Coalition ads urge Congress to protect patient care   02/28/2014
The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care has launched “Stop Hospital Cuts,” a massive new advertising campaign in two major Washington, DC, subway stations for the entire month of March. The new campaign comes as Congress is looking for offsets that could include additional cuts to hospitals to pay for a physician payment fix. Since 2000, the coalition has used traditional broadcast and print advertising and, more recently, extensive digital resources to highlight its message of protecting patient care to Congress. Its online community is more than 400,000 strong across email and social media platforms. To view the ads, visit
AHA comments to CFPB highlight unique nature of medical debt   02/28/2014
As the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau considers policies, regulations or guidance affecting debt collection issues, AHA today encouraged the agency to recognize the significant ways in which medical debt differs from other types of consumer debt. Responding to an advance notice of proposed rulemaking seeking input on a wide variety of debt collection issues, AHA encouraged the agency to expressly recognize that hospitals do not generally offer or provide “consumer financial products or services,” nor define “delinquency” and similar terms based on a specific number of days past the billing date. “While such a hard and fast definition may be appropriate for other types of consumer debt, it is often impossible to predict how long after a bill is ‘due’ that a patient’s ultimate liability for out-of-pocket expenses will be determined,” wrote Melinda Hatton, AHA senior vice president and general counsel. AHA also encouraged the agency to carefully review existing regulations such as the provisions and effects of the Internal Revenue Service’s oversight of tax-exempt hospitals and the debt collection rules for 501(c)(3) hospitals to avoid creating confusion or redundancies in potential rules or guidance.
ESRD care model quality measures issued for comment   02/28/2014
Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services contractor IMPAQ Intl. is accepting comments through March 14 on proposed quality measures for the Comprehensive ESRD Care Initiative, a service delivery and payment model for Medicare patients with end-stage renal disease. Launched last year by the CMS Innovation Center, the project will test whether organizations comprised of dialysis facilities, nephrologists and other Medicare providers and suppliers can reduce costs and improve care coordination and quality for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries with end-stage renal disease. Participants will share in Medicare savings and loss amounts based in part on the organization's performance on the final quality measures.
CMS extends deadline for input on specialty care payment models   02/28/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has extended the deadline for stakeholder comments on two potential episode-based payment models for specialty practitioner services in the outpatient setting. The new deadline for stakeholder input is April 10. For more information or to comment on the models, visit
CMS: 8.9 million Medicaid/CHIP applicants deemed eligible since October   02/28/2014
More than 8.9 million people were deemed eligible by state agencies to enroll in Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program between Oct. 1 and Jan. 31, according to a report released today by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. The preliminary estimate includes people newly eligible under the Affordable Care Act, those eligible under prior law and, for some states, renewals. States reported about 2.4 million Medicaid/CHIP determinations in January alone, which includes 1.5 million in states expanding Medicaid.
AHA issues guide to integrating behavioral health across care continuum   02/28/2014
A new guide from the AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative offers frameworks and models for integrating behavioral and physical health services across the care continuum. “With an integrated, patient-centered system of care, hospitals, physician practices and payers can incorporate services that address all of the patient’s needs and can work to achieve the Triple Aim – better care, better health and lower costs,” the report notes. “…No particular path or model for integrating behavioral health is appropriate for every provider or hospital. The decision to be, for example, a direct provider of behavioral health services or to provide these services via collaborative partnerships, joint ventures or contractual arrangements will be driven by community needs and available resources.” HPOE is the AHA’s strategic platform to accelerate performance improvement and support delivery system transformation in the nation’s hospitals and health systems. The guide was developed in collaboration with AHA’s Section for Psychiatric and Substance Abuse Services.
FTC director to appear on March 18 AHA Town Hall webcast   02/28/2014
Deborah Feinstein, director of the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Competition, will be the guest on AHA’s next members-only Town Hall Webcast – Tuesday, March 18, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Feinstein will speak on key issues for the field surrounding the FTC’s competition enforcement efforts, federal antitrust laws and mergers and acquisitions. The webcast will conclude with an update on critical hospital and health care issues at play in Washington, including the short-term physician payment fix and Medicare extenders set to expire on March 31. For more information, visit
ASHHRA announces 2014 board members   02/28/2014
The American Society for Healthcare Human Resources Administration, an AHA personal membership group, announced its 2014 board of directors at the ASHHRA annual conference recently in Washington. For a list of new and existing board members, see the ASHHRA news release.