Report looks at status of ACA health coverage provisions by state   01/31/2014
A new report from the Commonwealth Fund examines the status of state action on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s primary mechanisms for increasing access to health coverage: market reforms, health insurance marketplaces, and expansion of Medicaid eligibility to low-income adults. Only five states have failed to implement any of the three components, according to the report. ACA market reforms include expanded access to coverage for young adults, bans on preexisting condition exclusions and on lifetime limits for health coverage, coverage of a minimum set of essential health benefits, and other consumer protections. “Where states have been unable or unwilling to implement the Affordable Care Act, federal regulators have stepped in to directly enforce the market reforms and operate the marketplaces,” the report notes. “As a result, nearly all states are requiring or encouraging compliance with the market reforms, every state has a marketplace, and more than half of states expanded their Medicaid programs.…Yet, with no fed­eral backup in the 20 states that declined to expand their Medicaid programs, millions of low-income adults may continue to face barriers to meaningful coverage.”
OIG: Few ARRA-funded health center EHRs support meaningful use   01/31/2014
Only 14% of Health Center Controlled Networks that received American Recovery and Reinvestment Act grants in 2009 and 2010 to implement electronic health records could support all Stage 1 meaningful use objectives in July 2012, according to a report released yesterday by the Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General. Only 27% of the HCCNs could support the three objectives related to sharing data with other health care providers and public health agencies, and three-quarters reported challenges meeting the ongoing cost of operating and maintaining the EHR systems, OIG said. In the report, OIG recommends that the Health Resources and Services Administration use the progress reports from HCCN grantees to understand progress toward meaningful use objectives, provide guidance and technical assistance to health centers, and ensure that HCCN grantees provide information on the financial sustainability of EHR systems at health centers. HCCNs are groups of collaborating safety net providers.
AHA fellowship helps leaders transform health care   01/31/2014
Senior health care leaders can apply through May 1 to participate in the next AHA Health Care Transformation Fellowship. The nine-month program helps participants implement innovative care delivery and payment models through learning retreats, webinars, coaching and other resources. Fellows design and implement a project to address their organization’s needs. For more information or to apply, visit www.hpoe.org/hctfellowship.
Delaware hospitals provide $445 million in community support   01/31/2014
Delaware hospitals contributed $445 million in community benefits to the state in fiscal year 2012, an increase of more than $9 million since FY 2011, according to a new report by the Delaware Healthcare Association. The total includes the value of community benefit programs, charity care, bad debt, and payment shortfalls attributed to Medicare, Medicaid and other government-sponsored health insurance. The report includes a summary of hospital community health needs assessments. “We believe the methodical and collaborative process hospitals undertook with their respective communities to produce the community health needs assessments will lead to better health planning in Delaware,” said DHA President and CEO Wayne Smith. For more information, visit www.delawarehealthtracker.com/index.php.