White House proposes nearly $400 billion in Medicare, Medicaid reductions   04/10/2013
President Obama today released a fiscal year 2014 budget request that includes $374 billion in proposed reductions to Medicare, of which $306 billion would come from health care providers, and $18.9 billion in reductions to Medicaid. The budget proposal would cancel the Budget Control Act’s sequester, including the annual 2% cut to hospitals’ Medicare payments. It also would reduce bad debt payments to providers by $25.5 billion; Medicare graduate medical education payments by $10.98 billion; and critical access hospital payments from 101% to 100% of reasonable costs. Among other changes, the plan proposes saving $79.04 billion by adjusting Medicare payment updates for skilled nursing facilities, long-term care hospitals and inpatient rehabilitation facilities; $8.16 billion by implementing bundled post-acute care payments; and $9.46 billion by modernizing clinical laboratory payments. Medicaid proposals include delaying the ACA’s disproportionate share hospital cuts for one year (2014) to recognize the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s lower coverage estimates, while increasing DSH cuts in 2016 and 2017 to compensate for the cost. “America’s hospitals must continue to meet the needs of the patients and communities they serve in spite of current financial pressures,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “Even though Congress already cut Medicare and Medicaid payments for hospital services by billions of dollars, the Administration has proposed additional reductions. The solution to what ails our nation’s fiscal health is not further cuts to providers that care for millions of America’s seniors, but creative solutions to modernize the Medicare program.” AHA members received a Special Bulletin with further details.
CMS announces suppliers for expanded competitive bidding program   04/10/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has selected about 800 suppliers to provide durable medical equipment, prosthetics, orthotics and supplies to Medicare beneficiaries under an expanded DMEPOS competitive bidding program that begins July 1. Another 18 suppliers will participate in a new national mail order program for diabetic testing supplies that begins July 1. The DMEPOS program will expand to 91 markets from 70, and include eight new product categories: oxygen equipment; wheelchairs and scooters; enteral nutrients; continuous positive airway pressure devices and respiratory assist devices; hospital beds; walkers; negative pressure wound therapy pumps; and support surfaces such as mattresses. Prices will average 45% less than current prices for the new DMEPOS products and 72% less for the mail-order diabetic testing supplies, CMS said. Health care providers and consumers can find local participating suppliers at www.medicare.gov/supplier. Hospitals will retain the ability to provide walkers to discharged patients without being contracted DMEPOS suppliers.
National Donate Life Blue and Green Day is April 19   04/10/2013
Donate Life America will hold the second annual “National Donate Life Blue and Green Day” on April 19 to promote organ, eye and tissue donation. The initiative encourages the public to wear blue and green that day to promote donation, and post their pictures on the Donate Life America Facebook page for a chance to win the best blue and green “look.” AHA is a partner in Donate Life America, a not-for-profit alliance committed to increasing organ, eye and tissue donation. For more on organ donation and tools and resources for hospitals, visit www.aha.org/advocacy-issues/initiatives/organ-donor.shtml. April is National Donate Life Month.