Noteworthy News

Archive for October, 2015


Members of Congress Seek Increased Medicare Rates

Members of Congress have written to Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) acting administrator Andrew Slavitt asking him to reconsider his agency’s proposal to reduce the rates Medicare will pay providers for outpatient services. In July, CMS proposed reducing those outpatient rates 0.2 percent in calendar year 2016. The letter notes that According to MedPAC, Medicare already pays hospitals less than 88 cents on the dollar for outpatient services and this rule will make that situation worse for our constituents – both hospitals and patients alike. The letter also states that Medicare already pays providers less than the cost [&hellip

NAUH Comments to Ways and Means Committee on Indirect Medical Education Bill

At the request of the Health Subcommittee of the House Ways and Means Committee, the National Association of Urban Hospitals has written to the committee to convey its views on H.R. 3292, the Medicare IME Pool Act of 2015. In its letter, NAUH expressed concern about a number of aspects of the proposed legislation, including: its separation of indirect medical education (IME) payments from Medicare costs by making those payments as lump-sum rather than add-on payments; its failure to recognize teaching intensity in the hospitals at which medical residents train as part of the basis of IME payments; and its [&hellip

GAO Questions Impact of Medicare Value-Based Purchasing Program

Medicare’s value-based purchasing program may not be having much of an impact on the quality of care hospitals provide, according to a new report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. According to a GAO summary of its report Hospital Value-Based Purchasing: Initial Results Show Modest Effects on Medicare Payments and No Apparent Change in Quality-of-Care Trends, GAO’s analysis found no apparent shift in existing trends in hospitals’ performance on the quality measures included in the HVBP [note: hospital value-based purchasing] program during the program’s initial years. The agency did note, however, that …shifts in quality trends could emerge in the [&hellip

Study Considers How Best to Prevent Readmissions

A five-year study performed by researchers from the Yale School of Public Health has found that while many hospitals have successfully reduced the rate of readmission for their Medicare patients, few specific strategies have emerged as best practices for tackling this challenge. In fact, only one strategy appears to be universally effective: discharging patients with their follow-up appointments already made. Beyond that, researchers found that hospitals lowered their readmission rates by employing a number of tools and that most successful hospitals employed at least three such tools – although which tools they employed differed and more tools did not produce [&hellip

Hospitals, Especially Safety-Net Hospitals, Struggle With Heart Failure Readmissions

For all the emphasis on reducing readmissions to hospitals, providers continue to struggle to prevent readmissions of patients suffering heart failure. Or so concludes a new study published in the Journal of Cardiac Failure. According to the study, there has been only a slight reduction in readmissions rates for heart failure patients over the past four years. In addition, Fierce Healthcare reports that …2014 research revealed that safety-net hospitals and those with largely low-income patient populations are at particular risk for heart failure readmissions; patients from lower-income neighborhoods, researchers found, were 17 percent more likely to be readmitted within six [&hellip

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