Noteworthy News

Archive for October, 2011

 

Deficit Reduction Could Jeopardize Physician Training, Access to Care

Could the current deficit reduction effort jeopardize the nation’s supply of future doctors and access to care? Medicare’s medical education payments – both for indirect medical education (IME) and graduate medical education (GME) – are widely thought to be on the table in the current deliberations of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, the congressional “supercommittee” created this summer to propose at least $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts by the end of the year. According to an article in the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review, medical education payment cuts could hurt communities in two ways. First, many communities suffer a physician [&hellip

Safety-Net Hospitals Imperiled By Medicaid Cuts

The financial health of urban safety-net hospitals faces yet another challenge from state governments looking to reduce their Medicaid spending. With supplemental funding from the 2009 federal stimulus law gone, the economy still in free-fall, and Medicaid costs still rising, most states are looking for ways to reduce their Medicaid spending. According to a new survey conducted by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, nearly every state in the country has implemented at least one policy designed to cut Medicaid costs in the past two years.  Among the more common cuts:  reduced payments to providers; reduced benefits for [&hellip

Medicaid Expansion Under the Affordable Care Act

How many people will the Affordable Care Act add to the nation’s Medicaid rolls? Prognosticators have suggested that anywhere from 10 million to 25 million people will become newly eligible for Medicaid when the Affordable Care Act’s revised Medicaid eligibility standards take effect in 2014.  Earlier this year, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated that Medicaid would attract 16 million new enrollees between 2014 and 2019. Now, researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health have weighed in on the debate.  While they suggest that the number of new Medicaid beneficiaries could range anywhere from 8.5 million to 22.4 million, [&hellip

States Seek New Ways to Manage Health Care Costs

As states continue to struggle with budget woes, they are getting more aggressive, and more ambitious, about finding ways to cut their health care costs – and they aren’t waiting for health care reform to kick in to get started. Oregon, for example, hopes to introduce a new series of community health centers that would provide more integrated care to their patients.  At first the centers would serve only Medicaid and dually eligible (Medicare and Medicaid) patients, but eventually, state officials hope the clinics will serve public employees and teachers and possibly small businesses as well.  Read about Oregon’s plans [&hellip

States Curtailing Medicaid Benefits

Faced with continuing budget challenges, more states are looking to roll back some of their Medicaid benefits. A number of states – Massachusetts, Florida, and others – already limit Medicaid beneficiaries’ inpatient coverage.  Now, more states – California, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, North Carolina, and others – are cutting back other benefits as well. This could pose a real challenge for urban safety-net hospitals, according to NAUH executive director Ellen Kugler. “Medicaid patients are still going to need these services, and mission-driven urban safety-net hospitals are not in the business of turning away patients in need,” Kugler said.   “When patients turn to [&hellip

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