Medicaid DSH allotments to states for FY 2014 announced   02/27/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced the preliminary federal allotments to states for Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospitals in fiscal year 2014. The funding does not contain the DSH reductions for 2014 under the Affordable Care Act, which were eliminated by the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2013, as advocated for by the AHA. The legislation also delayed the FY 2015 DSH reductions until FY 2016 while extending the DSH cuts by one year, to FY 2023.
Tavenner: No delay in 2014 meaningful use timelines, but hardship flexibility   02/27/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will not adjust the timelines for hospitals, physicians and other eligible professionals who have difficulty meeting meaningful use requirements for 2014 under the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record Incentive Programs, but will provide additional flexibility in granting hardship exceptions from subsequent Medicare penalties, CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner said today, addressing the annual HIMSS conference in Orlando, FL. "AHA is disappointed that CMS will not make changes to the timelines or provide additional flexibility in the meaningful use requirements," said Chantal Worzala, AHA director of policy. "The AHA will work closely with the agency to ensure that the hardship exceptions protect hospitals from unwarranted penalties."
Tavenner reaffirms Oct. 1 deadline for ICD-10 compliance   02/27/2014
There will be no change in the Oct. 1 deadline for hospitals and other entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act to transition to the ICD-10 coding system for medical diagnoses and inpatient procedures, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Marilyn Tavenner reaffirmed today. "It's time to move on," Tavenner told attendees at the annual HIMSS conference in Orlando, FL. "We have delayed this many times, most recently last year." She announced that CMS has completed internal ICD-10 testing of its payment systems and will conduct limited external testing next week. In addition, CMS will begin accepting volunteers in March for end-to-end testing to occur in July, she said. For more ICD-10 information and resources, visit AHA’s ICD-10 resource page.
AHA supports CMS approach to administrative simplification certification   02/27/2014
AHA supports the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ proposed overall approach to certifying health plan compliance with administrative simplification operating rules, Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president of public policy analysis and development, said in comments submitted today. The proposed rule would designate the Council for Affordable Quality Healthcare Committee on Operating Rules for Information Exchange to develop a national health plan certification program and alternative HIPAA credential program. AHA also supports designating CAQH CORE as administrator for both of the programs, noting its experience and existing vendor-neutral certification process. The association recommends against extending the certification requirement to health care providers, noting that providers also must comply with operating rules and HIPAA transaction standards to receive payment from health plans and government programs and are included in testing a health plan’s compliance. AHA also urged CMS to clarify whether the certification requirement will apply to self-insured plans, and, if so, to adopt a way to facilitate their certification through entities with whom they contract to perform administrative functions, such as a third-party administrator.
Survey: Drug shortages still pose safety, cost challenge for hospitals   02/27/2014
Drug shortages continue to threaten patient safety and increase costs for hospitals, although the prevalence of shortages and degree to which they affect patient care appear to be decreasing, according to a recent survey by Premier Inc. The most often cited shortage drugs affecting patient safety and cost were electrolytes, intravenous fluids and parenteral nutrition solutions for patients unable to take oral fluids or food; cardiovascular agents to treat heart disease and other cardiac conditions; and surgical agents for surgery preparation/anesthesia and sedation, the survey of 124 hospital pharmacists and pharmacy experts found. When surveyed in December and January, 90% of respondents said at least one shortage in the past six months may have caused a potential medication safety issue. Almost all respondents reported having to purchase a more expensive generic or other therapeutic in the past six months due to a shortage. Premier estimates hospitals last year spent an additional $209 million to purchase more expensive generic substitutes alone, based on an analysis of supply chain data for its members.
2011 Schedule H collection extended to April 15   02/27/2014
AHA has extended the deadline for its Schedule H Collection Project to April 15 to allow more hospitals and health systems to participate. Those who are required to submit a Schedule H are asked to share their 2011 Schedule H forms (and 2012, if available) either electronically or via mail. The data in these forms will allow AHA and Ernst & Young to compile a comprehensive 2011 Schedule H report that gives policymakers an accurate account of the amount and types of benefits tax-exempt hospitals provide to their communities. For more information, go to www.aha.org/taxexempt.