Noteworthy News

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MedPAC Meets

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met last week in Washington, D.C. to address a number of Medicare reimbursement-related issues. Among the subjects on MedPAC’s agenda were: using payments to ensure appropriate access to and use of hospital emergency department services uniform outcome measures for post-acute care applying MedPAC’s principles for measuring quality: hospital quality incentives Medicare coverage policy and use of low-value care long-term issues confronting Medicare accountable care organizations managed care plans for dual-eligible beneficiaries While MedPAC’s policy and payment recommendations are not binding on Congress or the administration, its views are respected and influential and often become the [&hellip

Eat! You’ll Feel Better

And maybe need to spend less on health care. That is the lesson learned from a program in Massachusetts that provided home delivery of food to dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid recipients who were struggling with their meals. In a limited experiment, selected individuals received home delivery of food:  some received general meal deliveries while others received food tailored to their individual medical conditions.  The purpose:  address a major social determinant of health in this difficult-to-serve population. The result, according to a report published in the journal Health Affairs, was that Participants in the medically tailored meal program also had fewer inpatient [&hellip

Safety-Net Hospitals Improve More on Readmissions But Still More Likely to be Penalized

Hospitals that serve large numbers of minority patients are reducing their Medicare readmissions rates more than other hospitals but are still more likely to be penalized under Medicare readmissions reduction program. This is one of the findings in a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. According to the study, hospitals that serve larger numbers of minority patients – typically, safety-net hospitals – are more likely to be penalized for readmissions than other hospitals because even though they are reducing their readmissions rates faster than other hospitals, their performance is compared, unfavorably, to hospitals that had fewer Medicare readmissions [&hellip

Senate Committee Looks at 340B Program

The Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee (HELP) held a hearing last week on the 340B prescription drug discount program. The hearing was prompted by complaints from pharmaceutical companies about the discounts they are required to provide to eligible providers and by concern that hospitals are insufficiently accountable for how they use the savings they derive from those discounts to serve their low-income patients.  In addition, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recently reduced its Medicare payments to participating hospitals. During the hearing, Senate Republicans expressed support for the program but spoke of the need for greater transparency [&hellip

MedPAC Issues 2018 Report to Congress

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission has issued its 2018 report and recommendations to Congress. The report includes MedPAC’s recommendations for next year’s Medicare fee-for-service payments; a review of the Medicare Advantage and Medicare Part D programs, with recommendations; and a report telehealth required by the 21st Century Cures Act. For Medicare fee-for-service rates, MedPAC proposes: the inpatient and outpatient rate increases, physician and other health professional rate increases, and outpatient dialysis increase included under current law no increase for ambulatory surgical centers, long-term-care hospitals, and hospice providers no rate increase for skilled nursing facilities a five percent reduction of payments [&hellip

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