American Medical Association Pushes ‘Recovery Plan’ for Physicians

American Medical Association Pushes ‘Recovery Plan’ for Physicians

The American Medical Association (AMA) has rolled out a comprehensive plan, named the “AMA Recovery Plan for America’s Physicians,” aiming to address the challenges confronting physicians, particularly exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. This initiative comes in response to the critical issue of provider burnout, which has reached crisis levels. The plan’s key elements include:

  1. Supporting Telehealth Services: Recognizing the importance of telehealth, especially highlighted during the pandemic, the plan advocates for continued support and insurance coverage for telehealth services. This expansion acknowledges its benefits in terms of accessibility, convenience, and time-saving for both providers and patients.
  2. Reforming Medicare Payment for Physician Services: The plan underscores the longstanding issue of inadequate Medicare reimbursement for provider services. It calls for reforms to ensure stable and adequate payment, eliminating the annual uncertainties that impede physician practices’ financial stability.
  3. Addressing “Scope Creep”: The plan aims to curtail the expansion of non-physicians’ scope of practice. For example, nurse practitioners, and maintaining the integrity and quality of healthcare delivery.
  4. Streamlining Prior Authorization Processes: Recognizing the administrative burden placed on provider practices by prior authorization requirements, the plan advocates for reforms to reduce this burden and avoid delays in patient care.
  5. Tackling Physician Burnout and Mental Health Stigma: The plan acknowledges the pressing need to address physician burnout and reduce the stigma surrounding mental health issues in the medical profession. It emphasizes the importance of supporting provider’s well-being to ensure the sustainability of the healthcare workforce.

Overall, the AMA Recovery Plan aims to mitigate the challenges faced by physicians. It also safeguards the future of healthcare delivery in the United States. Through these strategic interventions, the AMA seeks to alleviate physician burnout, ensure fair reimbursement, and promote a supportive environment for healthcare professionals.

Sunscreen Guide from the American Academy of Dermatology

Sunscreen Guide from the American Academy of Dermatology

The American Academy of Dermatology has crafted a comprehensive guide to selecting and applying sunscreen effectively. With the onset of summer marked by Memorial Day and the resurgence of outdoor activities post-COVID-19 restrictions, it’s crucial to prioritize sunscreen application. Don’t forget to slather on that sunscreen as you indulge in your favorite outdoor pursuits—it’s summertime at last! Sunscreen plays a vital role in shielding your skin from skin cancer and premature aging, but its efficacy hinges on correct application. Here are some expert tips from dermatologists:

  • Opt for sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher, water resistance, and broad-spectrum coverage to shield against both UVA and UVB rays.
  • Apply before stepping outdoors to allow around 15 minutes for absorption and protection. Applying it after sun exposure leaves your skin vulnerable to burns.
  • Ensure you use enough sunscreen, approximately 1 ounce to cover your entire body adequately—massage it thoroughly into your skin.
  • Cover all exposed skin areas, including your neck, face, ears, tops of feet, and legs. For challenging-to-reach spots like your back, enlist assistance or opt for spray sunscreen. Protect your lips with an SPF-containing lip balm.
  • Reapply sunscreen every two hours or immediately after swimming or sweating to maintain protection. Sunburn often occurs due to insufficient usage, failure to reapply, or using expired products.

Remember, UV rays penetrate your skin even on overcast days and during winter, so make sunscreen a year-round habit. Whether you’re vacationing or enjoying a stroll in your neighborhood, prioritize sun protection. For more tips on preventing skin cancer, consult a board-certified dermatologist.

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs): A Growing Force in American Healthcare

Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs): A Growing Force in American Healthcare

Recent research from Oliver Wyman reveals a significant milestone in American healthcare:

Nearly 10 percent of patients in the U.S. are now receiving care through Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). This finding underscores the rapid emergence of ACOs, once obscure just a couple of years ago, as substantial players in the healthcare landscape, with the potential to challenge traditional fee-for-service models.

According to Niyum Gandhi, co-author of the study, the perception of ACOs as minor players in healthcare is outdated.

The study, which encompassed various healthcare delivery entities that align with the core principles of ACOs, demonstrates their growing influence. ACOs, characterized by taking responsibility for the overall health needs of a specific population and receiving incentives based on cost savings and quality, are reshaping healthcare delivery.

The proliferation of ACOs is not limited to Medicare programs; commercial ACOs are also on the rise. With Medicare currently hosting 150 ACOs, expected to double in number with the announcement of the next round of participants in the Shared Savings Program, the impact is set to expand further. Notably, many organizations participating in Medicare ACOs eventually extend this model to their non-Medicare patient populations.

Currently, between 25 to 31 million Americans receive care through ACOs, spanning various programs and initiatives. This includes Medicare ACO programs, non-Medicare patients in Medicare-oriented ACOs, and those in non-Medicare ACOs.

The study’s analysis reveals a striking statistic:

45 percent of Americans reside in areas served by at least one ACO, with 19 states boasting a majority of their population covered by ACOs. However, critics contend that many current ACOs fall short of realizing the full potential of the model. Rick Weil, another co-author of the study, acknowledges this disparity but highlights the exceptional performance of leading ACOs. These top-tier ACOs are demonstrating remarkable outcomes, such as achieving zero percent premium increases, challenging longstanding beliefs within the healthcare industry.

As ACOs continue to refine their models and improve performance, they have the capacity to revolutionize the dynamics of American healthcare for the better. This shift promises increased efficiency, better outcomes, and ultimately, improved healthcare experiences for patients nationwide.


Embracing Adaptability: Your Attitude Towards Change is Critical

Embracing Adaptability: Your Attitude Towards Change is Critical

Embracing change is often challenging, yet it is crucial for personal growth, professional development, and overall self-improvement. Cultivating a positive perspective when confronted with challenges or changes can aid in adapting to unfamiliar situations, pushing us beyond our comfort zones. This article delves into the importance of adaptability, offering insightful examples of scenarios that necessitate flexibility, along with exercises aimed at enhancing one’s acceptance of change.

Self-Reflection: Assessing Your Attitude towards Change

Consider the following statements and select either A or B:

A) I typically perceive change negatively.

B) I view change as an opportunity for growth.


A) I resist change.

B) I recognize the potential benefits of certain changes.


A) I feel uneasy when plans unexpectedly shift.

B) I find changes in plans invigorating.


A) I struggle with altering my routines.

B) I adapt to routine changes with ease.


A) I feel threatened by challenges.

B) I welcome challenges as opportunities for growth.


A) I often cling to a single solution when problem-solving.

