IOM reports on potential impact of proposed Medicare geographic adjustments    07/17/2012
Most hospitals would see Medicare inpatient prospective payment system payments increase or decrease by less than 5% if the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services adopted changes to the hospital wage index proposed last year by the Institute of Medicine, according to a report released today by the IOM committee. The committee estimates that IPPS payments would increase or decrease by less than 5% for 88% of IPPS discharges, decrease by 10% or more for 2.3% of discharges, and increase by 10% or more for 0.3% of discharges. The committee last year proposed moving to one source of wage and benefits data for the hospital wage index and physician geographic practice cost indexes; changing to one set of payment areas and labor markets; using smoothing techniques based on commuting patterns to lessen wage differentials across geographic boundaries; and expanding the range of occupations included in the index calculations. The report estimates that physician payments would increase or decrease by less than 5% for 96% of Part B relative value units, decrease by 10% or more for 0.1% of RVUs, and increase by 10% or more for 0.3% of RVUs. The AHA has a task force examining the Medicare area wage index, which will be discussing the IOM analysis and its impact on hospitals.
House appropriations bill targets cuts to AHRQ, outcomes research   07/17/2012
The House Labor-HHS-Education Appropriations Subcommittee today released a draft appropriations bill for fiscal year 2013 that would terminate funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality effective Oct. 1 and ban federal funding of patient-centered outcomes research. The bill, which the committee is scheduled to mark up tomorrow, also would rescind funding for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's prevention fund and contains other provisions intended to repeal health care reform efforts.
Former AHA chair shares hospital strategies for transforming care delivery   07/17/2012
At a Health Affairs conference today on implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, former AHA Chairman Tom Priselac, president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai Health System in Los Angeles, described strategies that hospitals and health systems are pursuing to achieve the desired care systems of the future. Detailed in a September 2011 report by the AHA Committee on Performance Improvement, the strategies include aligning hospitals, physicians and other providers across the continuum of care; using evidence-based practices to improve quality and patient safety; improving efficiency through productivity and financial management; and developing integrated information systems. At Cedars-Sinai, Priselac said the centerpiece of those efforts is a system-wide care innovation strategy called Cedars-Sinai Medicine. To achieve payment and delivery system reform, he said it will be essential for the various elements of reform to "improve quality and bend the cost curve for the entire system, not just selected segments of the system."
Programs honored for innovation in palliative, end-of-life care   07/17/2012
Three programs that expand the reach of palliative and end-of-life care will receive 2012 Circle of Life awards July 20. The recipients are: Akron Children's Hospital (Haslinger Family Pediatric Palliative Care Center) in Akron, OH; Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, NY; and Sharp HealthCare in San Diego. "A patient needing palliative or end-of-life care faces difficult challenges that must be addressed with unique skills and expertise," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "These organizations exemplify what the health care field is striving for: compassionate care for patients and families at all times." In addition, citations of honor will go to: Community PedsCare of Community Hospice of Northeast Florida in Jacksonville, FL; St. Joseph Hospital in Orange, CA; and Unity in De Pere, WI. For more, see the AHA news release.