CMS issues rule for state Medicaid community-based services option   01/10/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued a final rule amending federal Medicaid regulations to define and describe the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s optional state plan benefit to furnish Home and Community-Based Services and draw federal matching funds. The rule also provides for a five-year duration for certain demonstration projects or waivers when they provide medical assistance for individuals dually eligible for Medicaid and Medicare benefits; includes payment reassignment provisions because state Medicaid programs often operate as the primary or only payer for the class of practitioners that includes HCBS providers; and amends Medicaid regulations to provide home and community-based setting requirements related to the ACA’s Community First Choice State plan option.
Brief reviews hospital presumptive eligibility under the ACA   01/10/2014
A new policy brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation reviews Medicaid’s expanded presumptive eligibility policy for hospitals under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, and answers questions that have emerged as states prepare to support it. “Presumptive eligibility is a Medicaid policy option that permits states to authorize specific types of ‘qualified entities,’ such as federally qualified health centers, hospitals and schools, to screen eligibility based on gross income and temporarily enroll eligible children, pregnant women or both in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program,” the report notes. The ACA expands presumptive eligibility to adults, and gives hospitals that are Medicaid providers the option to make presumptive eligibility determinations, regardless of whether the state has otherwise adopted the policy. As of last January, 33 states used presumptive eligibility for pregnant women or children. For more tools and resources on Medicaid hospital-based presumptive eligibility, see AHA’s enrollment resource page.
IFD, HRET diversity survey deadline extended   01/10/2014
The Institute for Diversity in Health Management and the Health Research & Educational Trust have extended to Jan. 31 the deadline for hospital leaders to complete a survey about hospitals’ efforts to address health care disparities and improve diversity management practices. The survey was mailed to hospital CEOs, and all hospitals are encouraged to complete the survey. The survey results will be shared at the Institute’s 2014 National Leadership and Education Conference June 12-13 in Chicago. In addition, all responding hospitals will be eligible to receive a custom benchmarking report relating their performance to that of other responding organizations. For more information, contact Kevin Kenward at The Institute and HRET are AHA affiliates.
Commission issues recommendations for reducing state health care costs   01/10/2014
The State Health Care Cost Containment Commission, organized by the University of Virginia’s Miller Center, this week issued recommendations for a “more integrated, coordinated, patient-centered and cost-effective” health care system. Co-chaired by former Health and Human Services Secretary and Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter Jr., the commission calls for states to create consensus and commitment for change, common measures for health care spending and quality, and targets for health care cost growth and quality improvement. The group also urges states to accelerate the trend toward coordinated care and risk-based payments; encourage consumer selection of high-value care; reform health care regulations to promote system efficiency; and promote better population health and personal responsibility in health care. The panel includes health insurance, hospital and physician group CEOs as well as health care purchasers.
Hospital employment falls by 2,400 in December   01/10/2014
Employment at the nation's hospitals fell by 0.05% in December to a seasonally adjusted 4,833,200 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. That's 2,400 fewer people than in November but 9,800 more than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, which removes the effect of fluctuations due to seasonal events, hospitals employed 4,841,600 people in December – 1,800 fewer than in November but 10,600 more than a year ago. The nation's overall unemployment rate declined by 0.3 percentage point in December to 6.7%.
AHA Committee on Volunteers names 2014 chair   01/10/2014
Bill Newbold, a volunteer and member of the Northridge (CA) Hospital Foundation Board and Northridge Hospital Auxiliary, will chair the AHA's 2014 Committee on Volunteers. The specialty committee of the AHA Board of Trustee focuses on the roles, responsibilities and services of organized volunteers and auxilians, as well as the community perspective they provide for the health care field. It also serves as the selection committee for the AHA's Hospital Awards for Volunteer Excellence. Newbold joined the committee in 2012 and has been active in the California Association of Hospitals and Health Systems Volunteer Division. For more information, see the AHA news release.
Delaware hospitals commit to no elective deliveries before 39 weeks   01/10/2014
All Delaware hospitals have committed to a policy of no elective deliveries before 39 weeks of gestation, the Delaware Division of Public Health, Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium, and Delaware Healthcare Association announced recently. “We are deeply gratified by the fact that no hospital in Delaware is delivering babies before 39 weeks unless medically indicated,” said David Paul, M.D., chair of the consortium. DHA President and CEO Wayne Smith said, “This achievement is worth celebrating because it will improve birth outcomes in our state.” In 2012, the AHA Board of Trustees adopted a formal position supporting policies to eliminate early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries, which research has shown can increase health complications for babies.