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Long-Awaited 340B Guidance Withdrawn

The long-awaited “guidance” that was expected to bring potentially major changes to the federal section 340B prescription drug discount program has been withdrawn by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health Resources and Services Administration. The final guidance, based on proposed guidance released in mid-2015, was expected to redefine the patients, providers, and prescription drugs eligible to participate in the 340B program. The document was thought to be in the final stages of review by the Office of Management and Budget. Virtually all urban safety-net hospitals are eligible for and participate in the 340B program and it is essential [&hellip

A New Approach to Treating the Underserved

Last month Congress passed the Expanding Capacity for Health Outcomes Act. The new law calls for the U.S. Department of Health and Human services to study a New Mexico project that employs distance learning to enhance the ability of the medical community to serve medically underserved areas. Launched by the University of New Mexico in 2003, Project ECHO takes advantage of telehealth techniques to employ medical specialists who consult via videoconference with primary care providers. This approach can be employed to help patients in rural and underserved rural areas and to assist those with limited mobility who have difficulty traveling [&hellip

Defining “Success” in Addressing Social Determinants of Health

With a growing number of programs designed to address the social determinants of individuals’ health care challenges, the question arises as to how to define “success” in those approaches. A recent article on the Health Affairs Blog addresses this question by illustrating the many variables that go into determining what constitutes “success” and suggesting that success be viewed from a number of perspectives, including: success for entire communities success from the perspective of individual patients success based on the effectiveness of addressing specific social needs (such as housing, transportation, or food security) The article also describes the different ways that success can [&hellip

Academies Completes Work on Social Risk Factors in Health Care

Completing its assignment from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine has published its fifth and final report on social risk factors that affect health outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries and how to account for those risk factors in Medicare payments. Among other things, the report notes that Although VBP [value-based purchasing] programs have catalyzed health care providers and plans to address social risk factors in health care delivery through their focus on improving health care outcomes and controlling costs, the role of social risk factors [&hellip

More Evidence Supports Shortcomings of Medicare Readmissions Penalties

A new study supports the belief that Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program is unfair to hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients. A study published in the journal Surgery found that hospitals that serve larger numbers of minority patients have higher 30-day and 90-day readmissions rates for patients who undergo colorectal surgery than other hospitals. According to the study, 65 percent of the increased risk of readmission can be attributed to “patient factors,” as opposed to hospital factors, with study data suggesting that such factors include income, race, and insurance status. NAUH has long maintained that Medicare’s hospital [&hellip

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