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Congressional Seniors Task Force To CMS: Self Reporting Of Nursing Home Staff Levels Illegal

Democratic members of the Congressional Seniors Task Force are demanding that CMS implement a program to obtain nursing home staffing information using payroll data instead of the current process of relying on annual self-reporting by such facilities, which the lawmakers suggest is illegal.

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An emerging court battle over the generic drug Precedex, if successful, could arm branded drug companies with a way to block generic drug competition by preventing label carve outs with Orange Book patent listings, industry attorneys said.

The United Compounding Network, which was launched last month to negotiate with payers and pharmacy benefit managers on reimbursement for compounded drugs, named its key leaders, including a former high-level manager from Express Scripts, a PBM which has drawn the ire of compounders for recently restricting its coverage of such products.

CMS recently instructed durable medical equipment auditors not to worry about the original paperwork for DME when looking at repairs, a move praised by DME suppliers who say the documentation in many cases is impossible to find during a repair since companies that originally supplied the equipment may have gone out of business due to competitive bidding.

The brand drug lobby's top lawyer says pharmaceutical companies correctly submitted physician-pay information that CMS withheld from the Open Payments website and wants the agency to explain why it removed one-third of the records last month after initially blaming industry for improper submissions.

Medicare beneficiary advocates are suing HHS over the backlog at the third level of Medicare appeals and the delay in Administrative Law Judges' decisions a few months after they hauled HHS to court over the first two levels of the appeals process that the advocates allege essentially rubber stamp CMS' claims denials.

HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell has tapped Kevin Counihan, the head of Connecticut's state-based exchange, Access CT, to serve as CMS' newly created Marketplace CEO and director of CCIIO -- a move applauded by key ACA experts.

One-third of CMS' 60 contracts related to healthcare.gov had exceeded their estimated original value as of February, and many had doubled or more in value, according to an HHS Office of Inspector General review of CMS contracting practices with the federal exchange

The global generic drug trade lobby may pull out of the International Conference of Harmonisation unless it gets a seat on ICH's standards-setting steering committee, which issues quality guidelines that affect biosimilar and generic drug companies, the lobby group warns in an Aug. 8 letter to ICH.