Noteworthy News

Archive for December, 2013


CMS Seeks to Slow “Meaningful Use” Timetable

The federal government has proposed extending the deadlines for health care providers to demonstrate “meaningful use” of health information technology and receive supplemental Medicare and Medicaid payments to help pay for the acquisition and implementation of that technology. As proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Stage 2 deadlines for demonstrating use of electronic health records, originally set for 2014, would be pushed back to 2016 and Stage 3 deadlines, currently in 2016, would begin in 2017 for qualified providers. Funding for the supplemental payments comes through the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health [&hellip

NAUH Urges Support for DSH Delay Bills

The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has urged Congress to support legislation to delay the implementation of cuts in Medicare disproportionate share (Medicare DSH) and Medicaid DSH payments. In a message to all members of Congress, NAUH asked officials to support the DSH Reduction Relief Act of 2013 (H.R. 1920 in the House and S. 1555 in the Senate).   Both bills call for delaying implementation of Medicare DSH and Medicaid DSH cuts mandated by the Affordable Care Act. See NAUH’s message to Congress here

Feds Find Temporary Way to Overcome Medicaid Enrollment Problem

The problems plaguing the beleaguered web site continue to make it difficult for people to find new health insurance, but a new approach devised by the federal government will make it easier for Medicaid applicants to overcome this problem. While the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) was having trouble sending completed Medicaid and CHIP applications to the states, it continued sending them basic data from Medicaid and CHIP applications on a weekly basis primarily to help them gauge possible interest in Medicaid enrollment.  Now, it is telling states they can use this limited data to enroll such [&hellip

Hospitals, Medicare on Different Wavelength on Observation Care

Hospitals and Medicare still view Medicare observation status quite differently. Hospitals keep observation status patients longer than Medicare believes they should and provide more services to those patients.  As a result, hospitals are losing money on observation status patients, according to a new report in the Journal of the American Medical Association.  Conversely, hospitals have positive margins on the Medicare patients they admit. The findings are based on an analysis of 18 months of services to Medicare patients provided at the University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics, a 566-bed tertiary academic medical center. Find the study here, on the web [&hellip

Enough Docs to Go Around?

With nine million people expected to enroll in Medicaid in the coming year, questions are arising about whether there will be enough physicians to serve them. Across the country there has long been a shortage of physicians, and especially specialists, willing to serve Medicaid patients because of how poorly most state Medicaid programs pay those doctors.  Now, with more people than ever expected to become insured by Medicaid, it is not clear whether the existing physician pool will be able to serve them very effectively. The Affordable Care Act anticipated this problem and included a two-year increase in Medicaid payments [&hellip

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