Noteworthy News

Archive for November, 2017

 

The Battle Over 340B

Hospitals and other health care providers say it is an essential tool in ensuring access to care, and to prescription drugs, for their low-income patients. Pharmaceutical companies say it has expanded beyond its original purpose and is being used by hospitals to pad their profits. Members of Congress are divided:  some are supportive and some are skeptical. The section 340B program that requires drug companies to provide discounts to selected hospitals and other providers that serve large numbers of low-income patients has been the subject of controversy in recent years.  During that time, the administration has generally sided with hospitals [&hellip

Is Readmissions Reduction Program Hurting Some Patients?

A new study suggests that the decline in avoidable hospital readmissions of Medicare patients driven by the federal program’s hospital readmissions reduction program may be harming cardiac patients. According to a new study published in the journal JAMA Cardiology, while the readmissions reduction program has reduced readmissions among heart failure patients from 20 percent before the program was launched to 18.4 percent, the mortality rate among the same patients rose from 7.2 percent to 8.6 percent – 5400 more deaths a year. To learn more about the study, its results, why experts believe this  may be happening, and information about [&hellip

Bill Seeks to Block 340B Cut

Legislation introduced in Congress would block the attempt by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to slash $1.6 billion in annual payments to hospitals for prescription drugs for outpatients prescribed through the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program. Earlier this month CMS finalized its plan to reduce controversial 340B payments and shift $1.6 billion in savings into Medicare provider payments.  If adopted, the bipartisan legislation co-sponsored by Representatives David McKinley (R-WV) and Mike Thompson (D-CA) would prevent the reduction of 340B payments, which are made to hospitals that care for especially large proportions of low-income patients. The 340B [&hellip

CMS Guidance on MCO Payments is Good News for Safety-net Hospitals

New guidance from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on the use of directing supplemental Medicaid resources to hospitals through Medicaid managed care organizations is good news for many urban safety-net hospitals across the country. In many states, new revenue generated by state hospital taxes (assessments) are routed through the state’s Medicaid managed care plans.  Recently, however, it has not been clear whether the federal government would permit continued use of this mechanism. An early November bulletin from CMS, however, clarifies that this approach is still permissible, which is good news for many urban safety-net hospitals located in states [&hellip

Medicaid Retroactive Eligibility: A Dying Policy?

A growing number of states are ending or limiting retroactive eligibility for Medicaid:  the practice of Medicaid reimbursing providers for the care they deliver to Medicaid-eligible patients for up to three months even if those patients had not previously enrolled in Medicaid. Arkansas, Indiana, and New Hampshire have ended the practice for some categories of Medicaid patients and Iowa joined them on November 1.  In addition, Delaware, Maryland, Massachusetts, and Utah impose some limits on retroactive Medicaid eligibility for at least some Medicaid-eligible individuals. While the purpose of retroactive eligibility ostensibly is to ensure a health care safety-net for low-income [&hellip

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