Noteworthy News

Archive for February, 2017

 

Cures Law Addresses Shortcomings in Readmissions Program

The 21st Century Cures Act passed last December includes a provision that addresses perceived inequities in Medicare’s readmissions reduction program. Those inequities centered around holding safety-net hospitals, thought to care for more medically and socially challenging patients than the typical hospital, to the same standard as those typical hospitals when assessing penalties under Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program. While proponents of addressing this perceived inequity focused on addressing it through socio-economic risk adjustment, the Cures Act took another approach, as a recent article on the Health Affairs Blog explained: The Cures Act changes this by instructing HHS to set different penalty thresholds [&hellip

Long-Awaited 340B Guidance Withdrawn

The long-awaited “guidance” that was expected to bring potentially major changes to the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program has been withdrawn by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. The final guidance, based on proposed guidance released in mid-2015, was expected to redefine the patients, providers, and prescription drugs eligible to participate in the 340B program. The document was thought to be in the final stages of review by the Office of Management and Budget. Virtually all urban safety-net hospitals are eligible for and participate in the 340B program and it is essential [&hellip

A New Approach to Treating the Underserved

Last month Congress passed the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes Act. The new law calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human services to study a New Mexico project that employs distance learning to enhance the ability of the medical community to serve medically underserved areas. Launched by the University of New Mexico in 2003, Project ECHO takes advantage of telehealth techniques to employ medical specialists who consult via videoconference with primary care providers. This approach can be employed to help patients in rural and underserved rural areas and to assist those with limited mobility who have difficulty traveling [&hellip

MACPAC Concerned About Prospect of Medicaid Block Grants

Members of the non-partisan legislative agency that advises Congress on Medicaid and CHIP issues expressed concern at their most recent meeting about the possibility of the federal government turning Medicaid into a block grant program. At their meeting in Washington, D.C. last week, members of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission discussed the steps they would need to take to advise policy-makers about the issues they would need to address in making such a major policy change and the possibility that such a shift would result in a reduction of funding for Medicaid over time. These issues are [&hellip

MACPAC Points to March Medicaid DSH Report to Congress

Required to report annually to Congress on the state of the Medicaid program, members of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission reviewed drafts of their proposed March report to Congress at the agency’s January meeting in Washington, D.C. In its draft report MACPAC addresses the Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payment program (Medicaid DSH), including DSH allotments, their relationship to the number of uninsured people, the amount and sources of hospital uncompensated care costs, and the impact of Medicaid DSH on hospitals that provide especially large amounts of uncompensated care while also providing essential community services. The draft MACPAC [&hellip

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