Noteworthy News

Archive for November, 2013


Moody’s Cites DSH Loss, Other Causes for Dim 2014 Outlook for Non-Profit Hospitals

Non-profit hospitals will struggle in 2014 in the face of shrinking patient volume and slumping revenue growth according to Moody’s, the bond-rating agency. Moody’s expects non-profit hospital margins to shrink, and one of the causes of that shrinking for some hospitals will be the loss of Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicare DSH), as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.   The shifting of care from inpatient to outpatient settings also will contribute to shrinking margins for non-profit hospitals. Because urban safety-net hospitals are all non-profit and receive Medicare DSH payments, this problem is more likely to affect these providers. For [&hellip

Enrolling Homeless in Medicaid Poses Challenges, Offers Hope

Enrolling the homeless in Medicaid poses numerous logistical challenges for government, providers, and caregivers but also offers the prospect of improving the lives of those who gain access to care. Many low-income, homeless adults will be eligible for Medicaid for the first time in states that expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, but enrolling them in the program can be difficult:  they can be hard to find, hard to convince to apply, and hard to enroll because they lack such basics as a mailing address and telephone number. Yet bringing health care to such individuals could greatly improve [&hellip

A Closer Look at Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

The Medicare hospital readmissions reduction program is one of the more prominent components of the Affordable Care Act. Too many Medicare patients require readmission to the hospital too quickly after their discharge, critics maintain, and reducing those admissions would both improve the health of those patients and reduce Medicare’s costs.  Hospitals are employing a number of approaches to reducing Medicare readmissions and early evidence has produced cause for optimism. In a new health policy brief, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the journal Health Affairs describe the readmissions reduction program, present a number of the strategies hospitals are employing to [&hellip

Urban Hospitals Taking Matters Into Their Own Hands

In the nation’s largest city, hospitals are not waiting for their uninsured patients to figure out if they qualify for Medicaid or subsidized health insurance; they are leading those patients through those processes themselves. In New York City, hospitals are aggressively reaching out to uninsured patients – in some cases, even as they wait in emergency rooms for care – to see if they can help them secure health insurance.  The hospitals, recognizing the imminent loss of significant amounts of Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) payments and the need to compensate for this loss, as much as possible, with new [&hellip

Safety-Net Hospitals Bear Brunt of Medicare Penalties

Hospitals that serve the largest proportion of low-income patients are suffering the greatest financial penalties under Medicare’s value-based purchasing program. Collectively, hospitals that serve the most low-income patients are seeing their Medicare payments reduced 0.09 percent during year two of the Medicare program while hospitals that serve the fewest low-income patients have seen their Medicare payments rise 0.06 percent, according to a new study by a Harvard School of Public Health professor. Medicare’s value-based purchasing program, mandated by the Affordable Care Act, bases penalties and bonuses on 24 quality measures. The author of the study suspects that the performance of [&hellip

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