Senate rejects proposal to use Medicare to pay for unemployment extension   01/15/2014
The U.S. Senate yesterday voted 52-48 to reject a motion to proceed to a vote on legislation that would have extended the sequestration for mandatory spending – including Medicare spending – through 2024 to pay for an extension of unemployment benefits. On Monday, AHA and seven other national hospital organizations urged senators to oppose the proposal. “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.
Federal court rules for government in ACA subsidies case   01/15/2014
A federal district court in Washington, D.C., today rejected a lawsuit challenging the availability of premium subsidies to lower-income Americans in some 35 states under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The plaintiffs in Halbig v. Sebelius argued that the wording of the ACA’s subsidy provision authorizes the federal government to provide premium subsidies only in states that set up their own insurance exchanges. The district court has now rejected that argument and concluded that subsidies are available nationwide. It wrote that the ACA contains “various provisions . . . that appear to reflect an intent by Congress to make tax credits available to taxpayers” in every state, not just those with state-run exchanges. And it observed that plaintiffs’ proposed reading of the statute “runs counter to this central purpose of the ACA: to provide affordable health care to virtually all Americans.” The AHA filed a friend-of-the-court brief supporting the government in the case, in which it made the statutory purpose argument that the district court today accepted.
Pre-existing Condition Insurance Program extends coverage through March   01/15/2014
The federally-run Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan will offer the option of two additional months of coverage to current enrollees who have not yet found new health coverage, according to an announcement on the program’s website. In December, the program was extended through January. “This transitional coverage through March 31, 2014, will allow PCIP enrollees more time to review [Health Insurance] Marketplace plan options and enroll in the coverage that best meets their needs before open enrollment closes in March,” the new notice states. “They will be notified on and by mail of this option to extend their PCIP plan through March, along with details about cost-sharing. Eligible enrollees can purchase PCIP transitional coverage by sending in February and March premium payments; which will be the same monthly rate that they paid for January 2014.”
AHA report identifies strategies for managing an intergenerational workforce   01/15/2014
A new report from the AHA Committee on Performance Improvement provides hospital leaders with strategies for managing an intergenerational workforce to help achieve the triple aim of better care, better health and lower costs. “Each generation brings a different set of values, beliefs and expectations to the workplace, from the traditionalists (born before 1945), baby boomers (born 1946 to 1964), Generation X (born 1965 to 1980) to the millennials (born after 1980),” the report notes. “Leaders need to develop strategies to engage these different groups simultaneously to achieve optimal clinical outcomes and patient experience.” The strategies found in the report are intended to help hospital leaders build an organizational culture that develops and nurtures employees of all ages and support the AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative.
Reminder: AHA quality leadership award deadline approaching   01/15/2014
The AHA invites applications through Jan. 24 for the 2014 Dick Davidson Quality Milestone Award for Allied Association Leadership. Named after AHA President Emeritus Dick Davidson, the annual award honors a state, regional or metropolitan hospital association that demonstrates exceptional organizational leadership and innovation in quality improvement and has made significant contributions to measurable quality improvement in its geographic area. For more information and an application, click here.