CMS last week issued a proposed rule that would expand access to Medicare special enrollment periods (SEPs), in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from the District of Columbia, Illinois, and Maryland.
- District of Columbia: HHS last week issued a warning to health care organizations over an "exceptionally aggressive" ransomware group that encrypts and takes data from its victims. According to an analyst note published this week by the Health Sector Cybersecurity Coordination Center, a center in HHS' Office of Information Security, the ransomware group, which is known as Hive, "is an exceptionally aggressive, financially-motivated ransomware group known to maintain sophisticated capabilities who have historically targeted healthcare organizations frequently." John Riggi, American Hospital Association's (AHA) national advisor for cybersecurity and risk, said, "[T]his is a stark reminder that the Russian cyber threat is real and why it is so important to have robust multi-week business continuity plans, downtime procedures and multiple secure, immutable, off-line backups in place — among the many other recommendations in the alert." (AHA News American Hospital Association, 4/20; Cohen, Modern Healthcare, 4/20)
- Illinois: AHA on Monday presented 2021 Awards of Honor to Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, "for his tireless efforts to educate and counsel health care providers and the public during the COVID-19 pandemic." AHA also presented awards to the American Nurses Association and American Medical Association for their leadership and collaboration with AHA throughout the pandemic. (AHA News, 4/21)
- Maryland: CMS last week issued a proposed rule that would expand access to Medicare SEPs, making it easier to enroll in Medicare and eliminate coverage delays. Under the proposed rule, beneficiaries would receive coverage the month after enrollment, which would reduce the uninsured period. In addition, beneficiaries would be allowed to receive Medicare Part B coverage with no late enrollment penalties. "Health care is not just about mending bones or dispensing pills. It's about giving people peace of mind that comes with having coverage when you need it," said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. "That's why we're proposing this rule today to help reduce delays, eliminate gaps, and expand access to care for people with Medicare. The Biden-Harris Administration will continue to strengthen Medicare and ensure our older Americans and individuals living with disabilities or End Stage Renal Disease get the affordable, quality health care they deserve." (Pugh, Bloomberg Law, 4/22; CMS press release, 4/22; Goldman, Modern Healthcare, 4/22)