New submission deadline for inpatient psychiatric facility quality data   07/18/2013
Inpatient psychiatric facilities now have until Aug. 23 to submit quality data through QualityNet, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced yesterday. QualityNet was reopened to IPFs last week after CMS delayed the start of the data submission period due to system constraints.  IPFs and separately licensed, distinct-part psychiatric units in acute care hospitals paid under the IPF prospective payment system are eligible to participate in the IPF quality reporting program. Beginning with fiscal year 2014 payments, eligible facilities must comply with all IPFQR data submission requirements and deadlines to receive a full annual payment update. Questions about the data submission process can be directed to Telligen, CMS’ support contractor for the IPFQR, at (888) 961-6425 or IPF-PCHQRSupport@telligen.org.
Groups urge Congress to address patent assertion abuses   07/18/2013
A broad group of 50 organizations, including the AHA, yesterday urged congressional leaders to address abuses of the legal system by certain patent assertion entities, also known as patent trolls. “Managing frivolous patent suits unfortunately has become an expensive distraction for a large cross section of American businesses,” the groups said in a letter to House and Senate leaders. “…We are pleased to see Chairman Leahy and Chairman Goodlatte are seeking comprehensive legislative solutions in the Judiciary Committees. Likewise, we are encouraged that several other Members have introduced legislation to tackle some of the complex problems we face. President Obama has also weighed in with executive actions and recommended legislation. There is no single solution to this complex question, but meaningful reforms like these would make it more difficult for patent trolls to continue their destructive business model.”
HHS: Proposed silver premiums nearly 20% lower than expected   07/18/2013
Premiums in the Health Insurance Marketplace may be lower than expected in 2014 based on rates proposed for silver-level health plans in 11 states, the Department of Health and Human Services reported today. In 11 states posting premium rates for the individual market, the average proposed premium for the lowest-cost silver health plan is 18% lower than expected based on HHS estimates derived from Congressional Budget office publications. In six states releasing data for the small group market, the average proposed premium for the lowest-cost silver plan is 18% lower than it would be without the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, HHS estimates. The report is based on data from health insurance exchanges in California, Colorado, the District of Columbia, New Mexico, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington.
CDC reports on disparities in years of good health, life expectancy   07/18/2013
Healthy Life Expectancy at age 65, an estimate of expected years of life in good health, varies by state from 10.8 years in Mississippi to 16.2 years in Hawaii, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In all states, HLE is greater for women than for men, with the difference ranging from 0.7 years in Louisiana to 3.1 years in North and South Dakota. With the exception of Nevada and New Mexico, HLE also is greater for whites than for African Americans. The findings are based on federal survey data from 2007 to 2009. According to a separate CDC report released today, life expectancy for the black population was 3.8 years lower than for whites in 2010, due to higher death rates for heart disease, cancer, homicide, diabetes and perinatal conditions.