Noteworthy News

Archive for February, 2018


Lay Outreach Workers Reduce Readmissions

A community hospital in Kentucky has found that employing lay outreach workers to assist patients recently discharged from the hospital can significantly reduce hospital readmissions. In a research project, the hospital identified high-risk patients and, upon their discharge from the hospital, assigned lay outreach workers to help those patients with matters such as providing transportation, assisting during follow-up medical appointments, and navigating the health care system.  With this help, the hospital experienced a 48 percent reduction in 30-day readmissions. While the hospital needed to spend money to employ the outreach workers, the effort reduced its likelihood of being assessed penalties [&hellip

States Adopt New Tools to Control Rising Medicaid Drug Costs

Faced with continued increases in the cost of prescription drugs in their Medicaid programs, states are pursuing new approaches in attempts to control those rising costs. In the past states have employed approaches such as beneficiary prescription limits, negotiating supplemental rebates from manufacturers, requiring prior authorization, implementing state maximum allowable cost programs, and operating preferred drug lists. Recently, however, states are turning to a number of new mechanisms to limit the growth of Medicaid prescription drug costs, including: introducing spending growth caps for Medicaid prescription drug costs, with unplanned increases in spending triggering a closer look at overall drug spending [&hellip

Community Health Center Patients Often Have Housing Problems

Nearly half of the patients served by community health centers have housing problems, according to a new report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association. Among those problems:  two or more homes in the past year alone, difficulty paying their rent or mortgage, and homelessness.  Some have homes that are not their own. Practitioners need to understand this and help patients address their housing challenges, the study suggests, because housing concerns often prevent such patients from complying with medical instructions. Learn more about how housing challenges affect health and health care in the JAMA report “Prevalence of Housing [&hellip

Chronic Care Program Shows Early Encouraging Results

Medicare’s chronic care management program appears to be reducing the cost of caring for participants while improving their quality of life. The program, which pays physicians for non-face-to-face services they provided to coordinate care for their Medicare patients with at least two chronic medical conditions, was introduced in 2015.  An analysis of its performance found that payments of up to $50 a month …improved patient satisfaction and adherence to recommended therapies, improved clinician efficiency, and decreased hospitalizations and emergency department (ED) visits. While Medicare paid roughly $52 million in chronic care management fees during the initial program period, the program [&hellip

Administration Slows Movement Toward Medicare Quality Payments

The Trump administration is slowing Medicare’s movement toward making greater use of quality in its payment system. The Obama administration’s goal of having 50 percent of Medicare payments made through a quality or alternative payment model by the end of 2018 now appears to be out of sight.  Instead, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has partially canceled two bundled payment programs – one for joint replacement and another for cardiac rehabilitation programs – and announced that before introducing new programs it wants to take a closer look at the successes and failures of the alternative payment model programs [&hellip

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