Noteworthy News

Archive for July, 2013


NAUH Comments on Proposed Medicaid DSH Regulation

In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has offered comments on a proposed regulation to cut future Medicaid disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicaid DSH). NAUH’s letter urges CMS to delay all Medicaid DSH cuts for one year, as proposed in the administration’s proposed FY 2014 budget.  The cuts are mandated by the Affordable Care Act. The letter also urges CMS to consider modifying selected aspects of the methodology it has proposed for implementing the Medicaid DSH cut. Read NAUH’s entire comment letter here

Low-Income Patients Prefer Hospital ERs

Even when they have health insurance, many low-income patients prefer receiving care in hospital emergency rooms rather than private physician offices or clinics. According to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs, low-income patients cite convenience, cost, and quality as reasons for their preference. These findings emerge at a time when government and insurers are working hard to find ways to reduce overuse of costly hospital emergency room services. Emergency room overuse is especially a problem for urban safety-net hospitals, many of which have among the busiest emergency facilities in the regions they serve. Read more about the [&hellip

Closer Scrutiny Needed for Medicaid Managed Care?

With Medicaid expansion about to begin in many states and managed care expected to be a major tool in that expansion, advocates are suggesting that states need to do a better job of monitoring the performance of the managed care plans that serve their Medicaid population. Currently, according to advocates, different states monitor their Medicaid managed care plans for different aspects of their performance and some states do a better job than others.  With relatively few federal standards, state-to-state comparisons either are difficult or impossible. Thirty-six states and the District of Columbia have at least some Medicaid patients enrolled in [&hellip

MedPAC Focuses on Improving Payment Practices

The latest report from the federal agency charged with advising Congress on Medicare payment practices explores a number of new approaches to driving down nation-wide Medicare costs while improving the quality of the care for which Medicare pays. In its most recent report to Congress, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) addressed wide variety of payment issues, including bundled payments, low-cost options to hospitalization, how best to identify overpriced services, and whether introducing greater competition into Medicare could help reduce costs.  MedPAC also addressed potential refinements of the hospital readmissions reduction program and examines how hospice benefits are used. The [&hellip

Mandate Delay May Drive Up Medicaid Enrollment

The Obama administration’s decision to delay requiring businesses with 50 or more workers to provide health insurance to their employees or risk penalties may result in an increase in Medicaid enrollment, especially in states that are expanding Medicaid eligibility. Many of the businesses just given a temporary reprieve from the insurance mandate are in the retail and food service industries and many of their lower-paid workers may qualify for Medicaid in expansion states, observers believe. For the nation’s urban safety-net hospitals, this may mean more patients for which they are underpaid by chronically underfunded state Medicaid programs and larger Medicaid [&hellip

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