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By Chris Ayers, Senior Manager - Assurance Services

Marcum's Financial Institution Services Group would like to remind all Institutions that are not advanced approaches institutions that the Accumulated Other Comprehensive Income("AOCI") opt-in/opt-out election must be completed on Part 1.B of Schedule RC-R of the March, 2015 Call Report.Under the changes brought about from Basel III, each institution must make a one-time election to opt-in or opt-out of including certain adjustments from their AOCI in their regulatory capital.  For most institutions, the driving factor for AOCI is the change in unrealized gains/(losses) from their investments available for sale, however, AOCI can also be impacted by cumulative foreign currency translation adjustments and pension liability adjustments. 

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On February 19, 2015, the National Credit Union Administration Board (NCUA) approved a proposed rule and policy statement to update the definition of a small entity to include federally insured credit unions with assets up to $100 million.  This would result in reduced regulatory compliance for many credit unions, with the intention to assist them in focusing resources more on serving their members.   NCUA is currently accepting comments on the proposed rule.  To read more, click the link below.
http://www.ncua.gov/about/Pages/Board%20Actions/BAB20150219.aspx  

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today strengthened the FiveStar Quality Rating System for Nursing Homes on the Nursing Home Compare website to give families more precise and meaningful information on quality when they consider facilities for themselves or a loved one. Today’s announcement also marks an important milestone to achieving the goal of implementing further improvements to the Five Star system in 2015, as the Administration announced last October.

Star ratings allow users to see important differences in quality among nursing homes to help them make better care decisions. CMS rates nursing homes on three categories: results from onsite inspections by trained surveyors, performance on certain quality measures, and levels of staffing. CMS uses these three categories to offer an overall star rating, but consumers can see and focus on any of the three individual categories.  

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CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner today announced new rules that strengthen oversight of Medicare providers and protect taxpayer dollars from bad actors. These new safeguards are designed to prevent physicians and other providers with unpaid debt from re-entering Medicare, remove providers with patterns or practices of abusive billing, and implement other provisions to help save more than $327 million annually.  

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a proposed notice establishing the methodology for determining federal funding for the Basic Health Program in program year 2016. The Basic Health Program provides states with the option to establish a health benefits coverage program for lower-income individuals as an alternative to Health Insurance Marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This voluntary program enables states to create a health benefits program for residents with incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid through Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, but are in the lower income bracket to be eligible to purchase coverage through the Marketplace. This proposed notice is substantially the same as the final notice for program year 2015.

Overview
Section 1331 of the Affordable Care Act provides states with a new coverage option, the Basic Health Program, for individuals who are citizens or lawfully present non-citizens, who do not qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or other minimum essential coverage and generally have income between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  

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On January 26, 2015 Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced measurable goals and a timeline to move the Medicare program, and the health care system at large, toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity of care they give patients.

HHS has set a goal of tying 30 percent of traditional, or fee-for-service, Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016, and tying 50 percent of payments to these models by the end of 2018. HHS also set a goal of tying 85 percent of all traditional Medicare payments to quality or value by 2016 and 90 percent by 2018 through programs such as the Hospital Value Based Purchasing and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Programs. This is the first time in the history of the Medicare program that HHS has set explicit goals for alternative payment models and value-based payments.  

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NOTIFICATION: Fiscal Year (FY) 2016 Payment Update Determination: Two Additional Quality Measures Implemented for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Long-Term Care Hospital (LTCH) Quality Reporting Program (QRP).

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) retained two measures for FY 2016 payment update determination, as listed below:  

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The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today issued a proposed notice establishing the methodology for determining federal funding for the Basic Health Program in program year 2016. The Basic Health Program provides states with the option to establish a health benefits coverage program for lower-income individuals as an alternative to Health Insurance Marketplace coverage under the Affordable Care Act. This voluntary program enables states to create a health benefits program for residents with incomes that are too high to qualify for Medicaid through Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act, but are in the lower income bracket to be eligible to purchase coverage through the Marketplace. This proposed notice is substantially the same as the final notice for program year 2015.

Overview
Section 1331 of the Affordable Care Act provides states with a new coverage option, the Basic Health Program, for individuals who are citizens or lawfully present non-citizens, who do not qualify for Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) or other minimum essential coverage and generally have income between 133 percent and 200 percent of the federal poverty level.  

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Data promote transparency into the financial relationships between health care industry, doctors and teaching hospitals

As part of our ongoing effort to increase transparency and accountability in health care, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released today the first round of Open Payments data to help consumers understand the financial relationships between the health care industry, and physicians and teaching hospitals.  

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In a startling decision by the Tenth Circuit U. S. Court of Appeals, income tax debts assessed by an IRS Substitute For Return are no longer dischargeable in a bankruptcy filing. Going against both the two-year rule for the filing and the three-year rule for the due date in relation to the dischargeability of tax debts, the ruling places many financially distressed taxpayers now and in the future in a real bind. From the perspective of a tax resolution specialist, such a ruling is sure to be challenged in the near future.

According to Mallo v. IRS, No. 13-1464 (10th Cir. 2014) a taxpayer can no longer discharge an income tax liability in a bankruptcy if the IRS filed a Substitute For Return (SFR) for the taxpayer. If an untimely 1040 Form, filed after the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has assessed the tax liability, is a tax return for purposes of the exceptions to discharge in section 523(a)(1)(B)(i) of the Bankruptcy Code, it is no longer dischargeable. Such an update means that if a taxpayer needs to maintain the option of discharging an income tax liability in a potential future bankruptcy, they better first file their tax returns before the IRS files a Substitute For Return. 

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