First steps taken to challenge 2-midnight rule   01/22/2014
The AHA, several hospital associations (Greater New York, New York State, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) and four hospital systems today took the first steps to bring a federal court challenge to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ two-midnight inpatient admissions criteria and related policies. Taking that initial action, hospitals that are part of Banner Health (AZ), Einstein Healthcare Network (PA) and Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center (NC) and The Mount Sinai Hospital (NY) filed appeals asking the Provider Reimbursement Review Board to grant expedited judicial review for the hospitals’ claims that the rule’s 0.2% payment cut for Fiscal Year 2014 inpatient prospective payment system hospitals is unlawful. “The Providers seek judicial review of pure questions of law regarding the substantive and procedural validity of the 0.2% reduction,” the hospitals’ appeals state. “Because the [PRRB] lacks the power to grant the Providers’ requested relief, it should grant expedited judicial review.” The hospitals contend that the reduced inpatient payment they receive under the final rule is arbitrary and capricious because CMS relied on indefensible assumptions and offered no reasoned explanation for them. They also argue that the payment cut fails to comply with Administrative Procedure Act’s requirements for proper notice and comment and was not codified in regulation as the law requires.
HHS/AHA to host webcast for hospitals tomorrow on ACA enrollment   01/22/2014
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock tomorrow will host a special webcast on the important role hospitals and health systems continue to play in enrolling their communities in health insurance marketplaces under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Guest speakers will share examples of their hospital and health systems’ enrollment efforts and open a dialogue on enrollment best practices, including low-cost strategies that hospitals and health systems can easily adopt. Featured speakers include Judy Rich, CEO of Tucson (AZ) Medical Center and Cynthia Taueg, vice president of ambulatory and community health services at St. John Providence Health System in Warren, MI, part of Ascension Health. To watch the webcast, from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time, go to
Reminder: Deadline for previewing IPF quality data approaching   01/22/2014
Inpatient psychiatric facilities have until Jan. 29 to preview their facility-specific reports for the IPF Quality Reporting Program at My QualityNet and correct any errors before the data are added to the Hospital Compare website in April, the first time that data will be publicly reported for the program. IPFs and distinct-part psychiatric units in acute care hospitals reimbursed under the IPF prospective payment system are eligible to participate in the IPFQR program. Questions regarding the IPFQR program or preview reports may be directed to the IPFQR Support Help Desk at (888) 961-6425 or Hospitals also can preview their hospital-specific reports for the inpatient and outpatient quality reporting programs at the QualityNet website through Jan. 29.
Wisconsin hospitals report $46 million savings from quality improvement   01/22/2014
More than 100 Wisconsin hospitals participating in the AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust Hospital Engagement Network have reduced preventable hospital readmissions by 22%, surpassing the national Partnership for Patients goal and saving an estimated $34.1 million in health care costs, according to a new report by the Wisconsin Hospital Association. The hospitals also reduced early elective deliveries (which can increase complications) by 78%; central line-associated blood stream infections by 42%, surgical site infections by 37%; catheter-associated urinary tract infections by 33%; and falls by 26% – together saving another $11.5 million. “When improvement work reduces hospital-associated infections and readmissions it translates into cost savings, and that is a value for patients, employers and insurers,” said WHA President Steve Brenton.
H&HN launches 2014 Most Wired survey   01/22/2014
AHA's Hospitals & Health Networks magazine last week launched its 2014 Most Wired Survey, which hospitals can complete through March 15. The annual survey measures information technology adoption, implementation and use in four areas: infrastructure; business and administrative management; clinical quality and safety; and clinical integration. For details on this year’s survey, see the recent H&HN video or visit
ASHE announces 2014 Vista Award winners   01/22/2014
The AHA’s American Society for Healthcare Engineering yesterday congratulated teams at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Penrose-St. Francis Health Services in Colorado Springs, and South Georgia Medical Center in Valdosta for winning 2014 Vista Awards. The awards recognize hospital teams for construction, renovation and infrastructure projects that optimize the health care physical environment. They will be presented at the International Summit & Exhibition on Health Facility Planning, Design & Construction in March. For more on the projects, visit ASHE is an AHA personal membership group.