Noteworthy News

Archive for April, 2013


MedPAC Sees Limits in ACOs

One of the foremost advocates of accountable care organizations (ACOs), MedPAC is now beginning to see the limits of this approach to delivering health care services. At MedPAC’s latest meeting, members of the independent agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters discussed some of the shortcomings of ACOs, including limited ability to deliver savings; unwillingness to impose penalties on participants when they fail to meet savings goals; inability to manage care; and more. Learn more about what one of the nation’s most important sources of ideas on health care delivery and payment thinks about ACOs in this CQ HealthBeat [&hellip

Sequestration Begins; Effects Coming

Although sequestration officially began on March 1, official accounting that will lead to cuts only began on April 1. As of that date, health care providers of all kinds face cuts in their Medicare payments from the federal government. Doctors, hospitals, pharmacies, and other face cuts, as do medical education programs, bad debt reimbursement, and others. Because many of these payments are made in periodic lump sums rather than based on individual services rendered, their effects will not be felt immediately but will definitely be felt in the near future. Because of their heavy reliance on reimbursement from public payers, [&hellip

NAUH Members Among Top Hospitals

Four National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) members have been cited among the top 100 in the nation by Becker’s Hospital Review. The four included in Becker’s “100 Great Hospitals in America” are: Baystate Medical Center (Springfield, MA) Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania (Philadelphia) Thomas Jefferson University Hospital (Philadelphia) Yale-New Haven Hospital (CT) In citing these and other hospitals, Becker’s noted that These organizations continually improve upon themselves and are innovators for medical treatments, research, technology and care delivery. These hospitals are home to medical breakthroughs and act as anchors of health within their respective communities. Congratulations Baystate, Penn, [&hellip

ER Overuse May be Overstated

The common perception that many hospital emergency rooms are significantly overused by people not suffering genuine medical emergencies may not be accurate according to a new report published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. According to the study “Comparison of Presenting Complaint vs. Discharge Diagnosis for Identifying ‘Nonemergency’ Emergency Department Visits,” many ER patients who turn out not to be suffering genuine medical emergencies present with virtually the same symptoms as patients who are suffering true emergencies.   This suggests that it may be unreasonable in at least some cases for patients to determine whether their medical problems genuinely [&hellip

Medicare Penalties Hurt Safety-Net Hospitals More, Some Argue

Penalties imposed on hospitals deemed to have excessive readmissions of Medicare patients may disproportionately target safety-net hospitals, some health care experts maintain. Such penalties are part of Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program. According to the recent New York Times article “Hospitals Question Medicare Rules on Readmissions,” “…health policy experts and hospital executives say the penalties, which went into effect in October, unfairly target hospitals that treat the sickest patients or the patients facing the greatest socioeconomic challenges.”  The article goes on to cite a recent report in the New England Journal of Medicine, noting that “Large academic medical centers and [&hellip

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