Today’s Top Story
CMS finalizes overpayment rule with 6-year lookback period.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a final rule regarding overpayments. Under terms of the rule, physicians are responsible for a 6-year lookback period—a reduction from the 10-year period originally proposed. The final rule requires providers and suppliers that receive funds under the Medicare program to report and return overpayments by the later of the date that is 60 days after the date on which the overpayment was identified; or the date any corresponding cost report is due, if applicable. Read more…(registration may be required)
Read the rule (PDF)…

Other News

CMS extends attestation deadline for EHR Incentive Programs.
CMS has extended the attestation deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs to Friday, March 11, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. ET, from an original deadline of Monday, Feb. 29, 2016. Eligible professionals, eligible hospitals, and critical access hospitals participating in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program can attest through the CMS Registration and Attestation System. Providers participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program should refer to their respective states for attestation information and deadlines. To attest to the EHR Incentive Programs in 2015:

  • Eligible Professionals may select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90 days from Jan. 1, 2015 (the start of the 2015 calendar year) through Dec. 31, 2015.
  • Eligible Hospitals may select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90 days from Oct. 1, 2014 (the start of the federal fiscal year) through Dec. 31, 2015.

Read more…
Learn more about attestation (PDF)…

Study: Perioperative cryoneurolysis may help improve outcomes for TKA patients.
Findings from a study published online in the journal The Knee suggest that perioperative cryoneurolysis in combination with multimodal pain management may improve outcomes for patients who undergo total knee arthroplasty (TKA). The researchers conducted a retrospective chart review of 100 patients (50 consecutive patients treated with cryoneurolysis and 50 consecutive controls). They found that 6 percent of patients in the treatment group had a length of stay of 2 days or longer, compared to 67 percent of the control group. In addition, treatment patients required 45 percent less opioids compared to controls during the first 12 weeks following surgery. Finally, at 6- and 12-week follow-ups, the treatment cohort reported a significant reduction in symptoms, and at 2- and 6-week follow-ups, significant reductions in pain intensity and pain interference, compared to the control cohort. Read more…
Read the complete study…

Study: Use of EHRs may help improve safety for surgical patients.
A study published online in the Journal of Patient Safety suggests that use of electronic health records (EHR) systems may improve safety for surgical patients. The research team conducted a retrospective analysis of patient discharges using data from the 2012 and 2013 Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System. The sample included patients age 18 years and older who were hospitalized for acute cardiovascular disease, pneumonia, or conditions requiring surgery. Overall, they found that the occurrence rate of adverse events was 2.3 percent, and 13.0 percent of patients were exposed to a fully electronic EHR. After adjustment, they noted that patient exposure to a fully electronic EHR was associated with 17 percent to 30 percent reduced odds of any adverse event. Read more…
Read the abstract…

Appeals court overturns decision regarding delayed RAC appeals.
Modern Healthcare reports that a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit has reversed the decision of a lower court, which had ruled that a delay in processing Recover Audit Contractor (RAC) appeals did not require court oversight. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) currently has a backlog of about 800,000 appeals, or about 10 times as many as it can adjudicate each year at current funding levels. The American Hospital Association and others argued in a lawsuit that the appeals process for improper claims as identified by RACs is too slow and can leave some Medicare payments unresolved for years. The appeals court decision returns the case to the lower court for reconsideration. Read more…(registration may be required)

Nominations sought for AMA Foundation Excellence in Medicine Awards program.
The American Medical Association (AMA) Foundation Excellence in Medicine Awards program was created to recognize physicians who exemplify the highest values of volunteerism, leadership, and dedication to underserved populations, and present inspirational physician stories to the medical community and public. Awards include:

  • The Jack B. McConnell, MD, Award for Excellence in Volunteerism—recognizes the work of a senior physician who provides volunteer treatment to U.S. patients who lack access to health care
  • The Pride in the Profession Award—honors physicians who practice medicine in areas of crisis or devote their time to volunteerism and public service
  • The Dr. Debasish Mridha Spirit of Medicine Award—recognizes the work of a U.S. physician who has demonstrated altruism and compassion while providing quality health care to marginalized populations
  • The Dr. Nathan Davis International Award in Medicine—honors physicians whose influence reaches international patients for a positive impact on health care in the global arena

The 2016 awards celebration will be held in conjunction with the 2016 AMA annual meeting. Nominations must be submitted by Friday, Feb. 26, 2016, at 5 p.m. CT. For more information, please contact Kyle Shah, at:
Learn more and submit your nominations…

Help build a safe and accessible playground in Orlando!
In 2000, hundreds of orthopaedic surgeons, allied health and industry partners, and community volunteers first joined forces with the AAOS to give back to the communities they serve by helping construct a safe and accessible playground so that children with and without disabilities could play together. Join your colleagues on Tuesday, March 1, 2016—as the Academy returns to the city where it all began—to help construct its 17th annual volunteer playground build. Enjoy great music, food and fun as you help to assemble playground equipment under the direction of seasoned project managers. No experience is necessary! Buses will run between the Orange County Convention Center and the build site from 7:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and lunch will be provided at the location. Learn more and register to participate…

Call for volunteers: Perioperative Surgical Home Learning Collaborative Steering Committee.
AAOS seeks to nominate two members to the Perioperative Surgical Home Learning Collaborative Steering Committee. In 2014 the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) partnered with an outside company to establish a national learning collaborative to develop, pilot, and evaluate the Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) model—a patient-centric, team-based system of coordinated care to guide patients through the entire surgical experience. A second iteration of the PSH Learning Collaborative will begin on April 1. Applicants for this position must be active fellows, candidate members, candidate members osteopathic, candidate member applicants for fellowship, or candidate member applicants for fellowship osteopathic. In addition, all applicants must provide the following: an online AAOS CAP application, a current curriculum vitae, a 100-word biosketch, and a letter of interest highlighting his or her expertise in the subject area and a statement that he or she is able to participate in full capacity. All supporting materials must be submitted by Feb. 21, 2016 at 11:59 p.m. CT, to Kyle Shah at:
Learn more and submit your application…(member login required)

NOTE: Item #2 in the Feb. 10 issue of AAOS Headline News Now incorrectly cited a study as having been published in the Journal of Bone and Elbow Surgery. The correct title of the publication is the Journal of Shoulder and Elbow Surgery.