Administration delays ACA employer penalty   07/03/2013
The Department of the Treasury late yesterday announced it will postpone for one year the requirement that businesses cover their workers under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “The administration is announcing that it will provide an additional year before the ACA mandatory employer and insurer reporting requirements begin,” the department said, noting additional guidance will follow within a week. In a statement, AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said, “While the administration has already recognized that some of the Medicaid and Medicare Disproportionate Share Hospital programs cuts should be delayed because the level of coverage envisioned in the ACA is not being met, this announcement clearly shows the need to eliminate the cuts for two years. As the administration continues to recommend adjustments to the law, this should be a key consideration. A growing number of congressmen, led by Rep. John Lewis (D-GA), agree with this solution. We will continue to work with Congress and the administration on the implementation of the law to make sure that the coverage needs for the uninsured are met.”
HHS issues health IT safety plan   07/03/2013
The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday released a plan to increase knowledge of the role of health IT in the context of patient safety, as recommended by a 2011 Institute of Medicine report. According to HHS, the plan uses existing authorities of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, and Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT to strengthen patient safety efforts across government programs, and lays out immediate actions that the federal government and private sector stakeholders can take to increase data and knowledge about health IT safety; target resources and corrective actions to improve health IT safety and patient safety; and promote a culture of safety related to health IT. For more on the plan, visit
CDC: Sharp rise in pain reliever overdoses, especially in women   07/03/2013
The annual number of overdose deaths from opioid pain relievers rose 415% for women and 265% for men between 1999 and 2010, to more than 6,600 and 10,000, respectively, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women are more likely than men to be prescribed prescription painkillers, given higher doses and use them for longer periods, the report notes. Among other actions, the report recommends that states increase access to substance abuse treatment, and that health care providers check state prescription drug monitoring databases before prescribing controlled substances long-term. “Doctors need to be cautious about prescribing and patients about using these drugs,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D.
CMS announces next webinar on Health Care Innovation grants   07/03/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host a webinar July 11 for potential applicants and partnering entities in round two of the Health Care Innovation Awards, which will provide up to $1 billion in funding to test new payment and service delivery models. The webinar, the latest in a series, will focus on developing payment models. For more information and to register for the webinar, click here.
AHA members-only Town Hall webcast Tuesday   07/03/2013
Tune in for the next AHA members-only Town Hall Interactive webcast on Tuesday, July 9, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time. Maulik Joshi, president of the Health Research & Educational Trust and AHA senior vice president of research, will be joined by Pauline Grant, CEO of Broward Health North, and David Zechman, president and CEO of Ozarks Medical Center, to discuss the many quality improvement efforts underway as part of the Hospital Engagement Network. To participate in the 2013 webcasts, register here. For more information, call (800) 424-4301.