Noteworthy News

 

ACA Has Increased Primary Care Utilization

A new study found that the increase in the number of insured Americans as a result of the Affordable Care Act has resulted in increased utilization of primary health care services. According to a study by the National Bureau of Economic Research, primary care utilization rose 3.8 percent, mammograms 1.5 percent, HIV tests 2.1 percent, and flu shots 1.9 percent over a three-year period.  The study suggests that preventive care increased between 17 and 50 percent. The study attributes all of the gains to improved access to private insurance and none to Medicaid expansion. These results are based on self-reported [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met last week in Washington, D.C. to address a number of Medicare reimbursement-related issues. Among the subjects on MedPAC’s agenda were: using payments to ensure appropriate access to and use of hospital emergency department services uniform outcome measures for post-acute care applying MedPAC’s principles for measuring quality: hospital quality incentives Medicare coverage policy and use of low-value care long-term issues confronting Medicare accountable care organizations managed care plans for dual-eligible beneficiaries While MedPAC’s policy and payment recommendations are not binding on Congress or the administration, its views are respected and influential and often become the [&hellip

Medicaid is Toughest Insurer for Providers

Medicaid is the hardest insurer for providers when it comes to billing. Or so reports a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. According to this analysis, Medicaid claims take longer to file, are more likely to be rejected, more likely to be challenged, and take longer to be paid than Medicare and private insurance claims.  While the biggest problem is Medicaid fee-for-service claims, even Medicaid managed care claims pose more problems than Medicare and private insurance claims. This can pose a special challenge to urban safety-net hospitals because they care for so many more Medicaid patients than the [&hellip

Eat! You’ll Feel Better

And maybe need to spend less on health care. That is the lesson learned from a program in Massachusetts that provided home delivery of food to dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients who were struggling with their meals. In a limited experiment, selected individuals received home delivery of food:  some received general meal deliveries while others received food tailored to their individual medical conditions.  The purpose:  address a major social determinant of health in this difficult-to-serve population. The result, according to a report published in the journal Health Affairs, was that Participants in the medically tailored meal program also had fewer inpatient [&hellip

Safety-Net Hospitals Improve More on Readmissions But Still More Likely to be Penalized

Hospitals that serve large numbers of minority patients are reducing their Medicare readmissions rates more than other hospitals but are still more likely to be penalized under Medicare readmissions reduction program. This is one of the findings in a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. According to the study, hospitals that serve larger numbers of minority patients – typically, safety-net hospitals – are more likely to be penalized for readmissions than other hospitals because even though they are reducing their readmissions rates faster than other hospitals, their performance is compared, unfavorably, to hospitals that had fewer Medicare readmissions [&hellip

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