March has arrived, and along with it, a whole slew of healthcare policy news to accompany the passage into spring. We’ll give you the highlights here, along with a spotlight on an employee who joined the team last year, just as the COVID pandemic was sending us all to our home offices.
Employee Spotlight: Katrina Fudo
Katrina joined the reimbursement team as an analyst almost a year ago, just as the COVID-19 crisis began to pick up steam here in New York State. We sent some questions over to Katrina about her work at M.S. Hall, and what it was like adjusting to a new work environment so soon after being brought on board.
Hi Katrina! First question is an easy one: who are you and what do you do?
- Katrina Fudo
- I’m a financial analyst for the reimbursement team.
- I handle ICR audits, assist with Third Party Account analysis, Medicare and NYS Medicaid Hospital Cost Report Preparation, Wage Index Preparation and Maximization, and Financial Reporting and Analytic Process improvement.
What’s something you’ve been proud to work on in the last six months?
- Overseeing the Medicaid Audits for eleven of our Clients. As a team we were able to streamline the process to create a more efficient turnaround to close the audits. During these difficult times, hospitals have been hit hard, limiting their capacity during the audit process. Clients depend on us to act on their behalf to ensure complete, accurate reporting.
- With the support of my team, I’ve been able to take on challenging new tasks for the betterment of our firm and the communities we serve.
- Exploring different creative solutions to improve internal efficiencies.
- Assisting with the training and growth of our newest team members
What has been the most interesting thing to learn about in your first year of healthcare consulting?
Coming from outside the healthcare finance industry and seeing the impact that Medicare and NYS Medicaid have on hospitals – they can really make or break the organization financially.
You joined the M.S. Hall team right at the start of the pandemic. What was it like onboarding during such an unusual time?
I was in the office for a week before we went remote due to the pandemic. It was an enriching experience to be trained remotely – communication with my managers and team members became the forefront of my success.
Policy and Project Highlights
February Executive Order from Governor Cuomo
As part of the Executive orders extending the Disaster Emergency related to COVID-19 in New York State, Governor Cuomo granted permission for limited service laboratories, authorized to test for COVID-19 under the enhanced economic activity plan, to accept and examine specimens for COVID-19 rapid testing without a patient-specific order or a prescription/order from an authorized ordering source. The limited service laboratory shall use the Executive Order as the authorized ordering source in any laboratory reports and documentation. See Executive Order No. 202.92 for additional requirements and details.
2021 Special Enrollment Period for COVID-19 Emergency
In response to the ongoing public health crisis, there will be a Special Enrollment Period (SEP) offered from February 15, 2021 to May 15, 2021. The Executive Order signed by President Biden on January 28, 2021 encourages states to provide outreach and enrollment through http://healthcare.gov, as well as other state-run platforms. Applicants can now go directly through the website, instead of contacting the Marketplace call center(s). For more information, please visit https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/2021-special-enrollment-period-response-covid-19-emergency.
New IPA and UniteUs Partnerships
As of February 4, 2021, Healthy Alliance IPA in the Albany region and the Syracuse-based Inclusive Alliance IPA have announced a partnership to continue the care coordination efforts begun through CNYCC. These efforts are powered by Unite Us, a tech platform that digitally connects social service providers to healthcare organizations and their patients in a seamless network of referrals. With the final wind-down of DSRIP, this partnership represents an important roadmap for the kinds of collaboration that defines effective healthcare innovation.
CMS Announces MIPS Exceptions Due to Ongoing COVID-19 Crisis
CMS has announced that, due to the continuing effects of COVID-19 they are applying the automatic extreme and uncontrollable circumstances (EUC) policy to all MIPS eligible clinicians for the 2020 performance year. This automatic application does not apply to group or virtual group participation. However, the deadline for groups, virtual groups, and Alternative Payment Model entities to submit an EUC application has also been extended through March 31, 2021.