Noteworthy News

Archive for June, 2013


MedPAC: Readmissions Penalties Unfairly Target Safety-Net Hospitals

Medicare penalties for hospital readmissions are inappropriately hurting hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients. That was the message MedPAC conveyed to Congress last week. The agency, which advises Congress on Medicare reimbursement matters, expressed concern earlier this year about the effect of Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program on safety-net hospitals, and it articulated that concern more formally in its June report to Congress. As reported by Kaiser Health News, MedPAC found that hospitals where fewer than 3 percent of Medicare patients were low income received an average penalty of 0.21 percent. Hospitals where more than 18 percent [&hellip

A Graphic Look at Medicaid Expansion

The Stateline web site features a number of new, excellent graphs that depict various aspects of Affordable Care Act-inspired Medicaid expansion. The graphs show where expansion is moving forward, where it has been rejected, and where decisions have yet to be made; where Americans get their health insurance today; who might be eligible for Medicaid; and the cost of Medicaid expansion. Find the graphs here, on the Stateline web site

Health Reform: More Than Medicaid Expansion

While Medicaid expansion is currently receiving most of the attention of people watching the progress of implementation of the Affordable Care Act, other aspects of the health reform law also are now well under way as well. Currently, states are developing their health insurance exchanges (or working with federal officials who are developing some state exchanges); upgrading their IT systems to meet new federal Medicaid enrollment standards and to prepare for implementation of the exchanges; reviewing and approving new health insurance offerings; considering new “scope of practice” guidelines for nurse practitioners and physician assistants to supplement their current supply of [&hellip

Hospitals Work to Turn Down the Volume

Hospitals across the country are implementing new measures to make their facilities quieter in response to one of their patients’ biggest complaints:  too much noise. They also are doing so in response to the Affordable Care Act-mandated Medicare value-based purchasing program under which hospitals can suffer financial penalties when patients complain about noise. The National Association of Urban Hospitals has conveyed to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) its objection to the importance the value-based purchasing program places on noise in hospitals.  In a June 2012 letter, NAUH wrote that We think it is inappropriate…to compare the degree [&hellip

The Private Approach to Medicaid Expansion

In recent months a number of states, led by Arkansas, have begun exploring a new approach to expanding their Medicaid programs. Instead of enrolling more people in their Medicaid fee-for-service programs or mandating their enrollment in Medicaid managed care plans, these states are considering attempting to use new federal Medicaid funds to subsidize the purchase of private insurance for newly eligible Medicaid recipients.  The insurance purchases would be made through the new health insurance exchanges that are a major component of the Affordable Care Act. This approach to privatizing Medicaid appears to be appealing to conservative lawmakers opposed to expanding [&hellip

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