Noteworthy News

Archive for June, 2014


NAUH Seeks Sponsors for Readmissions Bill

The National Association of Urban Hospitals has asked members of the Senate to co-sponsor the new Hospital Readmissions Program Accuracy and Accountability Bill, which seeks to add a risk-adjustment component to Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program. NAUH has long been concerned about the readmissions reduction program’s bias against hospitals that care for especially large numbers of low-income patients. A number of academic studies have now confirmed this bias and urged policy-makers to address it.  MedPAC, the independent agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters, has reached the same conclusion and recommended the same response. This new bipartisan bill, which [&hellip

Senate Bill Calls for Risk-Adjusting Medicare Readmissions Program

A new bill in the Senate would require Medicare to add a risk-adjustment component to its controversial hospital readmissions reduction program. The Hospital Readmission Program Accuracy and Accountability Act, a bipartisan bill, would compel Medicare to consider the socio-economic status of the patients a hospital serves when determining whether it should be penalized for “excessive” readmissions. The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) has long felt that the readmissions reduction program penalizes urban safety-net hospitals for conditions beyond their control, and in recent years, a number of academic and government studies have confirmed this belief.  MedPAC, too, has advised Congress [&hellip

Stop Hurting Hospitals That Serve the Poor, Congress Tells HHS

Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program is unfairly penalizing hospitals that serve especially large numbers of low-income patients, 34 members of Congress have written in a letter to recently appointed Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell and Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator Marilyn Tavenner. The letter, sponsored by Rep. James Renacci (R-Ohio), notes that while the program has …incentivized hospitals to reduce readmissions, there are some factors outside of a hospital’s control that make it difficult for the patient to avoid readmission.  The current penalty methodology…has created an unintended consequence for hospitals that service our most [&hellip

MedPAC: Keep Paying More For Medicare Primary Care Services

The federal government should continue paying extra for primary care services provided to Medicare patients, Congress has been told by its chief advisor on Medicare payment policy. According to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), the independent federal agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters, Medicare has long undervalued primary care services in comparison to specialty medical care, and in 2010 the Affordable Care Act introduced a ten percent bonus for primary care services provided to seniors through 2015. With the expiration of that bonus coming in a little more than a year, MedPAC has told Congress it should [&hellip

MedPAC Again Calls for Site-Neutral Payments

Medicare should pay for certain medical services on a site-neutral basis and not pay different rates for the same services to inpatient rehabilitation hospitals and skilled nursing facilities. Or so says MedPAC, the independent federal agency charged with advising Congress on Medicare payment policy. MedPAC has offered this recommendation in the past and presents it again in its June 2014 report to Congress. In researching this recommendation, MedPAC looked at three medical conditions in which patients recover at either rehab hospitals or skilled nursing facilities:  major joint replacement, selected hip and femur procedures, and strokes.  It found that for the [&hellip

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