B) I remain open to new information and alternative solutions


If you resonate more with the A statements, you might find change uncomfortable. Conversely, if you align with the B statements, you likely possess a greater capacity to adapt to evolving circumstances. Assessing your beliefs and attitudes serves as a crucial initial step toward fostering adaptability. Fixed thinking may hinder one’s ability to embrace change, whereas cultivating a mindset that embraces discomfort amid uncertainty is conducive to personal growth.

Navigating Uncertainty: Embracing Change as an Opportunity

Undoubtedly, change is accompanied by uncertainty and risk. Whether contemplating a career move or facing unexpected shifts in personal circumstances, uncertainty is inevitable. However, embracing change presents opportunities for growth and learning. For instance, deciding whether to accept a new job entails inherent risks. While success isn’t guaranteed, every experience, whether positive or negative, contributes to personal development. Adapting to change requires experimentation and resilience, gradually diminishing the discomfort associated with uncertainty.

The Pitfalls of Rigidity: A Barrier to Innovation

Rigidity, the antithesis of adaptability, impedes progress and stifles innovation. Consider an executive who habitually dismisses novel ideas, perpetuating stagnant practices and inhibiting innovation within the organization. Such inflexibility fosters complacency and obstructs growth. Conversely, adaptable leaders solicit input from team members, fostering a culture of innovation and embracing change as a catalyst for progress.

The Essence of Adaptability: Navigating Change with Resilience

Adaptable individuals possess a blend of curiosity, problem-solving skills, and persistence, enabling them to thrive in dynamic environments. In today’s rapidly evolving industries, adaptability is a defining characteristic of effective leadership. Leaders who embrace change drive innovation and remain attuned to shifting trends, propelling their organizations forward.

Cultivating Adaptability: A Path to Personal and Professional Growth

Incorporating adaptability into one’s mindset requires a proactive approach. Reflect on recent changes and consider the opportunities they present. Embrace uncertainty with an open mind, recognizing that change serves as a catalyst for growth. By adopting an adaptable mindset, individuals can navigate uncertainty with resilience and seize opportunities for personal and professional development.

Ultimately, embracing change entails shifting our perspective and confronting uncertainty with courage. By cultivating adaptability, we not only navigate life’s challenges with resilience but also foster continuous growth amidst uncertainty.

Accounting’s Role in a Healthcare Practice’s Profits

Accounting’s Role in a Healthcare Practice’s Profits

In the intricate ecosystem of healthcare, the significance of accounting and bookkeeping might seem distant from direct patient care, yet it’s deeply intertwined with the vitality of medical practice. While some practitioners gravitate towards the perceived safety of hospital employment, my experience suggests that this choice can often be a detrimental misstep. Surprisingly, at the core of this misjudgment lies the realm of accounting.

Private practice, despite its medical nature, operates fundamentally as a business entity. Success hinges not only on clinical proficiency but also on astute operations management, accurate financial record-keeping, and strategic decision-making. Neglecting these aspects can steer a practice towards the less favorable option of hospital employment. Therefore, it becomes evident that the seemingly mundane tasks of bookkeeping play a pivotal role in shaping the trajectory of healthcare practices, ultimately influencing the quality of patient care and the sustainability of the medical profession.

Learn More About How Welter Healthcare Partners Can Help!


About Todd Welter • MS, CPC Founder and President of Welter Healthcare Partners

Mr. Welter has over 25 years of healthcare industry experience assisting physicians and other providers, hospitals and other facilities with the business side of medicine. Through strategic planning and analysis, Mr. Welter’s main focus is to strategically increase revenues and profitability in this radically changing health care environment. 
Mr. Welter has a Masters Degree in Organizational Leadership from Regis University in Denver where he has had an appointment as affiliate faculty in the School for Professional Studies for over ten years. In addition, Mr. Welter holds a faculty appointment at the University of Denver’s University College. In the Health Care Leadership program he teaches Macro Economics in Health Care and Innovative Strategies and Change in Health Care to graduate students. 

Cyberattack on US Healthcare Tech Giant Sparks Billing Delays and Security Concerns

Cyberattack on US Healthcare Tech Giant Sparks Billing Delays and Security Concerns

Change Healthcare, a leading U.S. health technology company, is making strides in recovering from a ransomware attack it experienced in February. The attack, attributed to the ALPHV ransomware group, disrupted crucial operations, causing billing delays and raising security concerns across the healthcare sector.

After paying a reported $22 million ransom, Change Healthcare is gradually restoring its services. Electronic prescription systems, including Rx Connect, Rx Edit, and Rx Assist, are now operational, with full functionality in electronic prescribing, claim submission, and payment transmission.

The attack’s impact extended beyond Change Healthcare, affecting hospitals, doctors, and pharmacies, leading to cash flow issues. To mitigate these challenges, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) eased Medicare rules, allowing affected stakeholders to claim advance funding.

UnitedHealth Group introduced a temporary iEDI claim submission system to assist clients during the service disruption. Meanwhile, ALPHV, the ransomware group responsible for the attack, appears to be winding down its operations amid suspicions of an exit scam, though law enforcement agencies deny involvement.

The incident underscores the critical need for robust cybersecurity measures in the healthcare sector to safeguard patient data and ensure the uninterrupted delivery of care. As Change Healthcare and the industry recover from the attack, proactive security measures will be essential to mitigate future threats and uphold the integrity of healthcare systems.

The severity of the situation is underscored by reports from the American Hospital Association (AHA), indicating that hospitals are experiencing challenges in various facets of their operations. Processing claims, billing patients, and verifying insurance coverage have been hampered, potentially jeopardizing patient care and the financial stability of healthcare facilities.

The ripple effects of this cyberattack extend beyond immediate inconveniences. Health systems are grappling with an array of issues, including difficulties in verifying patient eligibility, communicating pharmacy prescriptions, and maintaining normal cash flow to sustain operations. The incident highlights the vulnerability of the healthcare sector to ransomware attacks, which have been on the rise in recent years, posing a significant threat to patient privacy and safety.

As the investigation unfolds, concerns persist about the potential long-term repercussions of the attack. While efforts are underway to contain the breach, the incident serves as a stark reminder of the critical importance of cybersecurity in healthcare. Organizations like Welter Healthcare Partners emphasize the need for robust security measures and regular staff training to mitigate the risk of cyber threats such as phishing attacks. As the healthcare industry continues to digitize and rely on technology for essential services, safeguarding patient data and ensuring the integrity of healthcare systems remain paramount priorities.

High-Touch & High-Tech: Personal Support & Cutting-Edge Technology

High-Touch & High-Tech: Personal Support & Cutting-Edge Technology

The demand for efficiency, precision, and a personal touch is high in the healthcare field. Welter Healthcare Partners recognizes the significance of blending personal support with technological innovation in today’s business of healthcare landscape. This philosophy underscores our commitment to prioritizing “High Touch & High Technology” in all facets of our services, particularly in our approach to credentialing and coding.

