Noteworthy News

Archive for Medicare

 

Serving High-Risk Patients Leads to VPB Penalties

Practices that served more socially high-risk patients had lower quality and lower costs, and practices that served more medically high-risk patients had lower quality and higher costs. These patterns were associated with fewer bonuses and more penalties for high-risk practices. So concludes a new study that looked at the results of the first year of the Medicare Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier Program. The study looked at 899 physician practices serving more than five million Medicare beneficiaries, and it points to the continuing challenge of how best to serve patients who pose greater socio-economic risks than the average patient. Urban safety-net [&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

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

ACOs, APMs Proliferate

The number of accountable care organizations and alternative payment models is growing, as is the number of people served by such programs. According to a new study published on the Health Affairs Blog, there are more than 900 ACOs across the country – a 10 percent increase over a year ago. 32 million Americans are served by ACOs today – 2.2 million more than a year ago.  Among them, 59 percent are served through commercial contracts, 29 percent by Medicare contracts, and 12 percent under Medicaid contracts.  ACO growth is greatest in metropolitan areas, the states with the greatest ACO [&hellip

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