Appeals court strikes down NLRB notice posting rule   06/17/2013
The National Labor Relations Board exceeded its authority when it issued a rule requiring all employers subject to the National Labor Relations Act, including most hospitals, to post notices informing employees of their rights under the NLRA, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit ruled Friday. The Board lacks authority to promulgate such a rule pursuant to Section 6 of the NLRA, the court said, affirming a district court decision last April that resulted from a challenge brought by the U.S. and South Carolina Chambers of Commerce. This is the second decision from a federal appeals court invalidating the rule. The rule also was invalidated by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia in April.  A similar notice posting requirement issued by the Labor Department’s Office of Federal Contracts Compliance Programs currently applies to certain federal contractors.
Coalition launches new hospital advocacy website   06/17/2013
The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care today launched a new state-of-the-art website, a crucial step in its efforts to create a significant online presence with hospital executives, allied health professionals, patients and members of the general public. “This new website is another major step forward by the Coalition to engage caregivers and the public to protect patient care,” said Coalition Chairman Thomas Zenty III, CEO of University Hospitals in Cleveland. “That is our mission and our goal.” Since March, the Coalition has recruited more than 125,000 hospital supporters through e-mail sign up, Facebook “likes” and Twitter followers. All hospital leaders and employees are encouraged to join the national movement of grassroots supporters at www.ProtectHealthCare.org. AHA is a founding member of the Coalition, a broad-based group dedicated to educating the public about issues affecting hospitals' financial situation, and what this means for patients and their families.
AMA reports on claims processing performance of large insurers   06/17/2013
The American Medical Association today released its sixth annual report on the claims processing performance of the nation’s largest health insurers. This year’s report looks at the timeliness, transparency and accuracy of claims processing by Medicare and seven commercial insurers: Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield, Cigna Corp., Health Care Services Corp., Humana Inc., Regence, and UnitedHealthcare. While error rates for commercial insurers on paid medical claims dropped from nearly 20% in 2010 to 7.1% in 2013, AMA estimates that more than $43 billion could have been saved if commercial insurers consistently paid claims correctly. Claim denials by the commercial insurers declined from 3.5% in 2012 to 1.8% in 2013, while Medicare had the highest denial rate at 4.9%. This year’s report includes a new index ranking the commercial insurers according to the level of unnecessary cost they contribute to the billing and payment of claims.
Hospital prices unchanged in May   06/17/2013
Overall hospital prices were unchanged in May, and 1.8% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported Friday. Prices for the subgroup of general medical and surgical hospitals increased 0.1%, and were 1.8% higher than in May 2012, according to the BLS' Producer Price Indices, which measure average changes in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. For hospitals, this translates into actual or expected reimbursement for a sample of treatments or services. The PPI for hospitals measure changes in actual or expected reimbursement received for services across the full range of payer types. This includes the negotiated contract rate from the payer plus any portion expected to be paid by the patient.
AHA webinar Wednesday to review latest RAC survey data   06/17/2013
Hospitals are invited to review results from the AHA's latest RACTrac survey and learn more about the initiative during a webinar on June 19 at 2 p.m. Eastern Time. The free web-based survey helps gauge the impact of Medicare recovery audit contractors and helps AHA advocate for needed changes to the program. The latest results include new data on RAC medical necessity reviews and appeals. For more on the AHA's RACTrac initiative, visit www.aha.org/ractrac.