Noteworthy News

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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

New Report Details Key Health Care Provisions in February Budget Bill

The Congressional Research Service has published a new report describing the health care-related provisions in the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 that Congress passed last month to fund the federal government. A major part of that law was the Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders, and Social Services (ACCESS) Act, and the new report includes descriptions of the Medicare, Medicaid, CHIP, public health, and other health care aspects of the law. Go here to find the Congressional Research Service report Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 (P.L. 115-123): Brief Summary of Division E—The Advancing Chronic Care, Extenders, and Social Services (ACCESS) Act

MedPAC Meets

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which advises Congress on Medicare payment issues, met last week in Washington, D.C. Among the issues on MedPAC’s agenda were: paying for sequential stays in a unified Medicare payment system for post-acute care encouraging Medicare beneficiaries to use higher-quality post-acute care providers using payment policy to ensure appropriate access to and use of hospital emergency department services the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ financial alignment demonstration for dual-eligible beneficiaries the effectiveness of the Medicare hospital readmissions reduction program population-based quality measures such as preventable admissions and home and community days Go here, to MedPAC’s [&hellip

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