Hospitals to Senate: Medicare not a piggybank for other programs   01/13/2014
The AHA and seven other national hospital organizations today urged senators to strongly oppose a proposal to cut funding for seniors’ Medicare to pay for extended unemployment benefits. “While we do not oppose the extension of these benefits, we do oppose using Medicare reductions to pay for non-Medicare related spending,” the groups wrote. “Medicare has been cut time and time again – most recently under the budget agreement signed into law just weeks ago. Medicare is meant to assure seniors access to needed medical care, not serve as a piggybank for other programs. It is bad policy to further extend Medicare sequester cuts that could undermine care for seniors. Hospitals already face $113 billion in cuts that have been imposed over the last three years at a time of enormous change and challenges. We urge you to reject this proposal, which will jeopardize health services for seniors.” The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care is running ads with a similar message online in The Hill and Washington Post. AHA is a founding member of the coalition, a broad-based group of hospitals, businesses and national, state and local hospital associations.
MedPAC urged to incorporate sequester into payment calculations   01/13/2014
AHA Friday urged the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission to incorporate the negative impact of sequestration into its fiscal year 2015 payment recommendations and margin projections for hospitals and other health care providers to avoid a misleading and inaccurate picture of hospitals’ financial status. “MedPAC’s position that sequestration is ‘temporary’ is misguided – sequestration is current law and applies to Medicare payments for the next decade,” wrote Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president for public policy analysis and development. The letter urges the commission to increase its recommended update factor for inpatient and outpatient hospital payment rates to at least 5% to adequately consider the impact of current law and all standing MedPAC recommendations. It also urges MedPAC to support a positive update recommendation for long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, and calls MedPAC’s current draft recommendation on LTCH payment reform “unnecessary” in light of recent congressional changes; and to look beyond the CARE Tool and B-Tool to other viable options that would achieve consistent measurement and reporting across post-acute settings. MedPAC is expected to vote on 2015 payment recommendations later this week.
MAP issues pre-rulemaking recommendations for comment   01/13/2014
The Measures Application Partnership today released its pre-rulemaking report for public comment through Jan. 27. The report provides input to the Department of Health and Human Services on 234 measures HHS is considering for clinician, hospital and post-acute care/long-term care performance measurement programs. Hospitals are encouraged to review and comment on the MAP recommendations, which will inform the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' selection of measures for readmissions, hospital-acquired conditions, value-based purchasing, the hospital inpatient reporting program, and other public reporting and payment programs vital to hospitals. Members with questions about the report should contact Akin Demehin, AHA senior associate director for policy, at AHA plans to submit comments on the report and make them available to members as soon as possible.
Report examines physician leadership education   01/13/2014
A new white paper from the AHA’s Physician Leadership Forum looks at how hospitals and health systems can develop effective physician leaders to partner with them in moving toward a more accountable and efficient health delivery system. “Developing strong physician leaders working in concert with hospital and health system executives is essential to moving to the next level of health care delivery,” said John Combes, M.D., AHA senior vice president. The report highlights the case for developing physician leaders, identifies characteristics to consider for leadership education programs, and includes four case studies from a PLF educational summit held in conjunction with the American College of Physician Executives. To access the free white paper, “Physician Leadership Education,” visit The PLF seeks to advance excellence in patient care by fostering strong physician-hospital relations.