group met with Stephen Cha, chief medical officer in the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, discussing the Medicaid expansion in California through the health insurance exchange. At the meeting, hospitals requested assistance in ensuring swift approval by CMS of California’s hospital fee program, as those funds are essential to meeting the needs of the newly enrolled population. CHA will follow up with CMS on these and other important issues that remain top regulatory advocacy priorities.