federal register • 28 december 2021

CMS has published in the federal register:

  • Final Rules for the Medicare Program:
    1. Durable Medical Equipment, Prosthetics, Orthotics, and Supplies (DMEPOS) Policy Issues, and Level II of the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS);
    2. DME Interim Pricing in the CARES Act;
    3. Durable Medical Equipment Fee Schedule Adjustments To Resume the Transitional 50/50 Blended Rates To Provide Relief in Rural Areas and Non-Contiguous Areas
  • A Notice of Agency Information Collection Activities: Independent Rural Health Clinic Cost Report
  •  A Notice of Agency Information Collection Activities: Medicare Disproportionate Share Adjustment for Hospitals and Supporting Regulations in 42 CFR 412.106

federal register • 27 december 2021

CMS has published in the federal register:

  • A Correction to Final Rules for the Medicare Program:
    1. CY 2022 Payment Policies Under the Physician Fee Schedule and Other Changes to Part B Payment Policies;
    2. Medicare Shared Savings Program Requirements;
    3. Provider Enrollment Regulation Updates;
    4. Provider and Supplier Prepayment and Post-Payment Medical Review Requirements
  • A Final rule with comment period for the Medicare Program:
    1. Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment Systems for Acute Care Hospitals;
    2. Changes to Medicare Graduate Medical Education Payments for Teaching Hospitals;
    3. Changes to Organ Acquisition Payment Policies

federal register • 22 december 2021

CMS has published in the federal register:

  • A Correction to Final Rules for the Medicare and Medicaid Programs:
    1. CY 2022 Home Health Prospective Payment System Rate Update;
    2. Home Health Value-Based Purchasing Model Requirements and Model Expansion;
    3. Home Health and Other Quality Reporting Program Requirements;
    4. Home Infusion Therapy Services Requirements;
    5. Survey and Enforcement Requirements for Hospice Programs;
    6. Medicare Provider Enrollment Requirements; and
    7. COVID-19 Reporting Requirements for Long-Term Care Facilities

federal register • 21 december 2021

CMS has published in the federal register:

  • A Notice of Agency Information Collection Activities for the Medicare and Medicaid Programs: Promoting Interoperability Programs (Stage 3) (CMS-10552)
  • A Notice of Agency Information Collection Activities:
    1. Quality Payment Program/Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)
    2. Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit Program
    3. The PACE Organization (PO) Monitoring and Audit Process in 42 CFR part 460

mandates, incentives, and personal responsibility

We have met the enemy and he is us.
—Pogo (Walt Kelly), 1972

Joe Biden is not responsible for the current surge of COVID-19Δ, and will not be responsible for the coming surge of COVID-19Ο. Nor is COVID-19 in either its delta or omicron mutation responsible. Who is? Those who won’t do the very least they can do, all on their own, to prevent transmission of COVID-19 to themselves (by vaccination) or others (by wearing a mask). The COVID-19 pandemic has revealed a longer-standing and more virulent pandemic: a pandemic of malignant individualism and selfishness masquerading as a defense of freedom.

The reactionary right waxes hysterical about mandates, has tantrums about masks, is sent into a frenzy by school policies that will protect their own children, and goes on and on (and on and on) about tyrannical assaults on their freedom. At this point we know that mandates may be counterproductive when directed at people who haven’t the faintest understanding of what freedom entails. That would be personal responsibility. Something else that the reactionary right goes on and on (and on and on and on) about when it concerns the responsibilities of other people.

So … if not mandates, then what?

How about incentives? Pro-market conservatives like incentives. They prefer them. They maintain that incentives are always superior to mandates and regulations as a tool of public policy. So, let’s think about how that would work. It would be fairly simple: if you aren’t vaccinated you have to pay for your own care when you contract COVID-19. All of your care: the testing, the emergency room care; the hospital care; the physician visits; the drugs you need; the follow-up care. And you will be put at the end of the queue for resources that are in short supply: ICU beds, ventilators, monoclonal anti-body treatment, the latest drugs. If you won’t do the very least to take care of yourself and others, then the rest of us shouldn’t have to foot the bill for your selfishness (not to mention your foolishness).

Should there be exceptions? Only if the physicians in the hospital where you are seeking care concur that vaccination was clinically contraindicated. No religious exception: you should appeal to your co-religionists to pay for your care or be a martyr to your sacred principles. No exception based on political principle: “Live Free or Die” implies “Live Free and Die”. No exception for financial hardship given the extraordinary actions that have been taken to make the vaccine freely available. And those efforts should and will and do continue.

The very least the unvaccinated can do is: get vaccinated. The next-to-least thing they can do is: wear a mask when around others. This also applies to the vaccinated—but many of us do continue to wear masks out of consideration for the health of others. It’s time for the unvaccinated to use the freedom with which they are endowed to take some personal responsibility. Which is what freedom is about.

federal register • 17 december 2021

CMS has published in the federal register:

  • A Correction to Final Rules for the Medicaid Program: Delay of Effective Date for Provision Relating to Manufacturer Reporting of Multiple Best Prices Connected to a Value Based Purchasing Arrangement; Delay of Inclusion of Territories in Definition of States and United States; Correction

federal register • 14 december 2021

CMS has published in the federal register:

  • A Correction to Final Rules for the Medicare Program: End-Stage Renal Disease Prospective Payment System, Payment for Renal Dialysis Services Furnished to Individuals With Acute Kidney Injury, End-Stage Renal Disease Quality Incentive Program, and End-Stage Renal Disease Treatment Choices Model; Correction