Report: Sicker Medicare patients driving up intensity of ED care   05/02/2013
Sicker, more complex Medicare patients are driving up the intensity of emergency department care, according to an AHA report released today. The report, which is based on an analysis of Medicare claims data conducted by The Moran Company, found that the number of ED services provided to Medicare beneficiaries is growing and patients’ needs are shifting toward services that demand the use of more resources. “The reality is that seniors who come to the hospital ED are sicker and have more chronic illnesses,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “Hospitals are striving to meet their communities’ needs, which means caring for patients who need more – and more intensive – services than ever before.” While some policymakers have raised concerns that the shift toward ED services that require more resources is leading to higher Medicare spending, the report shows that the overall use of ED services is also increasing, and EDs are serving more Medicare patients with behavioral health diagnoses and more patients enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid.
CMS issues proposed SNF payment rule for FY 2014   05/02/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday issued a proposed rule increasing Medicare payment rates for skilled nursing facilities by 1.4%, or $500 million, in fiscal year 2014. The proposed increase is based on a 2.3% marketbasket increase, minus a 0.4 percentage point productivity adjustment required by law and a 0.5 percentage point adjustment to account for the difference between the actual and projected marketbasket for FY 2012. The rule also would revise and rebase the marketbasket beginning in FY 2014 to reflect FY 2010 cost data, add five cost categories and revise several price proxies. CMS also proposes a more specific Minimum Data Set reporting process to capture distinct calendar days of therapy.
AHA surveying hospitals about transition to ICD-10, EHR meaningful use   05/02/2013
The AHA is surveying community hospital CEOs through May 17 to learn how best to help and advocate for members as they transition to the ICD-10 coding system for patient diagnoses and procedures, and to meaningful use of electronic health records. Details on the ICD-10 and Meaningful Use Readiness Survey were emailed yesterday to CEOs at all community hospitals. Individual data from the survey will not be released publicly, but will be shared with state hospital associations to assist in joint readiness efforts. For more information, contact AHA’s George Arges at (312) 422-3398 or
Groups issue joint statement in support of Strong Start campaign   05/02/2013
The AHA and six other organizations that support the delivery of maternity care yesterday issued a joint statement of support for the Strong Start Initiative, a national public-private partnership to eliminate non-medically indicated elective deliveries before 39 weeks gestation. The statement encourages all hospitals to have a documented plan or policy to reduce or eliminate early elective deliveries. It also suggests posting the policy to the hospital’s website and voluntarily reporting early elective delivery data to a Hospital Engagement Network. In addition to AHA, signers include the American Academy of Family Physicians; American Academy of Pediatrics; American College of Nurse Midwives; American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists; Association of Women’s Health, Obstetric and Neonatal Nurses; and March of Dimes. The AHA Board of Trustees last year adopted a formal position supporting policies to eliminate early-term, non-medically necessary deliveries, which research has shown can increase health complications for babies. AHA and its Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate are working with the Strong Start initiative to reduce early elective deliveries at hospitals through the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Partnership for Patients campaign.
Medical schools expect 30% enrollment increase by 2017   05/02/2013
First-year medical school enrollment is projected to reach 21,434 in 2017-2018, a 30% increase from 2002-2003, according to a report released today by the Association of American Medical Colleges’ Center for Workforce Studies. Based on the association’s latest annual survey of medical school deans, 62% of the growth is expected to occur at the 125 medical schools accredited as of 2002, and the rest from new schools or those seeking accreditation. About 40% of survey respondents expressed “major concern” about enrollment growth outpacing growth in residency training positions, also known as graduate medical education.