Credentialing is a complex process ensuring healthcare professionals meet qualifications and standards essential for delivering safe and high-quality care. This goes beyond ‘checking the boxes’. It serves as a cornerstone for patient safety and excellent service. WHP leverages our proficiency, streamlined processes, and adherence to regulatory standards to facilitate swift and cost-effective credentialing.

However, what truly distinguishes us is our dedication to fostering genuine human connections. In an age dominated by automated systems and algorithms, we recognize the irreplaceable power of human interaction. Each client account at Welter Health Partners is entrusted to a seasoned and knowledgeable team member. This ensures a personalized touchpoint for addressing concerns and providing expert guidance.

This personalized approach is more than just convenience; it revolutionizes the experience for our clients. With a real person readily available to address queries and resolve issues, we ensure greater accuracy in our work. This also mitigates billing denials! Our clients find reassurance in the knowledge that their needs are promptly attended to, leading to smoother operations and superior outcomes. For over three decades, Welter Health Partners has empowered physician practices, healthcare providers, and organizations across specialties to navigate the intricate landscape of the business of healthcare with success. Our hands-on methodology, coupled with our extensive expertise and technology, enables clients to focus on their core mission: delivering exceptional patient care.

Navigating the Impact of the CMS Rule on Revenue Cycle Management

Navigating the Impact of the CMS Rule on Revenue Cycle Management

In the world of revenue cycle management, the recent finalization of the CMS rule has sparked intense scrutiny. At Welter Healthcare Partners, we’re diving into its intricacies to understand how it affects individuals, organizations, and most importantly, our valued clients.

Assessing the Impact CMS Rule on Revenue Cycle Management

How Will This Affect Us?

With the CMS rule now in effect, it’s crucial to examine how it will reshape our daily billing operations, influence cash flow, and impact our budget.

A Positive Shift for Providers, Patients, and Billing Companies via the CMS Rule on Revenue Cycle Management:

Despite its focus solely on CMS payers and exclusion of commercial health plans, the new legislation represents a significant step forward. While it may not address all prior authorization challenges, it introduces provisions that promise benefits for providers, patients, and third-party billing companies alike.

Key Changes in Prior Authorization Process:

CMS has established clear timelines for payer decision-making on prior authorizations:

  • Urgent requests: Must be addressed within 72 hours
  • Standard requests: Decision required within 7 calendar days

Additionally, payers must now provide specific denial reasons, offering transparency and accountability in the prior authorization process. This structured communication is poised to enhance efficiency and predictability for all stakeholders.


Adhering to the new rules, especially regarding decision-making timelines for prior authorizations, is crucial. Third-party billing companies must ensure compliance to avoid penalties, maintain positive relationships with healthcare stakeholders, and assure clients of a seamless healthcare ecosystem interaction.

WHP is Ready for the Challenge!

While the upcoming changes necessitate investments in technology upgrades and unwavering commitment to compliance, the benefits are substantial. Quicker turnaround times for prior authorizations, increased transparency, and improved data exchange are poised to create a more efficient revenue cycle for our clients.

At Welter Healthcare Partners, we embrace these changes, ensuring seamless transitions for our clients. As we navigate evolving regulations and technology standards, our commitment to adaptability remains unwavering. Rest assured, we stand vigilant, ready to implement any necessary adjustments and uphold industry best practices, ensuring a wonderful experience for our clients in the ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

Why is Risk Adjustment Coding in Healthcare Important?

Why is Risk Adjustment Coding in Healthcare Important?

If you’ve ever worked with healthcare costs and insurance, you’re likely familiar with the term “risk adjustment coding.” But what does it entail, and why is it a critical component for both healthcare organizations and insurance companies? In essence, this serves as a mechanism to ensure accurate accounting for the health status of patients and to adjust payments accordingly.

Risk Score for Patients

The intricate process of risk adjustment coding involves healthcare providers using diagnostic codes to denote various aspects of a patient’s health, including age, sex, and any pre-existing conditions. These codes collectively formulate a “risk score” for each patient, estimating the probable cost of providing care over the year. Insurance companies then use these risk scores to modify payments to providers, ensuring that those treating sicker patients are compensated adequately compared to those handling healthier individuals.

Risk Adjustment Coding System

At its core, risk adjustment coding acknowledges that some patients naturally incur higher treatment costs. This could be due to pre-existing conditions or other health factors. This system helps prevent unfair penalization of patients by insurance companies and ensures that healthcare providers receive appropriate reimbursement for the care they deliver.

Risk Adjustment is a Safeguard

Risk adjustment coding safeguards patients from potential denial of coverage or exorbitant premiums based on pre-existing conditions. This ensures that individuals, irrespective of their health status, have access to the necessary care. Simultaneously, risk adjustment coding is pivotal for healthcare providers, particularly those catering to higher-risk patients. Without accurate coding, providers may face unfair penalties from insurance companies, jeopardizing their ability to maintain their practice and deliver high-quality care.

Crucial to Patient Care

Risk adjustment coding is an important component of the healthcare system. It guarantees that patients receive the care they require and that healthcare providers are fairly reimbursed for their services. Understanding the intricacies of risk adjustment coding sheds light on its importance in maintaining a balanced and just healthcare ecosystem.

Medicare Reforms Prior Authorization to Empower Physicians & Enhance Patient Care

Medicare Reforms Prior Authorization to Empower Physicians & Enhance Patient Care

In a groundbreaking move, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recently implemented a final rule, led by Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, that promises to revolutionize the prior authorization process. These reforms, aimed at cutting patient care delays and streamlining the process for physicians, are anticipated to result in substantial savings of $15 billion over the next decade. At Welter Healthcare Partners, we applaud these significant strides towards improving the healthcare landscape and recognize the positive impact they will have on both patients and healthcare providers.

Prior Authorization Reforms:

The final rule addresses prior authorization for medical services across various government-regulated health plans, including Medicare Advantage, State Medicaid and CHIP fee-for-service programs, Medicaid managed care plans, CHIP managed care entities, and qualified health plan issuers on federally facilitated exchanges. This comprehensive approach reflects a commitment to tackling challenges across different sectors of the healthcare system.

Technological and Operational Enhancements:

One of the key highlights of the reforms is the incorporation of an electronic prior authorization process embedded within physicians’ electronic health records. This transformative change is set to bring much-needed automation and efficiency to a previously time-consuming and manual workflow. We appreciate CMS for recognizing the importance of embracing technology to streamline processes and enhance the overall quality of patient care.


Enhanced Transparency and Patient Empowerment:

The administration’s action not only focuses on efficiency but also aims to enhance transparency around prior authorization. By requiring specific denial reasons, public reporting of program metrics, and making prior authorization information available to patients, the reforms empower individuals to make informed decisions about their healthcare. This marks a crucial step towards fostering a more patient-centric healthcare system.


