Noteworthy News

Archive for February, 2013


New Study Questions Link Between Readmissions and Outcomes

A new study suggests that hospitals with higher Medicare readmissions rates do not necessarily produce better results for their patients. The study, “Relationship Between Hospital Readmissions and Mortality Rates for Patients Hospitalized With Acute Myocardial Infarction, Heart Failure, or Pneumonia,” published in this month’s Journal of the American Medical Association, contradicts past research that supported the assertion of some in the medical community that hospitals that are more aggressive about readmitting patients have better long-term results in patient care. The new study found no significant link between readmissions and mortality rates.  Some who have examined the new study, however, reject [&hellip

Price Tag on Medicare Doc Fix Falls

The major obstacle to solving the perennial problem of the Medicare “doc fix” has been the high cost of such a solution.  The conventional wisdom has been that a solution would cost hundreds of billions of dollars – additional federal spending that would need to be offset through a combination of cuts in other areas or new revenue. Now comes word that the cost of addressing the sustainable growth rate problem – the formula that consistently calls for reducing Medicare payments to physicians – may not be as great as many feared. According to a new analysis by the Congressional [&hellip

NAUH Takes Position on New Medicare DSH Payments

The National Association of Urban Hospitals is asking Congress to direct the administration to delay implementation of Affordable Care Act-mandated changes in the Medicare disproportionate share hospital payment program (Medicare DSH scheduled to take effect on October 1. One of the key factors in determining future Medicare DSH payments to hospitals is how much uncompensated care those hospitals provide.  According to the new NAUH position paper “Implementation of the New Medicare DSH Policy Under the Affordable Care Act,” different providers define uncompensated care in different ways, only some providers report local, county, and state revenue intended to help offset some [&hellip

A New Spin on Geographic Differences in Medicare Spending

Contradicting the increasingly prevalent view that differences in how medicine is practiced in different parts of the country primarily account for geographic variations in Medicare spending, an economist has now asserted that socio-economic and health factors, not geography, play a greater role in those variations. According to an economist with the Federal Reserve Bank, socio-economic and health factors like smoking, obesity, and diabetes play a greater role in variations in Medicare spending than geography alone.  The geography argument has been advanced in recent years primarily by the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice. The National Association of Urban [&hellip

NAUH Projects Hospital DSH Losses

The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has developed a model that projects how much Medicare disproportionate share (Medicare DSH) revenue individual hospitals may lose beginning in FY 2014 under the terms of the Affordable Care Act. That model shows that many private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals will lose more than $1 million in Medicare DSH revenue in FY 2014 alone. According to the 2010 health reform law, Medicare DSH payments are to be cut 75 percent, with some of this reduction to be redistributed to hospitals based on how much uncompensated care they provide. When consultants to the Centers [&hellip

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