Noteworthy News

Archive for September, 2015


MedPAC Looks at Various Issues at September Public Meeting

The independent federal agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues held its monthly public meeting in Washington, D.C. During the two days of meetings, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) discussed its work on six specific issues: developing a unified payment system for post-acute care a preliminary analysis of Medicare Advantage encounter data for Part B services factors affecting variation in Medicare Advantage plan star ratings Medicare drug spending emergency department services provided at stand-alone facilities payments from drug and device manufacturers to physicians and teaching hospitals Each discussion was accompanied by an issue brief and a presentation; find [&hellip

Medicare Proposes Addressing Health Disparities

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has unveiled its first plan to reduce health disparities among Medicare beneficiaries. The plan, produced by CMS’s Office of Minority Health and titled “The CMS Equity Plan for Improving Quality in Medicare,” will seek to improve care for …Medicare populations that experience disproportionately high burdens of disease, lower quality of care, and barriers to accessing care. These include racial and ethnic minorities, sexual and gender minorities, people with disabilities, and those living in rural areas. This is the very population served in disproportionate numbers by many of the nation’s private, non-profit urban [&hellip

NAUH Comments on Proposed Joint Replacement Program

Earlier this summer the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation proposed a new “Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacements Model” (CCJR) program designed to foster better coordination of services and efficiency in the delivery of knee and hip replacements. In a formal comment letter to CMS, the National Association of Urban Hospitals expressed support for the concept underlying the program but expressed concern about five specific aspects of the proposed program: the program’s savings assumptions the assignment of virtually all risk to hospitals the breadth of services for which hospitals would be [&hellip

Socio-Economic Status Affects Health, Study Shows

A new study by California state public health officials has concluded that demographic factors have a major influence on individuals’ health. Among the factors specifically cited in the study are education, employment status, gender identity, race and ethnicity, income, and sexual orientation. In Portrait of Promise: The California Statewide Plan to Promote Health and Mental Health Equity, the California Department of Public Health’s Office of Health Equity identifies and describes the socio-economic factors that influence health status and proposes interventions for overcoming those challenges. NAUH has long pointed to such challenges as one of the chief distinctions between private, non-profit [&hellip

Feds Issue Proposed Guidance for 340B Program

The federal Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has issued proposed guidelines governing its section 340B Drug Pricing Program. The 340B program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to provide discounted drugs for qualified providers to dispense to low-income patients, has become controversial in recent years amid a significant increase in the number of eligible providers and allegations by the pharmaceutical companies that the drugs are not being used for their intended purpose. The proposed guidance released by HRSA seeks to clarify a number of the concerns that have been raised about the program. Among other considerations, these guidelines address entities that [&hellip

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