Shortened Processing Time Frames:

CMS’s mandate for shortened processing time frames is a noteworthy aspect of the reforms. Starting in 2026, affected payers will be required to send prior authorization decisions within 72 hours for urgent requests and within a week for nonurgent requests. This commitment to faster response times aligns with the urgency of providing timely and essential care to patients.

Physician Advocacy and Potential Legislative Impact:

The collaboration between CMS and physician organizations, including the American Medical Association (AMA), showcases the power of advocacy in influencing positive change. The $15 billion estimated savings, coupled with the potential impact on the Improving Seniors’ Timely Access to Care Act, reinforces the significance of these reforms in shaping the future of healthcare legislation.

Addressing Concerns and Building a Better Future:

While payers argue that prior authorization is necessary for cost and quality control, physicians often highlight the adverse impact on patient care. The AMA’s survey findings underscore the urgent need for reform, with one-third of physicians reporting serious adverse events resulting from prior authorization protocols. The final rule is a crucial step towards addressing these concerns and creating a more efficient and patient-friendly healthcare environment.

At Welter Healthcare Partners, we recognize the monumental significance of CMS’s $15 billion victory for physicians in the realm of prior authorization. These reforms not only promise substantial financial savings but also signify a commitment to improving patient care, streamlining processes, and fostering transparency. As stakeholders in the healthcare industry, we look forward to witnessing the positive impact of these changes on both healthcare providers and the individuals they serve.

Read the original article here.

Groundbreaking Bill Aimed At Streamlining Healthcare Credentialing in California

Groundbreaking Bill Aimed At Streamlining Healthcare Credentialing in California

California Assemblyman Jim Wood has championed a groundbreaking bill, AB-815, aimed at simplifying the often cumbersome process of credentialing practitioners seeking to join healthcare plans. The bill proposes the establishment of a state board tasked with certifying private and public entities as delegated credentialing entities for health plans. Instead of health plans conducting their own credentialing, they would utilize the information provided by these certified entities.

The proposed state board is set to be a collaborative effort, comprising representatives from health plans, state health departments, physicians, and other healthcare providers. The goal is to have the board operational by July 1, 2024, with the application process for entities seeking certification expected to be in place by July 1, 2025. This move is poised to streamline the credentialing process, reducing redundancies and ensuring a more efficient and standardized approach.

The bill has already cleared the California Assembly and is now on its way to the senate for a vote, marking a significant step toward reforming the healthcare credentialing landscape in the state.

However, as the healthcare industry in various states grapples with evolving credentialing requirements, a broader perspective emerges. The landscape is rife with complex and dynamic regulations, often payer-focused, requiring meticulous attention from Credentialing Verification Organizations (CVOs). The insights shared by industry experts shed light on the nuanced challenges and opportunities within this realm.

One notable observation is the growing trend inspired by Arkansas, where states like California and West Virginia are considering or actively working towards creating or contracting with statewide CVOs. Arkansas has already set up a state-run CVO, and California is slated to accept applications in 2024 for a CVO to contract with. West Virginia has established provisions for contracting with a CVO but has not executed the plan as of yet.

This shift towards centralized credentialing entities indicates a recognition of the need for standardized, efficient processes that can navigate the intricacies of varying state requirements. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, it becomes increasingly crucial for payers to stay ahead of these changes, ensuring compliance with state-specific mandates and optimizing the credentialing workflow.

California’s AB-815 signals a promising leap towards a more streamlined and efficient healthcare credentialing process. While challenges persist, the industry’s response, as seen in the pursuit of statewide CVOs, reflects a commitment to adaptability and improved operational efficiency. As the bill progresses through the legislative journey, it stands as a beacon of progress in the ongoing efforts to enhance the healthcare system’s effectiveness in California and potentially beyond.

Five Emerging Trends in Value-Based Care

Five Emerging Trends in Value-Based Care

The practice of value-based care has gained significant momentum, driven in part by the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the limitations of fee-for-service reimbursement. Healthcare providers now face increasing pressure to stay up-to-date with emerging trends in the field. In this article, we’ll explore five key trends in value-based care.


1) Embracing Value-Based Care:

A heavy reliance on fee-for-service reimbursement can leave healthcare providers vulnerable to volatility and changes in demand. Those who had invested in value-based care were better equipped to weather the storm, as they had a consistent source of revenue even during periods of low utilization. The rapid changes in healthcare delivery driven by the pandemic underscore the importance of embracing value-based care. Providers have the opportunity to realize a rapid return on their investment in value-based care, thanks to stable revenue streams and new regulatory flexibilities. Innovative care delivery models further enhance this potential.


2) Continued Innovation and Disruption:

Value-based care has long been a hotbed for innovation, and we are seeing a surge in innovation and disruption in both payment and care delivery models. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) had prioritized value-based care during the Trump administration, and the Biden administration’s health care goals are likely to further emphasize cost savings, driving a greater push towards value-based care. Commercial payers are also seeking innovative payment and care models, especially in light of the disparities highlighted by the pandemic.


3) Leveraging COVID-19 Infrastructure:

The COVID-19 pandemic prompted transformative changes to the healthcare system. These changes created ongoing opportunities to manage patient care and provide high-quality services in lower-cost settings. Telemedicine and digital health modalities, initially introduced as temporary measures, have become permanent fixtures in healthcare. Providers who adopted digital health solutions during the pandemic can now capitalize on this investment to manage patient care efficiently and see returns on services that were traditionally unreimbursable under fee-for-service arrangements. Programs like the Hospital Without Walls and Acute Hospital Care at Home have also opened doors for lower-cost services that benefit providers.


4) New Opportunities for Provider Alignment:

Recent changes in federal law have aimed to lower barriers to value-based care. CMS and the Office of Inspector General (OIG) have introduced new flexibilities under the Stark law and Anti-kickback Statute for value-based arrangements, allowing providers to enter into arrangements that were previously restricted. These exceptions and safe harbors provide new opportunities for providers. Careful crafting is required to take advantage of these allowances. They enable providers to align and incentivize activities that promote value-based goals. Additionally, information blocking rules ensure patients and providers can access health information, further reducing structural barriers to value-based care.


5) Focus on Social Determinants of Health:

In the value-based care space, especially in Medicaid programs, there is a growing emphasis on addressing social determinants of health. Providers and payers recognize the significant role that non-medical factors play in patient health. Providers and payers can achieve notable improvements in patient health and outcomes by addressing issues such as transportation, food, housing, and language services. Simultaneously, they can maintain relatively low medical costs. The focus on social determinants of health is an emerging trend in value-based care. This trend is expected to grow as stakeholders seek creative ways to manage patient arrangements.


