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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

MedPAC Meets

Last week the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission met in Washington, D.C. During two days of meetings, MedPAC commissioners addressed the following issues: accountable care organizations Part B drug payment policies behavioral health care health care reform quality measures measures of hospital use for long stay nursing facility residents biosimilars in Medicare Part D To see issue briefs on these subjects and the presentations offered during the meetings, go here, to MedPAC’s web site

New Study Questions 30-Day Readmissions as Measure of Hospital Quality

Hospital readmissions within 30 days of discharge may not be a good way of judging the quality of care hospitals provide, a new study suggests. Seven days may be more like it. According to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs, the impact of the quality of care a hospital provides appears to be most evident immediately upon patients’ discharge from the hospital. Further, the study suggests, … most readmissions after the seventh day postdischarge were explained by community- and household-level factors beyond hospitals’ control. The researchers’ conclusion? Shorter intervals of seven or fewer days might improve the [&hellip

A City Tackles Health Disparities

As the journal Health Affairs recently noted, “While 97 percent of health care costs are spent on medical care delivered in hospitals, only 10 percent of what determines life-expectancy takes place within the four walls of a health care facility. Where we live, work, and play each day drives our health and well-being.” In this context, the Health Affairs recently examined how Baltimore and its city Health Department are tackling a number of issues that affect the health of the city’s residents, including the city’s high infant mortality rate, violence, public health concerns, the opioid crisis, public safety and the [&hellip

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