AHA to CMS: Reconsider adding new survey to CAHPS program   03/26/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should reconsider plans to add a new survey regarding patient experiences with hospital outpatient surgical departments and ambulatory surgical centers to the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems program, AHA yesterday told the agency. “We are concerned that the CAHPS program already includes multiple overlapping survey tools creating confusion about how to assess the patient experience across multiple care settings, as well as excessive survey administration burden,” wrote AHA Vice President and Deputy Director of Policy Ashley Thompson in response to a CMS request for information. “Instead of a separate survey, CMS should incorporate a small number of supplemental survey questions targeted at facility-level issues for ASCs into an existing CAHPS survey.” In addition, AHA urged CMS to allow lower cost survey administration options to mitigate the financial burden of surveying and enhance existing CAHPS surveys by reassessing how scores are adjusted for the severity of patient illness.     
AHA-supported bill would promote health care price transparency   03/26/2013
Reps. Michael Burgess, M.D. (R-TX) and Gene Green (D-TX) last week introduced AHA-supported legislation to promote health care price transparency. The Health Care Price Transparency Promotion Act of 2013 (H.R. 1326) would require states to have or establish laws requiring hospitals to disclose information on charges for certain inpatient and outpatient services; and require health insurers to provide to enrollees upon request a statement of estimated out-of-pocket costs for particular health care items and services. In addition, the legislation directs the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality to study the types of health care cost information that consumers find useful, and how that information might be distributed in a timely and simple, coherent way. "This legislation builds on [the] existing structure, and also requires insurers to participate in the disclosure process by providing information on estimated out-of-pocket costs for health care services, which is often the most valuable information for insured patients," AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said, noting that AHA strongly supports the bill. "… While sharing exact information is challenging because hospital care is individually tailored to each patient’s needs, hospitals remain committed to providing meaningful and useful information for consumers."
Great Boards newsletter examines new models of governance   03/26/2013
The spring edition of AHA's Great Boards newsletter looks at three emerging models of governance – the professional, clinical enterprise and enhanced community board models – and poses questions boards can use to evaluate their readiness for governing accountable, integrated care systems. The newsletter, available at www.greatboards.org, also looks at how board portals are improving governance effectiveness. Administered by AHA's Center for Healthcare Governance, the free quarterly newsletter examines hospital and health system governance trends and effective practices. To subscribe, click here. For additional tools and resources for hospital boards of trustees, visit AHA's Great Boards website.
Reminder: Members-only webinar on FCC Healthcare Connect Fund    03/26/2013
On April 4 and 5, AHA will host a free members-only webinar with the Federal Communications Commission on the new Healthcare Connect Fund. Part of the FCC Rural Health Care Program, the fund will provide up to $400 million annually to help rural health care providers improve broadband capacity and leverage the full potential of telemedicine, electronic health records and other health information technology through consortia with metro partners. The FCC expects to begin the competitive bidding process for applicants this summer. The webinar will feature case examples from pilot programs in Colorado and Iowa and provide more information on how to access the new fund. To register for the webinar, click on April 4 or April 5. For more information, email jpalencia@aha.org or call (312) 422-3345.