House panel drops proposal to repeal hospital mortgage insurance program   07/22/2013
The House Committee on Financial Services tomorrow will mark up legislation to establish new standards for the Federal Housing Administration’s hospital mortgage insurance program, rather than repeal it. Section 292 of the Protecting American Taxpayers and Homeowners Act would require the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development to set standards and limits for the program related to the percentage of coverage provided to entities that lack “access to credit where accessing such credit would allow the hospital to service low and moderate income populations,” and the percentage of program commitment authority “concentrated in hospitals owned by a single entity or person.” The bill also would require FHA to study the impact of geographic concentration in the program. AHA last week urged committee leaders to reject a provision in draft legislation proposed by Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling that would have repealed the program.
AHA briefs Congress on need to extend rural Medicare provisions   07/22/2013
The AHA today participated in a “Rural 101” policy briefing on Capitol Hill to educate congressional staff about the importance of passing legislation that would extend several lapsed or soon-to-expire Medicare provisions that impact rural patients and health care providers. Lisa Kidder, AHA vice president of legislative affairs, shared with attendees the need for Congress to extend the Medicare-dependent hospital program and low-volume hospital payment adjustment, set to expire Oct. 1, and to reinstate the outpatient hold harmless payments that expired last year. In addition to AHA, representatives from the Office of Rural Health Policy and National Association of Rural Health Clinics participated in the briefing, on the importance of rural health care, sponsored by the House Rural Health Coalition co-chaired by Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-WA) and Ron Kind (D-WI).
Four hospitals honored for quality leadership, innovation   07/22/2013
Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston will receive the 2013 AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize Thursday for its sustainable and pervasive approach to achieving the Institute of Medicine’s six quality aims: safe, effective, efficient, timely, patient-centered and equitable health care. The $75,000 annual prize honors leadership and innovation in quality improvement and safety. Franklin Woods Community Hospital in Johnson City, TN, will receive the $12,500 finalist prize, while St. Mary’s Hospital in Centralia, IL, and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville, NC, will receive Citations of Merit. “The AHA-McKesson Quest for Quality Prize spotlights an organization-wide commitment to highly reliable, patient-focused care provided with exceptional quality,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. “These hospitals supply lessons from which all hospitals can learn.” The awards, supported by a grant from McKesson Corp., will be presented at the Health Forum and AHA Leadership Summit in San Diego. For more information, see the AHA news release.
HPOE guide reviews steps for reducing catheter-associated infections   07/22/2013
A new guide from the AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative describes a three-step action plan to reduce catheter-associated urinary tract infections, and other key lessons from the national On the CUSP: Stop CAUTI project. The steps are: communicate that infection reduction is an organizational priority; provide implementation support; and celebrate success, support sustainability and spread learning. A recent HPOE webinar, available free online, also addresses the business case for eliminating CAUTI, the importance of culture, ways to demonstrate support for CAUTI reduction, the value of teams, and sustainability and spread of CAUTI reduction initiatives. AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate coordinates the On the CUSP initiative through a contract with the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.
HRSA awards $12 million to Teaching Health Centers   07/22/2013
The Health Resources and Services Administration Friday awarded $12 million in funding to support primary care residency programs at 32 Teaching Health Centers. Funded by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Teaching Health Center Graduate Medical Education Payment Program awards will help train more than 300 residents in family and internal medicine, pediatrics, obstetrics and gynecology, psychiatry, and general and pediatric dentistry during the 2013-2014 academic year. “This program not only provides training to primary care medical and dental residents, but also galvanizes communities,” said HRSA Administrator Mary Wakefield. “It brings hospitals, academic centers, health centers and community organizations together to provide top-notch medical education and services in areas of the country that need them most.”