Senate resolution recognizes 'essential' role of rural hospitals   02/07/2013
Sens. Jerry Moran (R-KS) and Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) today introduced a resolution calling access to rural hospitals and other health care providers "essential to the survival and success of communities." More than 60 million people "rely on rural hospitals and other providers as critical access points to health care," the resolution notes. In addition to providing "vital care" to patients, rural providers "are integral to the local economies and are one of the largest types of employers in rural areas of the United States," the measure states. In a letter of support for the resolution, AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said, "Because of their small size, modest assets and financial reserves, and higher percentages of Medicare patients, rural hospitals disproportionately rely on government payments and unfortunately, Medicare payment systems often fail to recognize the unique circumstances of small, rural hospitals. AHA has and will continue to advocate for appropriate payment on behalf of small and rural hospitals and critical access hospitals."
Students to Service program awards loan repayment funds   02/07/2013
The National Health Service Corps yesterday awarded more than $10 million in funding to help 87 students in their last year of medical school repay educational loans in exchange for practicing in shortage areas when they complete their primary care residency. Funded by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Students to Service pilot program provides up to $120,000 in loan repayment to students pursuing a degree in allopathic or osteopathic medicine. The recipients will provide three years of full-time or six years of half-time service in designated health professional shortage areas.
CMS announces change to Medicare claims editing program   02/07/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday notified AHA of a change to the Medicare Medically Unlikely Edits program, which works to reduce the error rate for Part B claims paid by Medicare. Under the change, CMS will begin converting some MUEs from claim line edits to date of service edits. Hospital claims processing staff are encouraged to review the announcement to avoid claim denials due to the change.
White House renominates Tavenner to lead CMS   02/07/2013
President Obama today renominated Marilyn Tavenner as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. She has served as acting administrator since December 2011 and previously was principal deputy administrator. The Senate did not hold a hearing on her previous nomination. "The AHA applauds the renomination of Marilyn Tavenner to serve as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "Marilyn's varied and rich background as a nurse, health care executive and government official at the state and national levels gives her a unique perspective and demonstrates that she is a very capable leader of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. We enthusiastically support her nomination and look forward to continuing our work with Marilyn to improve health care in America."