Healthcare providers and payers are emerging from the upheaval caused by the pandemic and the revolutionary changes in healthcare. A renewed interest in value-based care is expected! Opportunities abound to fully investing in patients.


Post adapted from original article published on 
Photo from NCI
NEW 2024 ICD-10-CM Codes Deliver Over 400 Significant Editorial Changes

NEW 2024 ICD-10-CM Codes Deliver Over 400 Significant Editorial Changes

The Healthcare Code Landscape Is About To Witness A Significant Transformation

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) have recently unveiled the ICD-10-CM 2024 codes. These updates, slated for use by all provider types, encompass both Inpatient and Outpatient settings. The release includes crucial components such as the 2024 Addendum, Code Descriptions in Tabular Order, and Code Tables, Tabular, and Index. Alongside these, the FY 2024 Conversion Table and Present on Admission (POA) Exempt Code List (to be posted soon) complete the comprehensive package of changes.

The 2024 ICD-10-CM changes take effect from October 1st, 2023, to September 30th, 2024. Providing the medical community with a significant overhaul of 

395 New Codes, 25 Deletions, and 13 revisions across 17 of the 21 Chapters! 

Notably, Capturing the Context. Great Job Docs! Your excellent documentation of Where and/or How injuries happened has given way to a major boom in Chapter 20: External causes of morbidity! A whopping 123 new codes out of the 395 overall additions to be exact! These additions range from “Foreign bodies entering through a natural orifice” like batteries, buttons and plastic toys to sharp glass, swords and daggers”! 

Some Other Major Changes Include: 

  • Chapter 3, Neoplasms, a notable addition to includes 13 new codes for desmoid tumors, a rare type of tumor that presents unique challenges in terms of classification and treatment. Chapter 3 introduces 8 new codes related to Sickle-cell conditions with dactylitis. This is a condition marked by severe inflammation of fingers and toes, commonly observed in infants with sickle cell anemia.
  • Chapter 6, the Nervous System, focusing on diseases of the nervous system, welcomes 24 new codes, including those for Lafora Body Disease and chronic migraine with aura. These additions reflect a growing understanding of neurological conditions and their complexities.
  • Chapter 21, Factors Influencing Health Status and Contact with Health Services, 30 New Codes include a variety of conditions such as carrier status, history codes, and codes related to Social Determinants of Health (SDOH), like New Subcategory Z62 which addresses “Problems Related to Upbringing”; and New Subcategory Z91.A9 “Caregiver’s Noncompliance with Patient’s Medical Treatment and Regimen”. 

The changes aren’t limited to specific areas; they permeate through various chapters, addressing an array of conditions and diseases

Learn more about the author Delana Williams, CPC, CPCI, CEDC 

ICD-10 Questions?

If you have any questions or need clarification about the 400 changes to ICD-10 CM for 2024 please contact us. We are here to help!

Medical Coding & Billing newsletter 

Keep informed about the ever changing and complex landscape of medical billing and coding, ICD-10 CM and revenue cycle optimization  related subjects. Sign up for our “Coding & Billing” newsletter for comprehensive answers, updates, clarification and advice.

Welter Healthcare Partners stands ready to navigate these modifications effectively and provide the utmost support in adapting to the evolving ICD-10-CM landscape. Our team is well-equipped to ensure the accurate coding and compliance essential for seamless healthcare billing operations in this changing environment. 


Information collected and condensed by 

Delana Williams, CPC, CPCI, CEDC 

Coding and Compliance Manager at Welter Healthcare Partners.


Want to learn more? WHP will be hosting TWO ICD-10-CM UPDATE WEBINARS. Stay tuned for more info!


Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Strategies to Improve Specialty Healthcare in the United States

Strategies to Improve Specialty Healthcare in the United States

Specialty Healthcare in the US

Many doctor visits involve seeing a specialist at some point in the process. The specialty healthcare system in the United States needs to be improved in order to help patients and doctors alike. Specialists are important in American healthcare. 

Almost 9 out of 10 doctors specialize in different areas. They handle a big part of medical visits, cost a lot in Medicare and private insurance, and their role in outpatient visits and overall healthcare costs is increasing. To improve healthcare in the U.S., we need to make specialty care better. We can do this by breaking it down and making the various services offered by specialists work well together.


Core Activities of Specialists

Specialists are problem-focused experts responsible for the care of individuals with specific health conditions. They expand their expertise through a range of core activities, including: 

  • Consultations (providing advice to fellow clinicians)
  • Co-management (sharing the long-term management of a particular issue)
  • Principal care (assuming full responsibility for a specific problem)
  • Primary care (offering a medical home)
  • Procedures

The blend of these activities varies based on a specialist’s field and individual practice. For example: 

  • Cognitive-based specialists, like endocrinologists and nephrologists, tend to engage in consults, principal care, primary care, and co-management, often with minimal or no procedures. 
  • Procedural-based specialists, such as gastroenterologists and cardiologists, also partake in consults, principal care, and co-management, in addition to procedures but provide little to no primary care. 
  • Surgical specialists, including orthopedists and neurosurgeons, primarily engage in consults and procedures.


Challenges of Bundling

In various industries, bundling products and services with multiple components is commonplace to reduce production and distribution costs. However, including elements that some consumers never utilize can lead to increased costs and a potential mismatch with individual consumers’ specific needs. Specialists often employ uniform processes, resources, and business models to deliver widely differing services. 

This bundling approach makes specialty care less accessible; for instance, individuals in need of prompt attention may face delays due to specialists’ schedules being occupied by those receiving ongoing care. It also inflates costs for simpler services due to unnecessary overhead, disrupts the patient experience with cumbersome processes, and diminishes effectiveness when resources are insufficient for complex requirements. Additionally, it places undue strain on specialists and their staff, who must frequently shift their focus between highly disparate tasks.


Unbundling as a Path to Improvement

The internet’s influence in reducing distribution costs has allowed many companies to unbundle products and services into stand-alone offerings that are more affordable and cater to specific consumer needs. Breaking down specialist activities into modular components and delivering each with tailored clinical, operational, and business models could potentially make specialty care more accessible, cost-effective, efficient, and patient-friendly. Below are strategies for unbundling the four core services of specialists:

  • Consultations: Provide stand-alone consultation services, enabling patients to seek expert advice without committing to long-term care.
  • Co-Management: Develop specialized co-management programs for patients with ongoing conditions, streamlining their care without compromising efficiency.
  • Principal Care: Offer principal care as an independent service, providing individuals with comprehensive management of specific health issues.
  • Procedures: Establish specialized procedure clinics, ensuring that patients receive necessary treatments promptly without delays caused by bundled care models.

