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After attending the AICPA’s Banking and Saving Institution’s Annual Conference in Washington, D.C. in September 2014, financial institutions have expressed concern over preparation for the FASB’s proposed Current Expected Credit Loss (“CECL”). Significant differences exist between the current historical loss rate method used to calculate the allowance for loan and lease losses (“ALLL”) and the new CECL model proposed by the FASB. Due to the proposed changes, the CECL model will require financial institutions of all sizes to recognize an immediate allowance for credit losses that represents all expected losses. The proposed model would likely increase a bank’s ALLL by 30-50%, as stated by the OCC’s Thomas Curry and includes gathering and computing a significantly higher volume of data.  Additionally, it was noted that Institution’s should began preparing for the impact of the issuance of the CECL model, in 2018-2019, by beginning the accumulation of this data now.  For additional information or assistance please contact James Dowling (James.Dowling@marcumllp.com) of the Marcum Financial Institutions Services Group.     

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Administration has closed approximately 450,000 citizenship and immigration status data matching cases and another 210,000 are in progress; warns remaining consumers to respond quickly or their Marketplace coverage could end.

The Federal Health Insurance Marketplace began sending notices this week to consumers with a citizenship or immigration data matching issue (also called an inconsistency) who have not responded to previous notices via mail, email, and phone. While the Federal Marketplace has already received documents and cleared a large number of data inconsistencies related to citizenship or immigration status, consumers who have not yet responded must act now and submit supporting documents by September 5 or their Marketplace coverage will end on September 30.

A citizenship or immigration data matching issue can happen when the information reported in a consumer’s application, such as a Social Security or Permanent Resident Card number, is incomplete or different than the information the government has on file. A data inconsistency does not necessarily mean there is a problem with an individual’s eligibility for enrollment; it means that additional information is needed to verify the information provided in an application. However, if these supporting documents are not received, health insurance plans will be terminated in order to ensure program integrity and protect taxpayer dollars. 

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Administration redoubles its efforts to improve quality of post-acute care for Medicare beneficiaries

Today, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced two initiatives to improve the quality of post-acute care. First, the expansion and strengthening of the agency’s widely-used Five Star Quality Rating System for Nursing Homes will improve consumer information about individual nursing homes’ quality. Second, proposed new conditions of participation for home health agencies will modernize Medicare’s Home Health Agency Conditions of Participation to ensure safe delivery of quality care to home health patients.

“We are focused on using as many tools as are available to promote quality improvement and better outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries,” said Marilyn Tavenner, CMS administrator. “Whether it is the regulations that guide provider practices or the information we provide directly to consumers, our primary goal is improving outcomes.” 

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On December 30, 2013, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) issued guidance explaining the circumstances in which it will not challenge partnership allocations to its partners under IRC Section 47, The Rehabilitation Credit. The IRS, within a recent revenue procedure (Rev. Proc. 2014-12, 2014-3 IRB) establishes the requirements of a “safe harbor,” meaning that if the provisions in the Rev. Proc. are followed, the IRS will not challenge the partnerships’ allocation of the IRC Section 47 Rehabilitation Tax Credits to the partnerships’ partners.

Under IRC Section 47, the owner of a qualified rehabilitated building is entitled to claim a tax credit of 10 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures starting in the year in which the property is placed in service.  The amount of the credit increases to 20 percent of the qualified rehabilitation expenditures made with respect to a certified historic structure.   

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The issues around patient data security are many – the message simple; the need to constantly consider the electronic threats to your data has never been greater. Many of our clients have done their checking on a regular basis and find that there are periodic lapses in procedures or in installation of "patches". The bottom line is you need to make sure your IT integrity is always up to date. Call us if you need to get some help.

Federal agency monitoring EHR certification leaves door open to hackers by not requiring the use of strong passwords and other safety standards
Published Date: August 8, 2014
By Lisa Smith

Strong passwords are the first line of defense against computer hackers. But a government report warns that patients are at risk because the certification process for electronic health records (EHRs) doesn’t require the use of a strong password. 

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Final rule strengthens tie between payment and quality improvement

The final rule issued on August 4 by CMS adopts improvements in the quality of care that limit payment for hospital acquired conditions (HACs) and readmissions. The rule, which updates Medicare payment policies and rates for inpatient stays at general acute care and long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) for FY 2015, builds on the administration’s efforts for better hospital patient outcomes and slowing the long-term health care cost growth.  

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One of the most recent internet vulnerabilities is expected to be the largest ever to hit.  The bug, known as “Shell Shock”, enables hackers to exploit the Unix shell used by millions of web servers, ultimately allowing the hacker to take control of the device and steal information from it.  Potentially vulnerable devices range from iPhones to internet-connected thermostats.  The Marcum Financial Institutions Services Group is hoping that all of you have already heard about this, but if not please see the links below. 

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The potential issues and security in healthcare related businesses can't be overstated. This recent piece from medical group management Association highlights the issue. Marcum has extensive capabilities for assisting healthcare organizations with data security and making certain that data is HIPAA compliant. 

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“The Sunshine Act” is about to take effect beginning on September 30, 2014. This is a national program being implemented by the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) in order to be more transparent and responsible to the general public. CMS is mandated to publish reported data on September 30, 2014. The first Open Payments program cycle is a partial data collection period of five months (August 1 through December 31, 2013). Each Open Payments program cycle beyond 2013 will consist of a full 12 months of calendar-year data to be collected and reported to CMS.

The program allows physicians and teaching hospitals to register and review the financial data submitted by applicable manufacturers and group purchasing organizations to initiate disputes if necessary before the data is made public.   

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In June, 2014, the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System, The Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation and the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency issued FIL 30-2014, “Intercompany Tax Allocation Agreements.”  The regulation provides guidance on tax allocation policies in the instances where a Holding Company Structure exists.  As a reminder, compliance is required no later than October 31, 2014.  For further information or assistance, please contact Brenda DeCosta or David St. Yves of Marcum’s Financial Institutions Services Group. 

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