AHA urges Congress to preserve access to tax-exempt financing   04/01/2013
AHA today urged Congress to preserve non-profit hospitals’ access to tax-exempt financing. “The ability to obtain tax-exempt financing and to accept tax-deductible charitable contributions are two key benefits of hospital tax-exemption that work to make access to hospital services available where needed,” AHA said in a statement to the House Committee on Ways and Means for a recent hearing on tax reform. AHA noted that hospitals provide billions of dollars annually in uncompensated care to patients, as well as “programs and other activities designed to promote and protect their health and well-being,” including medical research and education, emergency and trauma services and disaster response readiness. “At a time when hospital revenues are already strained, hospitals must respond to rapidly changing market and government forces, including: (1) reimbursement reductions and changes, (2) an increasing necessity to provide access to a broad range of health services to a growing population, and (3) limited access to capital,” AHA said. “These market forces are driving an urgent need for hospitals to make significant capital investments while reducing costs, both of which require continued access to low-cost capital through tax-exempt financing.”
CMS open door forum to address rebilling   04/01/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host an open door forum tomorrow, Tuesday, April 2, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time on Medicare Part B rebilling, among other issues. The call will also cover the fiscal year 2014 hospital wage index timetable.  For more information, see the CMS notice.
PCORI names advisors to four stakeholder panels   04/01/2013
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute has named 84 individuals to serve on its first four advisory panels. The 21-member, multi-stakeholder panels will focus on patient engagement; assessment of prevention, diagnosis, and treatment options; improving health care systems; and addressing disparities. “Our advisory panels will help us identify and prioritize the questions that are important to patients, caregivers, clinicians and others, and also help us evaluate all of our research programs,” said Anne Beal, MD, PCORI’s deputy executive director. “The individuals we’ve invited to serve are representative of our diverse stakeholder community. Each contributes valuable perspectives and expertise to advance our mission to fund research that provides patients and those who care for them the information they need to make better-informed decisions.” PCORI was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research.
Journal looks at HIPAA privacy rules 10 years later   04/01/2013
The April issue of the Journal of the American Health Information Management Association examines the impact of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act privacy regulation 10 years after implementation. In the issue, Daniel J. Solove of the George Washington University Law School traces the law’s origins and how government enforcement has evolved over the past decade. The issue also examines the HITECH Act’s impact on HIPAA and includes a practice brief describing best practices for ensuring the privacy and security of occupational health records. For more, see the journal online.
Equity of Care releases video on collection and use of REAL data   04/01/2013
In recognition of National Minority Health Month, Equity of Care has released a short video on the collection and use of race, ethnicity and language preference data and its important role in reducing health care disparities. The video is the first in a month-long rollout that will detail the work of the Greater Cincinnati Health Council in this area. GCHC facilitated the work of this project, titled “Cincinnati Expecting Success,” on behalf of the Health Collaborative as part of Cincinnati Aligning Forces for Quality, an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the collaborative. Partial support was provided by the Beacon Community Program under cooperative agreement with the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. AHA is a partner in Equity of Care, a national initiative to end health care disparities and increase the collection of race, ethnicity and language preference data; cultural competency training for clinicians and support staff; and diversity in governance and management. Other partners are the Association of American Medical Colleges, American College of Healthcare Executives, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems.