CMS issues proposed FY 2014 IPPS, LTCH rules   04/26/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services late today issued its hospital inpatient prospective payment system and long-term care hospital PPS proposed rule for fiscal year 2014. The proposed rule would increase inpatient PPS rates by 0.8% in FY 2014 compared to FY 2013, after accounting for inflation and other adjustments required by law. Specifically, the proposed rule includes an initial marketbasket update of 2.5% for those hospitals that submit data on quality measures; hospitals not submitting data would receive a 0.5% update. The rule makes a productivity cut of 0.4% and an additional market basket cut of 0.3% as mandated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010. In addition, CMS proposes a 0.8% cut that would, in part, fulfill the requirement of the American Taxpayer Relief Act that it recoup what the agency claims is the effect of documentation and coding changes from FYs 2010, 2011 and 2012 that CMS says do not reflect real changes in case-mix. The rule also includes the ACA-mandated Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital reductions, which would reduce overall Medicare DSH spending by $1 billion in FY 2014. For LTCHs, CMS proposes to increase payments by 1.1% in FY 2014, compared to FY 2013. The rule also would allow the 25% Rule threshold to go into effect in FY 2014. The proposed rule will be published in the May 10 Federal Register and comments will be accepted through June 25. AHA staff is reviewing the rule and members will receive a Special Bulletin with further details.
Senate committee seeks feedback on drug compounding proposal   04/26/2013
Leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee have released for stakeholder feedback through May 3 a discussion draft of proposed legislation to improve the safety of compounded drugs by clarifying the oversight responsibilities of state and federal authorities. The draft legislation distinguishes between traditional compounding pharmacies and “compounding manufacturers,” which make sterile products without or in advance of a prescription and sell them across state lines. Traditional compounding would continue to be regulated primarily by state pharmacy boards, while compounding manufacturers would be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration. Health systems that engage in sterile compounding would be considered traditional compounders, regulated by the states as they are now, even if they ship interstate for dispensing within their system.
AHA responds to NY Times article on JAMA study   04/26/2013
The New York Times today published an AHA letter to the editor responding to the newspaper’s recent article about a study on post-surgical complications that suggested hospitals profit from surgical errors. “The study in The Journal of the American Medical Association can be easily misunderstood and lead people to draw faulty conclusions about hospitals’ commitment to quality improvement efforts,” AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock wrote. “To clarify: While the report found that payers (like Medicare and insurance companies) may pay more to cover patients who have experienced post-surgical complications, the report also states that the cost of caring for these patients is higher. In fact, the 12 hospitals studied are reimbursed less than the overall cost of caring for patients with surgical complications by 6.4%. More important, the study fails to recognize that hospitals, physicians, nurses and other caregivers work every day to do the right thing for their patients and provide the best care possible. We’ve seen that hospitals may experience financial setbacks as a result of quality improvements that they make, but caregivers do the right thing anyway because that is what’s best for their patients.” The letter was posted online last night.
Survey: 84 million Americans uninsured or underinsured in 2012   04/26/2013
Thirty percent of U.S. adults under age 65 reported lacking health insurance sometime during the past year when surveyed in 2012, according to findings released today by the Commonwealth Fund. An additional 16% said they were underinsured, meaning their out-of-pocket medical costs were high relative to their income. Together, those estimates represent 84 million people. Between 2010 and 2012, the proportion of uninsured adults under age 26 fell from 48% to 41% while the number of underinsured adults leveled off after climbing since 2003, the biennial survey found. “The early provisions of the Affordable Care Act are helping young adults gain coverage and improving the affordability of health care during difficult economic times for American families,” said lead author Sara Collins, a Commonwealth Fund vice president. “It will be critical to continue to monitor the effects of the law as the major provisions go into effect in 2014 and beyond to ensure it achieves its goal of near-universal, comprehensive health insurance.”
AHA members-only Town Hall webcast Tuesday on Enroll America   04/26/2013
Tune in Tuesday at 2:15 p.m. Eastern Time for a special AHA members-only Town Hall Interactive webcast in conjunction with AHA’s Annual Membership Meeting. AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock will be joined by a panel of guests to discuss Enroll America and the resources they have available, important upcoming enrollment dates, and enrollment activities and challenges being faced by hospitals. Hosted by AHA leaders, members-only Town Hall Interactive webcasts focus on advocacy and other important developments in the hospital and health care field. To participate in the 2013 webcasts, register here. For more information, call (800) 424-4301.
AHE compendium to help guide practice changes   04/26/2013
The AHA’s Association for the Healthcare Environment has received an education grant from Advanced Sterilization Products to prepare a compendium of the latest research related to cleaning and surface disinfection. The compendium on “The Role of the Healthcare Environment in the Transmission of Infection” will be used to guide new research and ongoing practice changes for continued performance excellence, and develop evidence-based prevention educational materials for use across care settings. “Pulling together past research into a compendium will help AHE fill the gaps with new research and strategies to drive changes on the ground,” said AHE Executive Director Patti Costello.
'60 Minutes' examines decade-old case of former nurse convicted of murder   04/26/2013
CBS News' "60 Minutes" Sunday will broadcast a segment on Charles Cullen, a former critical care nurse convicted and sent to prison in 2006 after allegedly confessing to killing as many as 40 patients while working as a registered nurse at hospitals in New Jersey and eastern Pennsylvania. According to CBS, the segment will include an interview with Cullen.