Noteworthy News

Archive for March, 2013


Bill Would Create New Residency Positions

A new bill before Congress would create 15,000 new Medicare-sponsored medical residency spots – the first such new positions in 15 years. Half of those slots would be for physicians training for careers in primary care. The bill, which has bipartisan sponsorship, would cost between $9 billion and $10 billion over the next 10 years. Medical residents play a major role in caring for low-income and uninsured patients in many of the nation’s private, non-profit urban safety-net hospitals. Read more about the possibility of new medical residency slots in this article from The Hill

MedPAC Calls for Medicare Doc Pay Fix

The federal agency that advises Congress on Medicare reimbursement issues has identified fixing the manner in which Medicare pays physicians as its number one policy priority. In its annual report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission made a wide range of policy recommendations but singled out the so-called Medicare doc fix as its top priority.  The cost of such a solution, it noted, has been reduced by the Congressional Budget Office from a previously estimated $300 billion to $138 billion. MedPAC also noted that it has offered recommendations for achieving $100 billion worth of savings but that those recommendations [&hellip

DSH Losses Will Hurt Safety-Net Hospitals

Safety-net and other hospitals will suffer financially when Affordable Care Act-mandated cuts in Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicare DSH) and Medicaid DSH payments begin taking effect in FY 2014. So concludes Moody’s, the bond-rating agency. The losses will be especially harmful to hospitals in states that do not expand their Medicaid programs and to safety-net hospitals, Moody’s believes. Hospitals face other specific challenges as well as a result of these cuts. The National Association of Urban Hospitals has pointed out the potential impact of the loss of Medicare DSH payments, in particular, on urban safety-net hospitals.  Its September 2012 [&hellip

New Medicare Program Readmitted for Additional Work

Medicare’s new hospital readmissions reduction program has itself been readmitted for extra work after the federal government concluded that faulty calculations have resulted in inaccurate penalties and payments. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that as part of a recent reexamination of hospitals’ performance under the program, more than 1200 hospitals were overpenalized and more than 200 will have to pay larger penalties than they were originally assessed. The readmissions reduction program is being credited with a decrease in Medicare hospital readmissions across the country.  At the same time, however, a report in the New England [&hellip

Medicaid Funds Could Pay for Private Insurance

Could enhanced Medicaid funding provided to states under the Affordable Care Act be used to pay for private health insurance for low-income people? The state of Arkansas has received federal approval for such an approach, which could potentially foster greater continuity of care for low-income individuals and families that move back and forth between private insurance and Medicaid as their employment status changes.  These are often the very types of patients served in large numbers by private urban safety-net hospitals. What are the issues involved in using federal Medicaid funds in this manner?  Is it even legal?  These questions and [&hellip

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