AHA sends letter of support for Tavenner nomination   02/15/2013
The AHA "enthusiastically supports" the nomination of Marilyn Tavenner as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock told Senate leaders today. "As acting administrator, Marilyn has demonstrated that she is willing to listen to, learn from and work in partnership with the nation's health care providers," Umbdenstock wrote. "She has worked to reduce red tape and regulatory burden to ensure that more providers' time and resources are spent on caring for patients. She also has spearheaded the Partnership for Patients initiative, which through its Hospital Engagement Network, has helped hospitals and health systems dramatically lower infection rates. In addition, she has pioneered new payment methods that offer opportunities to provide better patient-centered care more efficiently. 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 on health care and the challenges facing health care providers at this critical time."
AHA voices support for certain proposed Medicare reforms   02/15/2013
AHA supports several proposed structural reforms to Medicare as alternatives to reducing health care provider payments, Executive Vice President Rick Pollack told Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) today, commenting on his recent proposal for entitlement reform. Specifically, he said AHA supports raising the Medicare eligibility age to 67, citing new health coverage protections for seniors starting in 2014; modifying Medigap plans to avoid unnecessary use; and creating a single combined deductible for Medicare Part A and B services, uniform coinsurance and an annual catastrophic cap. "In summary, America's hospitals recognize the need to reform Medicare and to move away from continued ratcheting of payments to providers who are already being paid less than the cost of delivery for these services," Pollack wrote. "Moreover, these arbitrary payment reductions do nothing to modernize the Medicare program. We welcome this broader look at dealing with the financial components of the program."
HHS awards Strong Start grants   02/15/2013
The Department of Health and Human Services today awarded up to $43.2 million to test three new approaches to prenatal care for Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program enrollees at risk for preterm births: birth centers, maternity care homes and group visits with other pregnant women. The grants are part of the Strong Start initiative, a public-private effort to prevent pre-term births and early elective deliveries, improve outcomes for mothers and babies and reduce health care costs. Eligible applicants included providers of obstetric care, state Medicaid agencies, managed care organizations and others. The 27 recipients are located in 32 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and will serve more than 80,000 women in areas with high preterm birth rates.
Massachusetts hospitals add $51 billion to economy   02/15/2013
Massachusetts hospitals generated more than $51 billion in economic activity in 2011, the Massachusetts Hospital Association reports. The hospitals employ more than 197,000 people and spend more than $23 billion a year on goods and service, which ripples through the economy to support an additional 430,000 jobs. "Our hospitals provide good, well-paying jobs for workers of all experience levels, and serve as both anchors and supports for their communities," said MHA President and CEO Lynn Nicholas.
Rhode Island hospitals boost economy by $6.7 billion   02/15/2013
Rhode Island hospitals contributed $6.7 billion to the state's economy in 2011, according to a report released this week by the Hospital Association of Rhode Island. In addition to employing 21,100 health care professionals, the hospitals spend more than $1.3 billion a year on goods and services to deliver quality care, creating additional jobs and spending throughout the local economy. "The financial health of hospitals is directly tied to the strength of our state overall," said HARI President Edward Quinlan. "Hospitals must be financially strong to continue investing in our state's economy and make the necessary improvements to provide top-notch care to Rhode Islanders." For more on the impact of the state's hospitals, visit www.caringforri.org.