Noteworthy News

Archive for July, 2017

 

CMS Takes First Steps Toward Medicaid DSH Cuts

Federal funds allocated to states to make Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH) payments would be reduced beginning in FY 2018 under a new rule proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The Medicaid DSH cuts, mandated by the Affordable Care Act but delayed several times at the behest of Congress, would come in the form of reduced Medicaid DSH allocations to individual states, with the size of those allocation cuts based on the nature of individual states’ Medicaid programs and changes in the number of uninsured patients in individual states. The cuts were established in the [&hellip

Ways and Means Seeks to Cut Medicare Red Tape

The House Ways and Means Committee’s Health Subcommittee has launched a new initiative to attempt to improve the delivery of Medicare services and eliminate statutory and regulatory obstacles to more effective care delivery. The subcommittee describes its “Medicare Red Tape Relief Project” as …a new initiative to deliver relief from the regulations and mandates that impede innovation, drive up costs, and ultimately stand in the way of delivering better care for Medicare beneficiaries. In support of this initiative, the committee has announced a three-part approach in which it will seek feedback from stakeholders, host roundtables with stakeholders across the country, [&hellip

Behavioral Health Services in Medicaid Expansion States

The U.S. Government Accountability Office has performed a limited study of the utilization of Medicaid behavioral health services in Medicaid expansion states. The study, based on data from New York, Washington, Iowa, and West Virginia, found that the two most heavily utilized behavioral health services were diagnostic and psychotherapy services and that more than two-thirds of behavioral health patients were prescribed anti-depressants.  More people sought help for mental health challenges that for substance abuse problems. Medicaid officials in the selected states concluded that enrollment in Medicaid enhanced access to behavioral health care. Learn more about the study’s findings in the [&hellip

Congress Looks at 340B Program

Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a look at the 340B prescription drug discount program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted drugs for outpatient use to hospitals that care for especially large numbers of low-income patients. The previous week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed Medicare regulation calling for significant reductions in Medicare payments for such drugs. The hearing touched on the CMS proposal to reduce Medicare payments for 340B drugs, the high prices of prescription drugs, the 340B program’s growth over the years, the possibility that the program is being abused [&hellip

Mortality Doesn’t Go Up When Readmissions Come Down

The emphasis in recent years on reducing hospital readmissions has not resulted in an increase in post-discharge deaths among Medicare patients. Or so concludes a new study published in JAMA. Looking at outcomes associated with Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program, the study “Association of Changing Hospital Readmission Rates With Mortality Rates After Hospital Discharge” found that … of more than 5 million Medicare fee-for-service hospitalizations for heart failure, acute myocardial infarction, and pneumonia from 2008 to 2014, reductions in hospital 30-day readmission rates were weakly but significantly correlated with reductions in 30-day mortality rates after hospital discharge. Learn more about [&hellip

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