Noteworthy News

Archive for safety-net hospitals

 

“Public Charge” Proposal Raises Potential Issues for Safety-Net Hospitals

A proposal by the Department of Homeland Security could make it more difficult for some immigrants to stay in the U.S. permanently by scrutinizing more closely whether they might become a “public charge” if they remain in the country and rejecting those who appear likely to do so. By “public charge” the draft Homeland Security regulation refers to people who might depend or come to depend heavily on government assistance if they remain in the country. If implemented, such a regulation might discourage immigrants from enrolling in government health care programs, which could endanger their health and make it more [&hellip

New Approach to Readmissions Program Takes Effect

Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program is moving in a new direction beginning in FY 2019 after Congress directed the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services to compare hospitals’ performance on readmissions to similar hospitals instead of to all hospitals. The policy change, driven by a belief that safety-net hospitals were harmed by the program and excessive penalties because their patients are more challenging to serve, results in all hospitals being divided into peer groups based on the proportion of low-income patients they serve.  The readmissions performance of hospitals is then compared only to other hospitals within each peer group. As [&hellip

Medicaid Expansion Helping Diabetics

The Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion has led to a 40 percent increase in the number of prescriptions for diabetes medicine filled in the 30 states that expanded their Medicaid programs. Meanwhile, there was no change in the number of diabetes-related prescriptions filled in states that did not expand their Medicaid programs. This is considered important because it suggests that many low-income people who either could not afford their diabetes medicine or whose illness was undiagnosed are now being treated for the disease – a significant development because every diabetic who is treated for the condition represents a cost savings [&hellip

New Reg Pushes Medicare Toward Site-Neutral Outpatient Payments

Medicare would make more payments for outpatient services on a site-neutral basis under a newly proposed regulation just released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The 2019 Medicare outpatient prospective payment system regulation, published in proposal form, calls for: paying physician fee schedule rates rather than hospital outpatient rates at excepted off-campus provider-based departments; slashing payments for office visits; extending this year’s 340B prescription drug discount payments, already cut nearly 30 percent this year, to additional providers; and raising ambulatory surgical center rates and expanding the list of procedures that can be performed in such facilities so they [&hellip

Helping Safety-Net Hospitals Help Their Patients

A new report published on the Health Affairs Blog describes the continuing challenges safety-net hospitals face and offers suggestions for helping them meet those challenges. The challenges, according to the report, are the virtual elimination of the Affordable Care Act’s individual health insurance mandate; the continued decline in the amount of Medicare disproportionate share hospital money (Medicare DSH) provided to safety-net hospitals; and hospital closures that shift more of the burden for caring for uninsured patients onto a smaller pool of safety-net hospitals.  The result is under-served patients and new financial risks for the hospitals that remain after some safety-net [&hellip

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