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HBMA Celebrates 10 Years of CMS/Hill Day

In June 2016, Healthcare Billing and Management Association (HBMA) will celebrate ten years of advocacy at Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and in Washington, D.C.

Each year, representatives from HBMA’s Leadership and Government Relations (GR) Committee meet face-to-face with senior CMS management to discuss a variety of operational and policy issues of interest to both CMS and the HBMA membership. This outreach effort was initiated by HBMA because of the membership’s strong desire to have a Medicare program that operates efficiently and smoothly to the benefit of patients, providers, and taxpayers.

This all-day summit is, to our knowledge, the only meeting of its kind that CMS conducts with representatives of the revenue cycle management industry. The fact that it has taken place every year for the past ten years is indicative of the mutual benefits that arise from this frank and open dialogue.

HBMA representatives will meet with various CMS officials largely responsible for the day-to-day operational policies that affect HBMA members and their clients. In most cases, these are the most senior non-political officials at CMS.

Perhaps the greatest value of this ongoing dialogue has been the opportunity for HBMA to impress upon CMS the need to consider not only the policy impact of their decisions, but also the operational impact. On more than one occasion over the past few years, CMS has identified a policy change they were contemplating and as part of their internal review process, sought HBMA’s input on the operational implications of their policy choices. For example, when CMS was working on an initiative to restore provider payments that had been improperly recouped by Medicare, CMS staff solicited input from HBMA on how best to make these repayments so they were minimally disruptive to the providers.

On several occasions, HBMA members were able to identify policy implementation options for CMS that resulted in far smaller administrative burdens for billing companies and their clients than would have occurred had CMS implemented their original plan.

On June 15 and 16, nine members of the HBMA GR Committee (Jackie Willett, Don Rodden, Sherri Dumford, Deborah Good, Lonnie Johnson, Holly Louie, Dave Nicholson, Barry Reiter, and Arthur Roosa) will meet with CMS officials in Baltimore, Maryland and congressional officials in Washington, D.C. HBMA’s representatives will be joined by HBMA Executive Director, Andre Williams, HBMA Director of Government Relations, Bill Finerfrock, and HBMA Government Relations Associate, Matt Reiter.

HBMA representatives will meet with CMS Department or Group Directors from a variety of Divisions including: Provider Enrollment, Performance Based Payment, Program Integrity (Medicare and Medicaid), Provider Billing, Medicare Contractor Oversight, and senior leaders from the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation.

In addition to the CMS meetings in Baltimore, Maryland, HBMA representatives will travel to Washington, D.C.  to meet with key Congressional Committee staff involved in Medicare payment reform, oversight, fraud and abuse and healthcare administrative simplification. During the Washington, D.C. portion of their trip, the group will also meet with other stakeholder groups to discuss how HBMA can better collaborate with groups that share our interests and concerns.

Engaging in this type of dialogue reaps both near-term and long-term benefits for HBMA membership. In the near-term, we are able to bring issues and topics to the attention of the senior leadership of the Medicare program and effectively by-pass the lower levels of the bureaucracy where issues and problems often get lost. In the long-term, it is an ongoing, consistent annual reminder of the expertise, knowledge, and collective experience of the HBMA membership. Our substantial footprint in claims filing (over 30% of all physician claims) and our willingness to be a resource and valued trading partner to ensure that Medicare claims get processed efficiently and accurately.

If you have any questions about this initiative, its purpose or value, please contact Bill Finerfrock, HBMA Director of Government Relations or Andre Williams, HBMA Executive Director.