In conclusion, revamping the U.S. specialty healthcare system involves breaking down the traditional bundled approach and reimagining specialist services as individualized, efficient, and accessible components. This shift towards unbundling holds the potential to address the existing challenges and enhance the overall quality of specialty healthcare in the United States.


Original article published on 


The Medicare Physician Payment System Needs A Comprehensive Solution – Not Temporary Fixes

The Medicare Physician Payment System Needs A Comprehensive Solution – Not Temporary Fixes

Physician Compensation And Medicare:

When it comes to physician compensation within the Medicare system, it often feels like we’re applying quick fixes rather than addressing the underlying issues. Instead of constantly maneuvering to avoid these pay cuts, it’s important for the government to take steps towards creating a sustainable payment system. In this article, we’ll delve deeper into this ongoing challenge.

2% Reduction In Medicare Payments In 2023

The recent efforts by the American Medical Association (AMA) to mitigate an impending 8.5% Medicare pay cut in the 2023 omnibus spending bill managed to slow down the impending crisis but didn’t bring it to a complete halt. Physicians are still poised to experience a 2% reduction in Medicare payments this year, with a further 1.25% cut looming in 2024. Relying on stopgap measures and perpetually averting cuts year after year is an unsustainable practice, as emphasized by Todd Askew, the Senior Vice President of Advocacy at AMA.

In the initial stages of 2023, Medicare physicians were confronted with a daunting 8.5% reduction in their payment rates. This significant reduction stemmed from a combination of factors, including the expiration of a 3% bonus designed to account for evaluation and management (E/M) increases, the introduction of new E/M values necessitating a budget-neutral adjustment of 1.5%, and an additional 4% cut attributed to pay-as-you-go (PAYGO) measures aimed at curbing excessive spending. Todd Askew observed, “The timing couldn’t have been more unfavorable, particularly considering that many practices are still grappling with the financial aftermath of reduced revenue during the peak of the pandemic.”

PAYGO Cut Successfully Averted

Through collaborative efforts, the American Medical Association (AMA) joined forces with 150 other physician organizations and healthcare groups to diligently prevent these impending reductions. Todd Askew, in reflecting on these advocacy endeavors, noted some positive strides. He stated, “In the larger picture, we managed to delay the 4% PAYGO reduction, effectively eliminating it for this year.” Furthermore, Congress orchestrated a phased reduction of the physician bonus, which offsets the E/M increases, reducing it to 2.5% for the current year, with an additional reduction planned for 2024, bringing it down to 1.25%. Lawmakers opted not to address the counterbalancing of the heightened E/M values, which were responsible for other budget-neutral cuts. All in all, this translates to approximately a 2% reduction in Medicare reimbursement fees from 2022 to the present year, as succinctly explained by Askew.

Medicare Participation Under Scrutiny

While a 2% reduction may be preferable to the initially proposed 8.5%, the impending decrease will cause medical practices to confront challenging decisions. Some practices are already operating on razor-thin margins, with a 2% or even 0% margin. “This situation will undoubtedly prompt many practices to reevaluate the feasibility of their participation in the Medicare program,” he stressed.

For older adult patients, this predicament is likely to lead to widespread access issues across various specialties and healthcare services throughout the country. The ongoing erosion of Medicare payments when compared to inflation will undoubtedly carry long-term repercussions, as pointed out by Askew. Physicians have already witnessed a cumulative reduction of 22% in their payments over the past few decades. Askew underscored this by stating, “This reduction is primarily a result of the underlying payment system’s lack of a mechanism for regular increases to keep pace with the rising costs of inflation.”

A Call for Congressional Attention

Notably, Congress has not undertaken any substantial review of the existing payment system since its inception under the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015. The 2% reduction serves as an alert to Congress, urging them about the ongoing cuts and the gradual devaluation of Medicare payments. This poses a substantial threat to healthcare access.

Askew strongly urged physicians to remain engaged through the AMA’s social media platforms and to remain vigilant for alerts from the Physicians Grassroots Network. “We cannot afford to wait for another crisis because it is highly likely that we will face further reductions in the coming year,” he cautioned. This article was originally published on

Welter Healthcare Partners Can Help
  • REVENUE CYCLE MANAGEMENT (RCM) PROGRAMS: Increase your Revenue & Cash Flow to ensure financial stability, so you can focus on delivering exceptional patient care
  • PROVIDER ENROLLMENT: Managed program eligibility, timely re-credentialing, and compliance that ensures revenue integrity.
  • CREDENTIALING / CVO: Verified provider qualifications and training, equals quality patient care.
  • CODING COMPLIANCE: Welter Healthcare Partners stays informed of changing coding standards helping you to maximize reimbursement and mitigate risk
Consumer-Focused Metrics Approach Is Important For Healthcare Systems

Consumer-Focused Metrics Approach Is Important For Healthcare Systems

In The Rapidly Evolving Landscape of Healthcare

Patients are no longer tethered to a singular provider network. They are now opting instead to distribute their care across a multitude of platforms. As the industry adapts to this shifting paradigm, healthcare providers must use the power of data and establish comprehensive metrics to truly understand patients as consumers. Integrating consumer-focused metrics into strategic planning presents certain complexities. However, it is an essential step for healthcare systems aiming to stay competitive in this dynamic environment. Continue reading to explore the challenges faced by health systems as they endeavor to integrate patient data effectively.

The Evidence Is Stark

American patients are no longer steadfastly loyal customers. Each year, they diversify their care across an average of four to five distinct provider networks. The healthcare landscape boasts an array of choices, spanning from innovative virtual and primary care providers to emerging retail players and urgent care facilities. It’s not surprising that patients seek diversity in their healthcare experiences. To remain competitive, traditional health systems and provider organizations must embark on a journey to comprehend patients in their roles as healthcare consumers. Understanding the intricate mechanics behind their decision-making processes, their underlying motivations, and the how, where, and why of their engagement within the broader healthcare ecosystem.

Additionally, they must decipher how the dynamics of supply and demand shape the markets in which they operate. Indeed, the battle for patient engagement is on the horizon. A staggering 44% of Americans are active Amazon Prime members, contributing to Amazon’s extensive reservoir of consumer data for its ongoing healthcare expansion and targeted strategies. The largest healthcare system in the nation, HCA Healthcare, engages with only 1% of Americans through its care delivery system. As healthcare providers, hospitals, and health systems navigate this new terrain, they must take a page from the playbook of tech giants like Amazon. They need to start adopting consumer-focused strategies to thrive in a shifting healthcare economy valued at $4.3 trillion. This journey begins with data utilization and metric establishment.


