Noteworthy News


ACA Improves Access to Surgical Services

The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has improved access to surgical services for Medicaid patients. Or so says a new study published in JAMA Surgery, which reports that In this study of patients with 1 of 5 common surgical conditions, Medicaid expansion was associated with a 7.5–percentage point increase in insurance coverage at the time of hospital admission. The policy was also associated with patients obtaining care earlier in their disease course and with an increased probability of receiving optimal care for those conditions. As a result, the study found, The ACA’s Medicaid expansion was associated with increased insurance coverage [&hellip

NQF to Medicaid: Do a Better Job of Addressing Social Determinants of Health

State Medicaid programs need to do a better job of measuring and addressing the social risks their patients face, the National Quality Forum has asserted in a new report. To do so, NQF concluded, state Medicaid programs should “…work more with healthcare organizations and communities to better manage social disparities.” How? According to the NQF, state Medicaid programs should: Acknowledge that Medicaid has a role in addressing social needs that impact health. Create a comprehensive, accessible, routinely updated list of local community resources for healthcare organizations. Harmonize tools that assess social needs that impact health to ensure that they collect [&hellip

Docs Not Scoring Performance Bonuses

Relatively few physicians will receive Medicare pay-for-performance bonuses under Medicare’s value-based modifier program in 2018. The question now is whether this is because of uninspiring performance or indifference to the program. Of the approximately 1.1 million clinicians who participate in Medicare, only two percent – 22,000 – will receive pay increases in 2018 based on their 2016 performance.  Those raises will range from 6.6 percent to 19.9 percent. Most doctors will receive neither bonuses nor penalties. And roughly 300,000 failed to submit the data required by the program.  In the past they would have been penalized for this failure but [&hellip

Medicaid in the Spotlight

State-option work requirements. A cap on federal spending. New flexibility for states to address eligibility, benefits, and provider payments. Rolling back the Affordable Care Act’s eligibility expansion. Medicaid is under the policy microscope in Washington these days in ways it has not been for many years as the new administration continues to work to put its stamp on the federal government’s major program to provide health care to low-income Americans. These and other possible changes are of great interest to the nation’s private urban safety-net hospitals because these hospitals care for so many more Medicaid and low-income patients than the [&hellip

Safety-Net Hospitals Under the Gun

Safety-net hospitals across the country – including private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals – face a new challenge:  adjusting to several cuts in the supplemental payments they receive from the federal government to help them serve the low-income residents of the communities in which they are located. First there is a $2 billion cut in Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH).  These are payments made to hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients.  These payments help safety-net hospitals with the unreimbursed expenses they incur caring for such patients.  This cut, mandated by the Affordable Care Act but twice [&hellip

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