June 14, 2009

What a Difference a Year Can Make

By
cbuck120ds

By: Chuck Buck, Publisher

 

SEATTLE: (June 16, 2009) ---If you're on the financial side of healthcare, most likely you attended the Healthcare Financial Management Association's Annual National Institute in then-rollicking Las Vegas about this same time last year.

 

The presidential campaign was in full swing and Senator John McCain was being identified as the "presumptive Republican nominee." Wall Street was in a slump and with a continuing decline in housing prices, securities backed by subprime mortgages lost their value, making everyone aware of the credit belt tightening. Little did most of us know what would lie ahead.

 

Healthcare reform had entered the national debate, and former Senators Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton both were proposing variations on the same theme to fix what was being described as a broken system.

 

Also last June, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services published "The Medicare Recovery Audit Contractor Program: An Evaluation of the 3-Year Demonstration." CMS would report that as of "March 27, 2008, the RACs succeeded in correcting more than $1.03 billion in Medicare improper payments," noting that approximately $992.7 million were overpayments and $37.8 million were underpayments repaid to providers.

 

June also marked the embryonic start of www.racmonitor.com, conceived as it were in the Cypress Street Marketplace of Caesar's Palace - last year's ANI venue.

 

Much is Changing

 

This week, the general and healthcare press will be reporting on the address President Obama is scheduled to deliver today before the American Medical Association's (AMA) 158th annual meeting in Chicago, on the need for healthcare reform. Just as recently as last Saturday, the president in his weekly radio and Internet address proposed $313 billion in cuts and new savings over the next decade, saying some of those funds would come from increases in efficiency, reductions in excessive hospital payments and drug cost savings from individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.

 

So as delegates walk into the Washington State Convention Center for the start of today's ANI, change will be very much in the forefront of their minds. Topics ranging from value-based purchasing - coincidentally reported last June by CMS as showing significant progress after three years as a demonstration - to the RACs, pressures on margins, limited access to capital and stringent compliance issues will be discussed, reviewed and analyzed.

 

RAC with Us

 

And for www.racmonitor.com? Today we are pleased to report a readership in excess of 12,000 and an editorial board composed of leading experts in the field of revenue cycle management and compliance. Twice per month our e-newsletter brings readers news and information about the RACs offering insightful articles and practical hands-on advice. Our RAC Alerts keep readers updated on the latest news from CMS - we were the first to break word on the settlement reached between CMS and two unsuccessful bidders for the RACs' permanent program.

 

During the next several days, Dennis Jones of CBIZ Consulting Services LLC will be reporting on RAC-related issues from the ANI. We're pleased that he will be joining us as he did for the RAC Summit in Washington back in April.

 

Look for his dispatches at www.racmonitor.com where we continue to strive to be the single most important source of RAC news and information.

 

Thank you.

Chuck Buck

Chuck Buck is the publisher of RACmonitor and is the executive producer and program host of Monitor Mondays.

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