Noteworthy News

Archive for March, 2012


“Medical Homes” Being Put to the Test

More states are looking to the concept of “medical homes” to improve care and reduce costs for their Medicaid population. And the federal government is so big on the concept that it’s willing to underwrite state experimentation with the medical homes approach in their Medicaid programs. While some are skeptical that the medical homes movement will save money, there appears to be considerable agreement that it produces better care and better quality of life for Medicaid patients with chronic medical conditions. Because they care for so many Medicaid patients, urban safety-net hospitals are more likely than most hospitals to become [&hellip

The Rise of the ACO

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are expected to become more prevalent as implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues. The underlying premise of ACOs is that better integrated care will be better and more economical care for patients while reducing costs for the health care system as a whole. The New York Times takes a look at how one ACO works and the potential clinical and financial benefits it seeks to produce in this article

Sequestration to Hit Hospitals Hardest

When the sequestration cuts mandated by last year’s Budget Control Act take effect – a two percent across-the-board cut in all Medicare payments plus other health care cuts – hospitals will be hit hardest, according to the Congressional Budget Office (CBO). In a new analysis, the CBO says the cuts will cost hospitals $33 billion in Medicare inpatient payments over nine years and another $10.2 billion in Medicare inpatient payments. Read the brief CBO analysis here

Exchange Rule Emphasizes Flexibility

A new federal regulation governing the structure and operation of health insurance exchanges (HIEs) emphasizes flexibility, giving states considerable leeway in how they structure their exchanges so long as they achieve certain federal goals. HIEs are one of the centerpieces of the Affordable Care Act, the health care reform law passed in 2009.  They will begin operation in 2014. The exchanges are designed to offer one-stop shopping for individual consumers and small businesses to purchase affordable health insurance. States are free to establish their own exchanges or participate in a federal HIE.  Progress among states in creating their own exchanges [&hellip

Reform May Cost Less, Insure Fewer People

The health care reform law passed in 2009 will cost less than earlier predictions but insure fewer people, according to a new analysis of the Affordable Care Act recently completed by the Congressional Budget Office. CBO attributes the changes to the still-weak economy, changes in the reform law enacted by Congress since the last CBO analysis, and changes in the agency’s own estimating methodology. Fewer insured people will probably mean more uncompensated care for urban safety-net hospitals – a challenge in its own right that would be exacerbated by the scheduled reductions in Medicare disproportionate share (Medicare DSH) and Medicaid [&hellip

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