Noteworthy News

Archive for Medicare regulations

 

Safety-Net Hospitals Improve More on Readmissions But Still More Likely to be Penalized

Hospitals that serve large numbers of minority patients are reducing their Medicare readmissions rates more than other hospitals but are still more likely to be penalized under Medicare readmissions reduction program. This is one of the findings in a new study published in the journal Health Affairs. According to the study, hospitals that serve larger numbers of minority patients – typically, safety-net hospitals – are more likely to be penalized for readmissions than other hospitals because even though they are reducing their readmissions rates faster than other hospitals, their performance is compared, unfavorably, to hospitals that had fewer Medicare readmissions [&hellip

Readmissions Program Working; Expansion in Order?

The Medicare hospital readmissions reduction program is working, according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission. And it may even be worth expanding to additional medical conditions, MedPAC members believe. According to MedPAC, hospital readmissions among patients with medical conditions covered by the readmissions reduction program have declined faster than readmissions among patients with medical conditions not covered by the program, suggesting that expanding the program to additional medical conditions could lead to an even greater reduction in the number of avoidable Medicare-covered readmissions. Learn more about changes in the readmission rate since the readmissions reduction program was introduced and whether [&hellip

MedPAC Meets

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, which advises Congress on Medicare payment issues, met last week in Washington, D.C. Among the issues on MedPAC’s agenda were: paying for sequential stays in a unified Medicare payment system for post-acute care encouraging Medicare beneficiaries to use higher-quality post-acute care providers using payment policy to ensure appropriate access to and use of hospital emergency department services the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ financial alignment demonstration for dual-eligible beneficiaries the effectiveness of the Medicare hospital readmissions reduction program population-based quality measures such as preventable admissions and home and community days Go here, to MedPAC’s [&hellip

New Bill Proposes Greater 340B Accountability

A new bill proposed last week by Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA) seeks to foster greater accountability among participants in the federal government’s section 340B prescription drug discount program. The three-page bill is called the Ensuring the Value of the 340B Program Act of 2018, and according to a news release from the senator, its purpose is to require …participating hospitals to report the total acquisition costs for drugs collected through the 340B program, as well as revenues received from all third party papers for those same drugs. The 340B program provides discounts on prescription drugs dispensed on an outpatient basis [&hellip

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

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