AHA to MedPAC: Positive 2014 payment update 'essential'   01/07/2013
A positive Medicare payment update is "absolutely essential" for both inpatient and outpatient hospital services in 2014, AHA told the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission in a letter Friday. MedPAC will vote on 2014 updates Thursday. In December, the commission considered a draft recommendation to increase hospital inpatient and outpatient payments by 1% in 2014. However, that recommendation did not take into account a 2% decrease in all Medicare payments scheduled to take effect in April under the Budget Control Act, nor the $11 billion cut to hospital inpatient payments included in the recently enacted American Taxpayer Relief Act, the AHA letter to MedPAC notes. The association also urged the commission to support positive updates for inpatient rehabilitation units/hospitals and long-term care hospitals, noting their distinct and valuable roles in treating beneficiaries needing post-acute care.
CMS: Growth in health spending remains slow in 2011   01/07/2013
U.S. spending on health care grew 3.9% in 2011, marking the third straight year of record-low growth, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services reported today in Health Affairs. Growth in spending for hospital care slowed to 4.3% from 4.9% in 2010, due to slower growth in hospital prices, use of hospital services and Medicaid spending for hospital care, CMS said. Spending for physician and clinical services accelerated, to 4.3% from 3.1% in 2010. Medicare spending increased 6.2%, up from 4.3% in 2010, while Medicare enrollment increased 2.5% as the first baby boomers became eligible for the program. Spending for private health insurance increased 3.8%, up from 3.4% in 2010, while out-of-pocket spending increased 2.8%.
Hospitals can submit questions on RFP for non-VA provider networks   01/07/2013
The Department of Veterans Affairs has posted a form for submitting questions, comments or suggestions related to its Patient-Centered Community Care program. The form must be submitted by Jan. 11. The program will allow non-VA facilities to provide medical-surgical care to VA patients through five regional provider networks. Under a VA request for proposals issued Dec. 21, hospitals and others can apply to administer one of the five networks.
Report highlights governance practices for health care transformation   01/07/2013
A new report from the AHA's Center for Healthcare Governance offers recommendations to help hospital and health system boards adopt new practices and help lead health care transformation in their organizations. Based on interviews with board members, executives and clinical leaders at four health care organizations and insights from an expert panel, the report recommends that boards identify and fill gaps in competency needed for transformation; consider emerging governance models; determine if board compensation is necessary or desirable; and ensure that trustee characteristics reflect the communities their organizations serve. It also calls for boards to adopt a high-performance culture and best practices, and evaluate performance at all levels of governance. Among other actions, the report encourages continuous improvement of quality, safety and financial performance; candid discussions about what transformation means for the organization; strategies to engage patients, families and physicians; and a focus on community health needs.