CMS announces second round of innovation grants   05/15/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will award up to $1 billion in funding in round two of the Health Care Innovation Awards, a Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act initiative to test new payment and service delivery models. The second round of awards will focus on models to: rapidly reduce Medicare, Medicaid and Children’s Health Insurance Program costs in the outpatient and post-acute settings; improve care for populations with specialized needs; test approaches for specific types of providers to transform financial and clinical models; and improve the health of populations. Applicants must include a payment model design with their proposed service delivery model. All applicants must submit by June 28 a non-binding letter of intent to apply. Applications are due Aug. 15. For more information, see the funding opportunity announcement. The ACA authorizes $10 billion for the CMS initiative over 10 years. Health care providers and health systems are eligible to apply.
Senate confirms Tavenner as CMS administrator   05/15/2013
The U.S. Senate today voted 91-7 to confirm the president’s nomination of Marilyn Tavenner as Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services administrator. AHA applauded the confirmation. “As acting administrator, Marilyn has demonstrated her willingness to listen to, learn from and work in partnership with the nation’s health care providers,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “She has worked to reduce red tape and regulatory burden to ensure that more providers’ time and resources are spent on caring for patients. Marilyn’s varied and rich background as a nurse, health care executive and government official at both the state and national levels gives her a unique perspective and demonstrates that she is a very capable leader of the Medicare and Medicaid programs. We look forward to continuing our work with Marilyn to improve health care in America.”
CDC project reduces dialysis bloodstream infections   05/15/2013
A collaborative of 17 outpatient dialysis facilities reduced overall blood stream infections by 32% using a package of evidence-based prevention practices, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced yesterday. That includes a 54% reduction in infections related to accessing the blood stream for hemodialysis. “The mostly hospital-based hemodialysis facilities participating in this collaborative project were able to demonstrate substantial intervention-associated decreases in their BSI and access-related BSI rates, adding evidence that multicenter initiatives can effectively prevent vascular access infections,” the study authors state in the American Journal of Kidney Diseases. “BSI reductions of this magnitude have the potential to markedly advance patient safety and produce cost savings.” The project offers a series of observation and checklist tools to help dialysis facilities implement the recommended practices. CDC also offers a free infection prevention course that reviews the recommendations.
House committee approves 'track and trace' drug distribution bill   05/15/2013
The House Energy and Commerce Committee today approved legislation to increase the safety and security of the nation’s drug distribution system. Among other provisions, the “track and trace” bill would establish lot-level tracing requirements for manufacturers, wholesale distributors, pharmacies and repackagers based on changes in ownership, and establish a collaborative process between the Food and Drug Administration and stakeholders to better understand how and when to move to unit-level traceability. FDA then must issue a proposed regulation on unit-level traceability in 2027. Next Wednesday, the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is scheduled to markup draft “track and trace” legislation that would require “interoperable, electronic unit-level product tracing” within 10 years.
CBO: 1 in 5 Americans newly eligible for Medicaid not in expansion states   05/15/2013
The Congressional Budget Office estimates that 20% of Americans who would be newly eligible for Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act could be excluded because they live in states that are not expected to expand Medicaid coverage, according to updated budget projections released by the office yesterday. CBO expects another 10% of newly eligible Americans to reside in states that partially extend Medicaid coverage, but does not elaborate on its definition of partial expansion in light of the Department of Health and Human Services’ stance against permitting partial expansions. Under the ACA, uninsured Americans earning more than 100% of the federal poverty level could qualify for subsidies to purchase health coverage in the new Health Insurance Marketplaces, but those earning less would not.
PCORI accepting applicants for $81 million in research funding   05/15/2013
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute will award up to $81 million in its next round of research funding, according to announcements released today. Required letters of intent from applicants are due June 15 and applications are due Aug. 15. Authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the funding will support the Institute's five national research priorities: assessing prevention, diagnosis and treatment options; improving health care systems; communicating and disseminating research; addressing disparities; and improving research methods. With this round of funding, the Institute said it has revised its funding announcements to clarify key review criteria and application definitions, and has upgraded its online application system, guidelines and templates.