IOM issues preliminary findings on geographic variation in health care   03/22/2013
Providing higher Medicare payment rates to hospitals and clinicians in regions of the country characterized by good health outcomes and relatively lower spending, and decreasing payment rates in regions with overall lesser quality and higher spending would not give providers the incentive to deliver care more efficiently, according to a report released today by an Institute of Medicine committee. To be effective, payment reforms need to encourage behavioral changes at the point of health care decision making, which occurs at the level of individual providers and health care organizations, the committee said. The report contains preliminary findings from a congressionally mandated study of regional variation in health care spending, use and quality, and the merits of adopting a geographic value index. The committee expects to issue a final report with recommendations this summer, which will include additional analyses.
Study: Full Medicaid expansion would benefit hospitals   03/22/2013
If all 50 states implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion for adults with incomes up to 138% of the federal poverty level, hospital revenues would increase by $2.59 for every dollar lost from private insurance revenue, according to a new study by the Urban Institute. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, estimates that hospitals’ Medicaid revenue would increase by $293.9 billion if every state opts in to the Medicaid expansion. At the same time, hospitals would lose $113.6 billion in revenue as some patients move from private insurance plans to public coverage. The report notes that the ACA will reduce reimbursements to hospitals to fund expansion of coverage through Medicaid and the health insurance exchanges. “The Supreme Court’s decision to make Medicaid expansion optional for states jeopardizes the ACA’s implicit bargain with hospitals – namely, significant payment cuts in exchange for significant increases in the number of patients with insurance,” the report summary states. “…Hospitals located in states opting out of the expansion will not receive the full measure of offsetting, promised revenues and thus will be at a relative disadvantage when the ACA is fully implemented in 2014.”
Report: Less than 1% of premiums spent on care improvement   03/22/2013
Health insurers spent less than 1% of premiums on quality improvement activities in 2011, according to a report released today by the Commonwealth Fund. Nonprofit insurers spent 84% more on average than for-profit insurers, and provider-sponsored insurers spent 63% more than other insurers, the study found. Nonprofit and health care-affiliated insurers also had higher medical loss ratios and were less likely than publicly traded insurers to owe a premium rebate to consumers. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires health insurers to spend 80% or 85% of premiums on medical claims and quality improvement, or refund the difference to policy holders.
FDA alerts providers to drug product recalls   03/22/2013
The Food and Drug Administration yesterday alerted health care providers to a voluntary recall of all sterile products made and distributed by Clinical Specialties Compounding Pharmacy. The recall comes after five patients were diagnosed with serious eye infections associated with use of Avastin repackaged into syringes by CSCP. On Monday, FDA alerted providers to a voluntary recall of all drugs produced by Med Prep Consulting Inc. after health care providers at a hospital in Connecticut observed particles later identified as fungus in five bags of magnesium sulfate solution. FDA is working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state health officials to determine the scope of contamination in both recalls. Until further notice, FDA said health care providers should stop using and return the recalled products and report any adverse reactions to the FDA’s MedWatch program.
Survey looks at impact of cancer drug shortages   03/22/2013
Cancer drug shortages were common in 2011, according to a survey of oncology pharmacists reported in the April 1 American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy. Ninety-seven percent of respondents reported an increase in drug shortages that year and 93% reported delays in chemotherapy administration or changes in treatment regimens due to shortages, which can lead to adverse patient outcomes. In addition, 85% of respondents reported increased costs due to shortages, 44% said the shortages affected clinical trials and 34% devoted at least 20 hours per week to managing shortages. According to the authors, policy changes enacted as part of the Food and Drug Administration Safety and Innovation Act of 2012 “will need to be monitored carefully to determine if they are successful in mitigating the impact of oncology drug shortages on cancer care.”
AHA members-only Town Hall webcast Tuesday   03/22/2013
Tune in for the next AHA members-only Town Hall Interactive webcast – Tuesday, March 26 at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock, Executive Vice President Rick Pollack and Senior Vice President of Federal Relations Tom Nickels will update members on the latest activity in Washington, D.C. In addition, AHA Assistant General Counsel Lawrence Hughes and Vice President for Policy Ashley Thompson will report on the latest regulations and activities involving Recovery Audit Contractors. Hosted by AHA leaders, members-only Town Hall Interactive webcasts focus on advocacy and other important developments in the hospital and health care field. To participate in the 2013 webcasts, register here. For more information, call (800) 424-4301.
Report: FL hospitals contribute $120 billion to state's economy   03/22/2013
Florida hospitals contributed 927,763 jobs and $120 billion to the state's economy in 2011, according to a University of Florida study released yesterday by the Florida Hospital Association. The employment impact of the state’s hospitals increased 25.5% between 2009 and 2011. “This report underscores the economic contribution our hospitals provide to their local communities each and every day,” said FHA President Bruce Rueben. “Hospitals are responsible for providing comprehensive, high-quality health care and many times are one of the largest employers in their communities.”