Noteworthy News

 

A Different Perspective on Telehealth

Residents of urban areas often have the same access-to-care problems as rural residents, although the latter receive far more attention. So concludes a new report published on the Health Affairs Blog. According to the analysis, urban and rural residents have similar access problems – and among urban residents, the problems in some instances are even greater.  One distinction: …while rural America has access problems because there are not enough doctors, urban America has access problems because there are not enough appointments. One potential solution to this problem, the report suggests, is focusing on access instead of geography and making telehealth [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

The independent agency that advises Congress and the administration on Medicare payment policies met last week in Washington, D.C. Among the issues discussed at the meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission were: the merit-based incentive payment system telehealth a redesign of Medicare’s hospital value incentive program Many of the issues MedPAC addresses – including those noted above – are very important to urban safety-net hospitals. Find the presentations and issue briefs for these subjects and others discussed at the MedPAC meeting here, on MedPAC’s web site

340B Changes Would Hurt Hospital Margins

Proposed changes in the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program would hurt hospital margins. So says Moody’s Investors Service, the credit rating agency. According to Moody’s, the margins of non-profit hospitals are already under pressure because revenue increases are not keeping pace with prescription drug costs.  Reductions of payments under the 340B program recently proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services would make a challenging situation worse, Moody’s speculates. Under the 340B program, eligible hospitals purchase prescription drugs at a discount, supply them to eligible outpatients, and use the savings they gain to provide additional services and [&hellip

House Committee to Hold 340B Hearing

The House Energy and Commerce Committee’s oversight subcommittee will hold a hearing on Wednesday about the 340B Drug Pricing Program. At the hearing, titled “Examining How Covered Entities Utilize the 340B Drug Pricing Program,” the subcommittee hopes …to hear directly from entities participating in the program to get a better understanding of how the program is used, including how much money is saved, the types of drugs purchased and prescribed within the program, how entities track their savings, and how those savings are used to improve patient care. All private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals participate in the 340B program. Learn [&hellip

House Members to CMS: Don’t Cut 340B Payments

More than half of the members of the House of Representatives have written to CMS administrator Seema Verma asking her to withdraw a controversial proposal that would greatly reduce Medicare reimbursement for prescription drugs for urban safety-net hospitals and other safety-net providers that serve large numbers of low-income patients.. At issue are proposed changes in the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program – changes that would drastically reduce payments to participating hospitals for the prescription drugs they provide to low-income outpatients.  Savings from the program help underwrite services and outreach for low-income patients. The letter to CMS administrator Verma [&hellip

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