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House of Representatives Passes Legislation to Improve Local Coverage Determination Process and Test Medicare Smart Cards

On Wednesday, the House passed several Medicare-related bills, among them H.R. 6690, Fighting Fraud to Protect Care for Seniors Act of 2018, and H.R. 3635, Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act of 2017. Both bills had bipartisan support and were passed by voice vote.

As we have reported, the Local Coverage Determination Clarification Act was introduced last year by Reps. Lynn Jenkins (R-KS) and Ron Kind (D-WI) and would increase transparency and improve accountability in the Medicare local coverage determination (LCD) process. ASCRS and ASOA members advocated for cosponsors and passage of this bill during July’s Alliance of Specialty Medicine Legislative Fly-In. If it becomes law, HR. 3635 will revise the process by which Medicare administrative contractors (MACs) issue and reconsider local coverage determinations (LCDs) that: (1) are new, (2) restrict or substantively revise existing LCDs, or (3) are otherwise specified in regulation.

H.R. 6690, which was introduced by W&M Health Subcommittee Chair Rep. Peter Roskam (R-IL) and Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-OR), would establish a mandatory three-year smart card demo in specific geographic areas to test whether smart card technologies would be helpful to combat fraud, waste, and abuse—and to protect beneficiary identity under the Medicare program.

Both bills, and two others—H.R. 6662, Empowering Seniors’ Enrollment Decision Act, and H.R. 6561, Comprehensive Care for Seniors Act—passed the House. We will keep you updated on their progress in the Senate.