Noteworthy News

Archive for November, 2013


More Hospitals Lose Than Win in Latest Medicare Quality Reconciliation

1451 hospitals are being penalized under Medicare’s value-based purchasing system while 1231 hospitals will receive bonuses for their performance under the same program. These are the results after Medicare tallied hospitals’ scores at the end of the second year of the Affordable Care Act-mandated program. In many cases, the gains or losses are minimal:  less than one-fifth of one percent for half of all hospitals.  The biggest bonus, 0.88 percent, will go to a heart hospital in Arkansas while the biggest loss, a cut of 1.14 percent, will be suffered by a New Mexico hospital. Faring best under the program [&hellip

Not Enough Residency Slots to Go Around

While medical schools are rising to the challenge of an anticipated future physician shortage by turning out more graduates than ever, the nation’s system of medical residencies is not keeping pace, leaving some medical school graduates with nowhere to train for future medical practice. Medicare, the primary underwriter of graduate medical education, has not increased its support since Congress capped such spending in 1997.  The number of states supporting graduate medical education through their Medicaid programs is on a slow decline, and more are considering eliminating future support.  Some states have increased their funding, others are pursuing private sector support, [&hellip

Trend of Hospital Closings Likely to Continue

The number of hospitals in the U.S. has been declining for many years and that decline is expected to continue in the future, driven by a combination of health care economics, demographic trends, and political forces. This trend, widely thought to be a problem mostly for rural areas, will continue in the nation’s cities as well.  In many places, hospital closings will affect not only the residents of abandoned communities but the hospitals those people end up turning to as well. Among the urban areas hit hard by hospital closings are Detroit, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C. Read about hospital [&hellip

Some States Face Double Loss: No Medicaid Expansion Plus DSH Cut

When passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act called for significant cuts in future Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicare DSH) based on the expectation that hospitals would have far fewer of the uninsured patients such payments helped subsidize.  They would have fewer uninsured patients because of the reform law’s Medicaid expansion provisions and enhanced access to affordable health insurance. But then the Supreme Court made Medicaid expansion optional instead of mandatory for states. Today, 25 states have chosen either not to expand their Medicaid programs or have not decided what to do, but their hospitals still face the prospect [&hellip

ACA Drives Rise in Medicaid Enrollment

While some aspects of implementation of the Affordable Care Act continue to struggle with technical problems, one aspect is moving ahead effectively:  enrollment in Medicaid is on the rise. More than 400,000 newly eligible people in just ten states have enrolled in Medicaid since October 1.  The ten states are among the 25 that have decided to expand their Medicaid programs in accordance with provisions of the federal health care reform law.  Other states either have chosen not to expand their programs or are still undecided about expansion. The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) supports Medicaid expansion. The Congressional [&hellip

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