HHS updates standards for culturally, linguistically appropriate care   04/24/2013
The Department of Health and Human Services’ Office of Minority Health today issued enhanced National Standards for Culturally and Linguistically Appropriate Services in Health and Health Care, and a blueprint with guidance and strategies to help implement them. The first update to the standards since their release in 2000 expands the concepts of culture, audience, health and recipients to reflect new developments and trends, and includes a focus on leadership and governance as drivers of culturally competent health care and health equity. “This long-awaited update will provide hospitals, physicians and others at the front lines of care a vital resource to ensure the care they provide is of the highest quality for all,” AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in a blog post today on the Equity of Care website, which supports the 2011 national call to action by AHA and others to eliminate health care disparities. Umbdenstock participated in the launch of the standards at an HHS event this morning. Fred Hobby, president and CEO of the AHA’s Institute for Diversity in Health Management, served on the national advisory panel that developed and refined the enhanced standards.
CMS proposes new Medicare enrollment restrictions, incentives to reduce fraud   04/24/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today issued a proposed rule that would increase rewards paid to Medicare beneficiaries and others whose tips about suspected fraud lead to the recovery of funds. In addition, the rule would allow the agency to deny Medicare enrollment to providers affiliated with an entity that has unpaid Medicare debt; deny enrollment or revoke billing privileges of a provider or supplier if a managing employee has been convicted of certain felony offenses; and revoke billing privileges for providers and suppliers who “have a pattern or practice of billing for services that do not meet Medicare requirements,” CMS said. The proposed rule will be published in the April 29 Federal Register with comments accepted for 60 days. In addition, the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Community Living this month announced up to $7.3 million in funding to expand Senior Medicare Patrol activities. Each of the current 54 SMP projects is eligible for varying funding levels, up to a total of $7.3 million across the program, CMS said.
AHA surveying hospitals about care coordination strategies   04/24/2013
The AHA is surveying hospitals to learn more about their approaches to care coordination and integration of services, including participation in newer types of payment arrangements. Details and instructions for accessing the voluntary online survey were mailed this week to all CEOs at community hospitals. “We know your time is valuable and thank you in advance for completing this survey,” AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said in the cover letter. Questions about the survey should be directed to AHA’s Health Forum subsidiary at (800) 530-9092 or email surveysupport@healthforum.com.
Heart failure patients, costs projected to rise   04/24/2013
Direct and indirect costs to treat heart failure could more than double in the U.S. by 2030, to $70 billion, according to an American Heart Association policy statement published online today in the journal Circulation. The statement predicts the number of Americans with heart failure could climb 46% by then, to 8 million people, fueled by an aging population and increase in the number of people with conditions such as ischemic heart disease, hypertension and diabetes. “If we don’t improve or reduce the incidence of heart failure by preventing and treating the underlying conditions, there will be a large monetary and health burden on the country,” said Paul Heidenreich, M.D., professor of medicine at Stanford University School of Medicine and director of the Chronic Heart Failure Quality Enhancement Research Initiative at the VA Health Care System in Palo Alto, CA.