Noteworthy News

Archive for health care reform


Supply of Doctors to be Tested by the Newly Insured

With various aspects of the Affordable Care Act helping millions of people obtain health insurance, it remains to be seen whether there will be enough doctors to care for them. In particular, primary care physicians, dentists, and mental health professionals could be in short supply, leaving some newly insured patients struggling to find providers to help them exercise their new access to care.  Many parts of the country, in fact, have been certified by the federal government as health professional shortage areas.  This includes areas served by many urban safety-net hospitals, some of which also are located in or near [&hellip

Moody’s Cites DSH Loss, Other Causes for Dim 2014 Outlook for Non-Profit Hospitals

Non-profit hospitals will struggle in 2014 in the face of shrinking patient volume and slumping revenue growth according to Moody’s, the bond-rating agency. Moody’s expects non-profit hospital margins to shrink, and one of the causes of that shrinking for some hospitals will be the loss of Medicare disproportionate share hospital payments (Medicare DSH), as mandated by the Affordable Care Act.   The shifting of care from inpatient to outpatient settings also will contribute to shrinking margins for non-profit hospitals. Because urban safety-net hospitals are all non-profit and receive Medicare DSH payments, this problem is more likely to affect these providers. For [&hellip

Enrolling Homeless in Medicaid Poses Challenges, Offers Hope

Enrolling the homeless in Medicaid poses numerous logistical challenges for government, providers, and caregivers but also offers the prospect of improving the lives of those who gain access to care. Many low-income, homeless adults will be eligible for Medicaid for the first time in states that expand Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, but enrolling them in the program can be difficult:  they can be hard to find, hard to convince to apply, and hard to enroll because they lack such basics as a mailing address and telephone number. Yet bringing health care to such individuals could greatly improve [&hellip

A Closer Look at Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program

The Medicare hospital readmissions reduction program is one of the more prominent components of the Affordable Care Act. Too many Medicare patients require readmission to the hospital too quickly after their discharge, critics maintain, and reducing those admissions would both improve the health of those patients and reduce Medicare’s costs.  Hospitals are employing a number of approaches to reducing Medicare readmissions and early evidence has produced cause for optimism. In a new health policy brief, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the journal Health Affairs describe the readmissions reduction program, present a number of the strategies hospitals are employing to [&hellip

ACA Drives Rise in Medicaid Enrollment

While some aspects of implementation of the Affordable Care Act continue to struggle with technical problems, one aspect is moving ahead effectively:  enrollment in Medicaid is on the rise. More than 400,000 newly eligible people in just ten states have enrolled in Medicaid since October 1.  The ten states are among the 25 that have decided to expand their Medicaid programs in accordance with provisions of the federal health care reform law.  Other states either have chosen not to expand their programs or are still undecided about expansion. The National Association of Urban Hospitals (NAUH) supports Medicaid expansion. The Congressional [&hellip

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