AHA urges MedPAC to delay site-neutral chapter   03/28/2013
AHA yesterday urged the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission not to include a chapter on its site-neutral payment policy discussions in its June report to Congress, calling it premature. “Given the complexity involved in crafting a site-neutral payment policy, the disproportionate impact that even small methodological decisions have on the analytical outcome and on hospital payments, and the many remaining unanswered questions about the underpinning analysis, the AHA believes that an increased level of transparency regarding the Commission’s methodology and a more robust analysis of impact is absolutely necessary before this issue is committed to a published chapter,” AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack wrote the commissioners, who are scheduled to meet April 4-5 in Washington, DC. Citing difficulties AHA has encountered in replicating MedPAC’s analysis and the “very significant” impact the potential policies could have on hospital outpatient payments, AHA called for a “complete, transparent analysis and debate” before a public chapter is issued. 
Reminder: April 15 deadline for AHA Health Care Transformation Fellowship    03/28/2013
Senior health care leaders can apply through April 15 to participate in the next AHA Health Care Transformation Fellowship, a nine-month program that provides participants with tools to implement new care delivery and payment models, manage risk, develop physician leaders and manage population health. Through in-person learning retreats, webinars, one-on-one coaching and peer-to-peer networking, participants learn from organizations that have executed these models and develop relevant projects that will support their own organizations. For more information and an application, visit www.AHACareTransformationFellowship.org.
CMS unveils chronic conditions dashboard   03/28/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released a new dashboard to help researchers, policymakers and providers improve care for chronic illnesses. The online tool provides national comparison data on the prevalence of chronic conditions, as well as Medicare costs and utilization measures for beneficiaries with chronic conditions, using data from CMS’ Chronic Conditions Data Warehouse. “The Dashboard is a major step forward to help people living with multiple chronic conditions,” said Department of Health and Human Services Assistant Secretary for Health Howard Koh, M.D. “This web-based tool provides new and critical data that can help us develop better patient-centered approaches to improve health outcomes, lower costs, and maximize quality of life.”
Report: PA Medicaid expansion would boost economy, jobs    03/28/2013
Expanding Pennsylvania’s Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act would boost economic activity by $23 billion and support up to 39,000 jobs over the next seven years, according to a report released today by The Hospital & Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania and funded by the AHA. Up to 350,000 additional residents would gain health coverage through the expansion, dropping the state’s uninsured rate from 12.7% now to 4.8% under the ACA with Medicaid expansion in 2016, the report by RAND Health estimates. “This new report from RAND shows the return on investment that Medicaid expansion produces for Pennsylvania’s citizens, government, and health care providers,” said HAP President and CEO Andy Carter. “This manifests itself in higher rates of insurance coverage, lower rates of hospital bills going unpaid, greater economic growth, increased employment, and – most importantly – timelier health care for up to 350,000 low-income Pennsylvanians who would otherwise have no health insurance coverage.”