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The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) today announced a new multi-payer payment and care delivery model to support better care coordination for cancer care as part of the Department’s ongoing efforts to improve the quality of care patients receive and spend health care dollars more wisely, contributing to healthier communities. The initiative will include 24-hour access to practitioners for beneficiaries undergoing treatment and an emphasis on coordinated, person-centered care, aimed at rewarding value of care, rather than volume.

Cancer is one of the most common and devastating diseases in the United States: more than 1.6 million people are diagnosed with cancer each year in this country. According to the National Institutes of Health, cancer cost the United States an estimated $263.8 billion in medical costs and lost productivity in 2010. A majority of those diagnosed are over 65 years old and Medicare beneficiaries.  

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The National Taxpayer Advocate has proposed changes to the Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act (FATCA) reporting requirements in an effort to ease duplication for taxpayers – particularly those who also file the Report of Foreign Bank and Financial Accounts (FBAR).

The FATCA was signed into law on March 18, 2010. This legislation required individuals to report their interest in specified foreign financial assets on Form 8938, beginning with tax year 2011. As accounting firms and practitioners familiarized themselves with the new reporting requirements, questions arose regarding the similarities between the new Form 8938 and the existing FBAR. The FBAR (now referred to as FinCEN Report 114; formerly TD F 90-22.1) had been around for 40 years, originally introduced in 1970 as part of the Bank Secrecy Act. 

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Tax return and other tax-related identity theft has become an increasing problem for the Internal Revenue Service and taxpayers.

Some tax thieves will improperly obtain a taxpayer’s name and social security number and use this information to fraudulently file a false income tax return, claiming refunds and credits. The tax thief normally files early in the tax-filing season to prevent the IRS from matching the items listed on the false tax return to the real taxpayer’s Forms W-2 or 1099. The taxpayer will learn of the existence of a problem after the legitimate tax return is filed. If electronic filing is attempted, the IRS will reject the filing due to the previously filed return. If the taxpayer files a paper return, IRS will issue a notice disclosing the existence of a prior filed return. 

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As announced in a prior Marcum Tax Flash, the Massachusetts Department of Revenue permitted a 60-day tax amnesty program which began on March 16, 2015 and runs through May 15, 2015. This Flash is a reminder for those who may be eligible to review files and take action before the upcoming deadline. The program allows eligible taxpayers to resolve existing liabilities by paying only the tax and interest owed. The Department will waive all penalties.

Taxpayers eligible to participate include those with unpaid tax liabilities stated on a Massachusetts Notice of Assessment issued on or before January 1, 2015. Eligible tax types include corporate income, excise tax, financial institutions tax; insurance tax; public utilities tax; estate tax; fiduciary income tax; and individual use tax on motor vehicles. 

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Taxpayers who have timely filed income tax returns and paid any taxes owed by the required due dates may still receive a notice from a federal or state taxing authority regarding unpaid taxes due.

Many government agencies have automated components for tax return or payment processing. While a taxpayer is not legally required to remit taxes due until the filing deadline, if a return is filed at a date earlier then the payment date, the processing system may automatically generate a notice indicating taxes due. 

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These articles from a recent addition of Medical Economics make it clear that the physician practice of 2015 will continue to change, even from that of 2014. As patients continue to move to high deductible plans physicians will face more fee pressure than has existed during their careers. Gaining full understanding of the implications of these changes will be one of the keys to who are winners and who are losers as the landscape continues to change. The financial challenges outlined also need to be met by good management techniques. Just "practicing good medicine" will no longer win the day. In today's environment accepting every insurance coverage in your area, and simply signing every standard insurance company form, will not increase profitability and may, in fact, put the practice in jeopardy of financial stability. Understanding the cost to provide services, including insurance rejections and preapproval time and effort should lead to optimizing the profitability of the practice as well as reducing emotional stress.

Rising out-of-pocket costs are changing the way patients use medical services, so physicians must evolve their billing and communication practices to keep up  

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It is hard to believe that in these times of financial recovery that the odds of a business being audited by the Internal Revenue Service have dropped consistently in the last few years. This may not be so hard to believe in light of the fact that the number of individuals employed by the IRS has fallen by 8% and funding has been cut by nearly 10%. However, during this same time period, the number of annual returns being filed has increased 4%. The increased volume of returns being filed, coupled with the decreases in IRS employment and funding are contributing factors to the diminishing odds of an IRS audit selection. In 2014 taxpayers saw these odds drop to the lowest they have been in eleven years. 

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The California State Assembly has introduced a bill to establish a Research and Development (R&D) Small Business Grant Program that would allow qualified small businesses to obtain grant payments for unused tax credits. The bill would provide small businesses with the ability to obtain cash grants to maximize the utilization of the research and development credits regardless of tax liability.

The tax provisions will be applicable for taxable years beginning on or after January 1, 2016, and before January 1, 2025. The bill also provides that as of January 1, 2016, qualified taxpayers may apply for one-time cash grants for a percentage of the excess credit amount from a taxable year beginning on or after January 1, 2015.  

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Recently, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) added star ratings to the Dialysis Facility Compare (DFC) website. These ratings summarize performance data, making it easier for consumers to use the information on the website. These ratings also spotlight excellence in health care quality. In addition to posting the star ratings, CMS updated data on individual DFC quality measures to reflect the most recent data for the existing measures.

“Star ratings are simple to understand and are an excellent resource for patients, their families, and caregivers to use when talking to doctors about health care choices,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “CMS has taken another step in its continuous commitment to improve quality measures and transparency.”  

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IRC §501(r) was added by the ACA and impacts all 501(c)(3) hospitals. Among other things it requires specific disclosures regarding patient collections.

Financial Assistance Policy (“FAP”)

 

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