Two Pivotal Challenges

One of the foremost challenges encountered by health systems in their pursuit of consumer-focused metrics integration lies in the limited scope of data tracked in this domain. Another hurdle is the reliance on a handful of traditional consumer/patient satisfaction metrics, such as the Net Promoter Score (NPS) and the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) scores, to project future patient behavior. For example, this will forecast a patient’s likelihood of returning to the same system for care based solely on their self-reported satisfaction with a prior hospital experience. However, patient satisfaction does not serve as a reliable metric of future actions. A patient’s consumer profile may deviate significantly from their intentions.

Healthcare leaders should refrain from banking on patient satisfaction measures to predict and account for future patient behaviors. Instead, they must scrutinize patients’ actual behaviors and weave this information into their strategic planning fabric. To fortify their competitive stance and vie for a dwindling pool of patients, health systems must establish clear-cut measures and metrics that better cater to consumer needs—whether at the individual, organizational, or market level. Among these, two critical categories of metrics warrant diligent attention:

Consumer-focused Preferences and Proclivities

Retail giants like Amazon and Walmart have adeptly employed data from consumer-focused metrics to study diverse customer segments, tailoring their services accordingly. Amazon’s recommendation engine communicates with shoppers through personalized product suggestions, based on past purchases and potential interests. Regrettably, healthcare systems and the broader health economy have lagged behind in adopting such data-driven practices, even though they are indispensable for long-term patient engagement. Health systems must probe deeper to decipher whether a patient’s absence results from a lack of available appointments or a preference for another provider organization.

While some questions may prove more challenging to answer, enhancing technological infrastructure allows health system leaders to deploy data engineering resources effectively, linking patient healthcare utilization patterns with behavioral profiles on a grand scale.

  • Does the data unveil patterns of no-shows or cancellations during specific hours?
  • Does the integration of consumer behavior data unveil fresh insights into the behavior of distinct patient demographics at different times of the day?
  • Can psychographic profiles elucidate internal dynamics or identify reasons behind the loss of market share in specific specialties?

These are the real-time insights that become apparent when health systems collectively harness healthcare and patient behavior data, exploiting resources readily available within the healthcare ecosystem. By grasping the driving forces behind consumer behavior and decision-making, health systems can take tailored steps to engage and serve healthcare consumers, all while respecting their preferences and needs.

Share of Care

Organizations outside of healthcare that take consumer-focused metrics into consideration invest into understanding the economic underpinnings of their businesses. They diligently track their total addressable market, market share/value, and strategies to outperform competitors. Healthcare systems should adopt the same ethos. They must transcend mere revenue targets and delve into understanding their “share of care” within their respective markets.

Utilizing Internal and External Data

What proportion of a health system’s treated patients received care interactions outside the purview of that health system? Health system leaders can look at internal data, encompassing patient journeys across care settings and individual electronic medical records. External data, including local U.S. Census data, benchmarks, and indicators of leakage from health plans, also provide valuable context. Understanding the total addressable market and applying patient behavior metrics are essential for strategic investment decisions. Many health systems have invested in specific access points, such as telehealth and urgent care, with the expectation that these will serve as the “front door” to care, securing patient loyalty for future procedures and healthcare needs.

Utilizing Longitudinal Patient Data

However, longitudinal patient journey data reveal that this hypothesis does not always hold true. This realization can significantly impact service line and investment decisions. Unfortunately, data fragmentation and lagging interoperability initiatives impede access to such vital information. Electronic medical records data, while informative, often neglect patient interactions beyond the walls of a health system’s organization. In a landscape offering more healthcare options than ever before, knowledge is the most potent asset at the disposal of health systems. The healthcare delivery landscape grows increasingly competitive. So, health systems must become data-driven, and align with metrics specific to patients. Armed with consumer-centric insights, health systems can prepare themselves to compete for a share of care in an environment where the supply surpasses current demand for services. The original article was published on

How Welter Healthcare Partners Can Help With Consumer-focused Metrics

With decades of experience we take pride in helping Hospitals, Private Practices, and offices across the US. Using our services like Revenue Cycle Management, or Provider Enrollment, can ease the burden of “back office work”. This will open up your employees time to focus on the happiness of patients!

Educating Patients for a Positive Financial Journey

Educating Patients for a Positive Financial Journey

Patients & The Billing Process

Here at Welter Healthcare Partners, we acknowledge and applaud the dedication of revenue cycle leaders who tirelessly work to benefit patients, including financially. A critical aspect of ensuring a positive patient experience is providing education to guide them through the billing process. 

At a recent HealthLeaders Patient Financial Experience Summit, Mary Neal, AVP of Revenue Cycle at Ochsner Health, and Savanah Arceneaux, Director of Pre-Service and Financial Clearance at Ochsner Health, joined a summit session to discuss strategies for creating and streamlining patient education resources. These strategies aim to improve patient satisfaction, particularly in the face of challenges like the No Surprises Act.

Patient Billing Challenges

Revenue cycle staff are faced with the complexities of billing statements and good faith estimates, placing a significant burden on their shoulders when assisting patients in navigating these intricate documents. In todays landscape a subpar financial experience can overshadow a five-star clinical encounter. Therefore, revenue cycle leaders are under increasing pressure to streamline processes for their patients. So, what’s the key to addressing this challenge? Neal and Arceneaux emphasize the importance of comprehensive patient education. Additionally, emphasis on payer and cost education throughout the revenue cycle is crucial.

Financial Responsibility

“In recent years, payers have shifted more financial responsibility onto patients, presenting a significant challenge. This shift has driven us to reevaluate our long-term strategic vision for creating a more consumer-friendly experience. We’ve opened a digital front door, offering patients various options to access resources and education about their plans,” noted Arceneaux. This approach has led Ochsner to embrace services and technology that facilitate closer patient engagement and connection even before their scheduled visit.

“While we aim to collect owed payments as a patient-centered organization, we also want to involve our patients every step of the way. We strive to ensure they are financially informed before their visits, contributing to their overall satisfaction,” Arceneaux added.

Help your practice or hospital get ahead of billing challenges by contacting Welter today!

The OIG’s Overhaul of Compliance Guidelines: What You Need to Know

In a significant development for the healthcare industry, the HHS Office of Inspector General (OIG) has announced a major overhaul of compliance guidelines for individual and small group physician practices. This much-anticipated update comes after nearly 23 years and is part of the OIG’s broader modernization plan. As healthcare compliance experts, Welter Healthcare Partners is committed to keeping you informed and helping you navigate these changes to develop strong and efficient compliance programs. In this article, we will delve into the details of the OIG’s planned revisions and what they mean for your practice.

The Roadmap to Modernization

The OIG’s modernization plan, outlined in the Federal Register notice titled “Modernization of Compliance Program Guidance Documents,” aims to provide updated and comprehensive compliance guidance for healthcare entities. The first round of upgrades is expected to be rolled out by the end of 2023, starting with the general compliance program guidance (GCPG).

