Moodys: Small hospitals dominate credit downgrades in first quarter   04/25/2013
Moody’s Investors Service downgraded six credit ratings in the not-for-profit health care sector during the first quarter of 2013, five on smaller hospitals with less than $500 million in revenues, according to a report released today by the credit rating agency. “Small hospitals are unable to absorb the reimbursement pressures facing the industry,” said Moody’s Associate Managing Director Lisa Goldstein. The ratio of downgraded issuers versus upgraded during the quarter was 2 to 1– the same ratio as in the fourth quarter of 2012. Looking ahead, Moody’s said it expects more downgrades than upgrades in the second quarter, given that there are already three hospitals currently under review for downgrade.
House holds hearing on 'track and trace' drug distribution bill   04/25/2013
The House Energy and Commerce Committee today heard testimony from the Food and Drug Administration, drug makers, distributors and others on draft legislation to increase the safety and security of the nation’s drug distribution system. Among other provisions, the “track and trace” proposal by Reps Bob Latta (R-OH) and Jim Matheson (D-UT) would establish lot-level tracing requirements for manufacturers, wholesale distributors, pharmacies and repackagers based on changes in ownership, and establish a collaborative process between FDA and stakeholders to better understand how and when to move to unit-level traceability. Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R-MI) said he expects the committee to mark up the legislation in May with the goal of final passage before the August recess. Last week, leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee released for stakeholder feedback through tomorrow a discussion draft of “track and trace” legislation that would require “interoperable, electronic unit-level product tracing” within 10 years.
Certification for two EHR products revoked   04/25/2013
The Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology has revoked the certification for two electronic health record products developed by EHRMagic Inc. of Santa Fe Springs, CA, after select requirements were retested and failed, the Department of Health and Human Services announced today. National Coordinator for Health IT Farzad Mostashari, M.D., said the EHRMagic-Ambulatory and EHRMagic-Inpatient products do not meet ONC standards and providers cannot use them to meet the requirements of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR incentive programs. “We and our certification bodies take complaints and our follow-up seriously,” he said. “By revoking the certification of these EHR products, we are making sure that certified electronic health record products meet the requirements to protect patients and providers.” The HHS announcement did not address how providers that have purchased these previously certified products should proceed.
AHA honors 'grassroots champions'   04/25/2013
The AHA, in partnership with the state hospital associations, yesterday awarded 52 individuals its Grassroots Champion Award. The award recognizes those hospital leaders who most effectively educate elected officials on how major issues affect the hospital's vital role in the community, do an exemplary job in broadening the base of community support for the hospital and are tireless advocates for hospitals and their patients. "We depend upon strong local voices to help tell the story of hospitals as cornerstones of the communities they serve," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "This award is a small token of our appreciation for the hard work and dedication of these individuals to improving health and health care in America." The winners will be honored April 30 at the AHA Annual Membership Meeting.
Tomorrow is final day to complete AHA RACTrac survey   04/25/2013
Tomorrow is the final day for hospitals to submit data to the AHA’s quarterly RACTrac survey. Hospital responses to the free web-based survey are vital to AHA’s education, legislative and regulatory advocacy efforts. Hospital leaders are encouraged to fill out the survey even if their hospital did not experience any recovery audit contractor activity last quarter. To register for the survey or for technical assistance, participants should contact RACTrac support at (888) 722-8712 or ractracsupport@providercs.com. For more on the survey, including the latest results, visit www.aha.org/ractrac.