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HHS Transition Briefing Book Available

Prior to last November’s election, leadership at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services prepared briefing materials for the transition staff of the winning candidate. That briefing book, HHS Presidential Transition Agency Landing Team Book, provides background material that HHS leadership believed would be useful for the incoming president’s transition team. The book addresses a number of issues of importance to NAUH and the nation’s private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals. That 118-page book is now publicly available; find it here

Urban Hospitals in ACOS Better at Reducing Some Readmissions Rates

A new study has found that hospitals located in metropolitan areas that participate in accountable care organizations are doing a better job than other hospitals of reducing 30-day readmissions rates for Medicare patients who originally were discharged into skilled nursing facilities. It appears this improved performance can be attributed to two things: better discharge planning and better coordination with the skilled nursing facilities. To learn more go here to see the study “ACO-Affiliated Hospitals Reduced Rehospitalizations from Skilled Nursing Facilities Faster Than Other Hospitals.”

ACOs Serving High Proportions of Racial and Ethnic Minorities Lag in Quality Performance

Accountable care organizations that serve large numbers of minority patients score lower on Medicare quality measures than other ACOs, a new study has found. According to the study, ACOs serving larger numbers of minority patients perform worse than other ACOs on 25 of 44 Medicare performance measures – and that performance does not improve over time. The study also pointed out that the minority patients served by ACOs are generally poorer and sicker than other ACO participants. These are the very patients typically served in especially large numbers by urban safety-net hospitals. Learn more about these and other findings in [&hellip

Bundled Payments Reduce Hip, Knee Replacement Costs

Medicare’s bundled payment program for knee and hip replacements is reducing the cost of such treatments, a study has found. According to a new study in JAMA Internal Medicine, the Medicare bundled payment program, known as the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement program, has driven down the cost of the those joint replacements more than 20 percent or $5500 a case. Most of the savings have been derived through a significant decrease in the use of post-acute care, according to the study. This decrease occurred, moreover, at a time when Medicare spending on joint replacement rose five percent. Learn more from [&hellip

New Study: Social Risk Factors Affect Provider Performance and Patient Outcomes

Medicare patients with social risk factors fare worse than others in programs that measure quality and the providers that serve them also perform worse than others on quality measures. This news comes from a new report presented to Congress by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning Evaluation. The report, mandated by the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act of 2014, focused on nine Medicare payment programs: the hospital readmissions reduction program the hospital value-based purchasing program the hospital acquired condition reduction program the Medicare Advantage (Part C) quality star rating [&hellip

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