Key Areas of Focus

The GCPG will cover a wide range of critical topics, including:

  • Federal Fraud and Abuse Laws: Understanding and complying with federal fraud and abuse laws is paramount for healthcare providers. The updated guidelines will offer clarity on these laws and how they apply to your practice.
  • Compliance Program Basics: Establishing a robust compliance program is the foundation of ensuring ethical and lawful healthcare operations. The GCPG will provide insights into the fundamental elements of such programs.
  • Operating Effective Compliance Programs: Practical guidance on how to operate and maintain an effective compliance program will be a central focus. This will help healthcare entities streamline their processes and ensure ongoing compliance.
  • OIG Processes and Resources: Understanding how the OIG operates and the resources available for compliance will be essential for healthcare providers. The guidelines will shed light on these aspects to facilitate cooperation and communication.

Timeline for Implementation

The OIG plans to publish the GCPG by the end of the calendar year 2023. Subsequently, industry-specific guidance will follow in 2024. These tailored guidelines will be designed to meet the unique needs of various healthcare providers, suppliers, and participants in different subsectors of the healthcare industry.

The OIG’s initial target for industry-specific guidance includes Medicare Advantage and nursing facilities. However, over time, guidelines for other healthcare sectors are expected to be developed. Importantly, the OIG has confirmed that these compliance guidelines will remain voluntary.

Embracing Voluntary Compliance

The OIG’s intention has always been to create a voluntary set of guidelines and identified risk areas. These guidelines are meant to assist individuals and entities in the healthcare industry when developing or evaluating their compliance programs. While they are not mandatory, adhering to these guidelines demonstrates a commitment to ethical and lawful healthcare practices.

How Welter Healthcare Partners Can Help

At Welter HP, we provide a comprehensive suite of coding services tailored to meet all the coding needs of your medical practice. Our dedicated team excels in compliant coding, precise documentation, and efficient billing practices. With the impending changes in compliance guidelines, our team will be diligently tracking the OIG’s revisions as they are announced. We are dedicated to helping our clients adapt to these changes and develop compliance programs that align seamlessly with the new guidance.

The OIG’s overhaul of compliance guidelines for individual and small group physician practices marks a significant step towards modernizing compliance in the healthcare industry. While the changes are expected to be rolled out gradually, it is crucial for healthcare providers to stay informed and prepared. Welter HP is here to support you through this transition, ensuring that your compliance programs remain strong, efficient, and aligned with the evolving guidelines. Together, we can continue to uphold the highest standards of ethical and lawful healthcare practices.

Talk to an expert today!

More than a Name Change; It’s Who we are TODAY

More than a Name Change; It’s Who we are TODAY


More than a Name Change; It’s Who we are TODAY


July 13, 2023 – ARVADA, COLORADO, We are excited to announce that RT Welter and Associates, Inc. has outgrown its former name and proudly announces its new name: Welter Healthcare Partners.

Our organization was started over 30 years ago by Founder Todd Welter. With Todd’s leadership, we have continuously expanded in scale, capabilities, and client partnerships. Today, we are led by a seasoned executive team overseeing client ROI, daily operations, and customer service, who are now guided and supported by Todd’s new role as our visionary CEO/Chairman.

We adopted a new name that truly embodies who we are today: a team of staff partners providing exceptional customer service and attention to detail for our client partners – a true partnership in success.

We are pleased to announce that effective July 1, 2023, RT Welter and Associates, Inc. will become Welter Healthcare Partners.

For inquiries please contact Jen Heuer at

Welter Healthcare Partners
6870 W. 52nd Ave, Ste. 102
Arvada, CO 80002



CMS Vaccine Mandate Update: Last, but Not Least, Texas Joins the Rest of the Country

CMS Vaccine Mandate Update: Last, but Not Least, Texas Joins the Rest of the CountrynnTexas is now the last State to determine its vaccine mandate guidelines. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services set forth guidelines, by February 19, 2022, Texas must have its vaccination processes and plans in place, and all covered staff must at least have taken their first dose of a vaccine or have a pending exemption request to be in compliance with the CMS rule. By March 21, 2022, all covered staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received an exemption to be in compliance with the CMS rule. Continue reading below to learn more. nn nOn January 13, 2022, the Supreme Court of the United States issued an opinion staying preliminary injunctions issued in cases filed in Missouri and Louisiana challenging the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) COVID-19 vaccination mandate for healthcare providers. The ruling stayed preliminary injunctions applicable to twenty-four states. Twenty-five states were already subject to enforcement under the CMS rule. This left Texas standing alone and in limbo.nn nnDismissal of the Texas CasennOn January 14, 2022, CMS filed in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas a motion to stay the preliminary injunction applies to the State of Texas, pending the resolution of an interlocutory appeal that CMS filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit on the same day. The district court ordered the State of Texas to file its response to CMS’s motion by January 18, 2022.nnOn January 18, 2022, the State of Texas filed a motion to dismiss the case without prejudice. It also filed a response to CMS’s motion for stay, arguing that it was moot because Texas sought to dismiss the case.nnCMS filed a reply memorandum on January 19, 2022, arguing that its motion to stay was not moot until the case was dismissed and requesting that the court either grant its motion to stay or dismiss the case by 5:00 p.m. on January 19, 2022.nnThe district court issued an order dismissing the lawsuit without prejudice on January 19, 2022, allowing CMS to enforce the vaccine mandate nationwide.nn nnNew CMS Deadlines Applicable to TexasnnOn January 20, 2022, CMS issued new guidance setting forth the following compliance deadlines for Texas:n


  • By February 19, 2022, covered facilities in Texas must have their vaccination processes and plans in place, and all covered staff must at least have taken their first dose of a vaccine or have a pending exemption request to be in compliance with the CMS rule.
  • n

  • By March 21, 2022, all covered staff must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have received an exemption to be in compliance with the CMS rule.nAll prior deadlines set for the other forty-nine states remain unchanged.
  • n

n nnTakeawaysnnCovered facilities in Texas may want to consider dusting off their vaccination processes and plans and restarting the implementation process if they have not already done so. With Texas’s state vaccine executive order in conflict with the CMS rule, Texas employers may also want to ensure their policies make clear that their CMS-compliant policies apply to CMS-covered facilities and preempt the executive order. On the other hand, for any employee not working in a CMS-covered facility, another policy and/or the provisions of the executive order may apply to them.nnOgletree Deakins will continue to monitor and report on developments with respect to the COVID-19 pandemic and will post updates in the firm’s Coronavirus (COVID-19) Resource Center as additional information becomes available. Important information for employers is also available via the firm’s webinar and podcast programs.nnOriginal article published on