Noteworthy News

Archive for May, 2016


Socio-Economic Factors Leading Cause in Pediatric Asthma Readmissions

African-American children suffering from asthma are readmitted to hospitals more often than other children primarily because of socio-economic factors, a new study published in JAMA Pediatrics has concluded. In a study conducted in Cincinnati, according to the report, “Socioeconomic hardship variables explained 53% of the observed disparity” in readmissions among African-American children with asthma. The study also found that A total of 80% of the observed readmission disparity between African American and white children could be explained after statistically balancing available biologic, environmental, disease management, access to care, and socioeconomic and hardship variables across racial groups. These findings are especially [&hellip

Covered by Medicare But Underinsured

Nearly a quarter of the country’s 50 million Medicare beneficiaries are underinsured and ill-equipped financially to handle the program’s cost-sharing responsibilities. Or so concludes a new report from the Commonwealth Fund. According to the report, Medicare’s cost-sharing requirements – premiums, co-pays, deductibles, and services not covered by the program, such as dental and vision care – far outstrip the resources of more than 11 million low-income program participants, leaving many to spend more than 20 percent of their income on health care costs. In its new report “On Medicare But At Risk: A State-Level Analysis of Beneficiaries Who Are Underinsured [&hellip

Congressional Task Force Considers Medicaid Reforms

A House Energy and Commerce Committee group is looking at potential Medicaid reforms for 2017. The task force, consisting entirely of Republican members, was created late last year to “… strengthen and sustain the critical program for the nation’s most vulnerable citizens.” At a recent event at George Mason University, task force chairman Brett Guthrie (R-KY), cited continued high Medicaid spending as a reason to consider reform and noted that the degree to which the task force could tackle Medicaid in 2017 would depend on which party occupies the White House and controls Congress. He suggested that the task force [&hellip

Quality Program Sometimes Rewarding Low Quality

A 2015 change in Medicare’s value-based purchasing program has resulted in some hospitals with low quality scores receiving bonus payments. The 2015 change added a low-cost measure to the program, and as a result, some hospitals that performed especially well on the low-cost measure received bonuses even though their other quality scores were low. The new study “Adding A Spending Metric To Medicare’s Value-Based Purchasing Program Rewarded Low-Quality Hospitals,” published recently in the journal Health Affairs, found that “…the new emphasis on spending rewarded not only low-spending hospitals but some low-quality hospitals as well.” Go here to learn more about how Medicare’s change [&hellip

Affordability a Challenge for Many Newly Insured

Many Americans who have obtained private health insurance through the Affordable Care Act continue to have problems affording health care. According to a Kaiser Family Foundation report based on focus groups six states, low-income individuals with new private insurance report continued problems with: medical debt affording care that is not covered by their insurance plans handling out-of-pocket expenses, including deductibles unexpected bills for treatment they thought was covered Such patients pose a challenge for many urban safety-net hospitals because of their inability to afford their co-pays and deductibles, leaving these hospitals with unexpected uncompensated care and bad debt. Because they [&hellip

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