AHA recommends changes to MAP draft report   01/25/2013
Commenting on the Measure Applications Partnership's draft pre-rulemaking report to the Department of Health and Human Services, AHA yesterday urged additional steps to more concretely enhance the alignment of quality measurement reporting and payment efforts. MAP is a public-private partnership convened by the National Quality Forum to advise HHS on the selection of quality measures for public reporting and performance-based payment programs. MAP's workgroups met last month to review and make recommendations on roughly 500 quality measures, nearly 100 of which are intended for hospital quality reporting programs. Among other changes, AHA proposes an integrated set of guidance to inform the selection of quality measures for all MAP workgroups. AHA also recommends the MAP provide additional guidance to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and NQF to better enable the partnership's work. 
CMS seeks input on CAHPS surveys for outpatient surgery, hospice   01/25/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services seeks input through March 26 on potential survey instruments, measures and topics for two experience-of-care surveys it is developing - one for patients at hospital outpatient surgery departments and ambulatory surgery centers, and the other for family members and friends of patients who die in hospice care. The agency plans to develop and submit the surveys to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for recognition as Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys.
Court invalidates three appointments to NLRB   01/25/2013
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit today vacated a National Labor Relations Board decision, ruling that the board did not have a quorum at the time because three of its members were not validly appointed. At issue was whether President Obama validly used his recess appointment authority to appoint three members to the board last Jan. 4 without Senate approval. In a unanimous decision, the court held that the president can only make recess appointments for vacancies that arise during an official recess, which it defined as the break between sessions of Congress. "Either the Senate is in session, or it is in recess," Chief Judge David Sentelle wrote. "If it has broken for three days within an ongoing session, it is not in 'the Recess.'" If the ruling stands, it could invalidate all NLRB decisions made since the appointees joined the board.
Study estimates cost if MO Medicaid not expanded   01/25/2013
Not expanding Medicaid could cost Missouri more than 9,000 jobs, $1.9 billion in reduced capital investment or $1.1 billion in cost shift to the insured, according to a new analysis from the Missouri Hospital Association. "The Affordable Care Act included cuts to hospital payments but offset some of those cuts through increased coverage," said MHA President and CEO Herb Kuhn. "Without the new revenue from expanded coverage, the numbers don't add up. That's bad news for the currently insured and bad news for Missouri's economy."