Congress urged to retain key 501(c)(3) tax provisions for health care   07/25/2013
As members of the Senate Finance Committee work to reform the nation’s tax code, AHA yesterday urged them to retain current tax code incentives that support access to hospital services. “The ability to obtain tax-exempt financing and to accept tax-deductible charitable contributions are two key benefits of hospital tax-exemption that work to make access to hospital services available where needed,” wrote AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack. “The current exemption for hospital services, governed and guided by the community benefit standard, allows the community in which the hospital operates to determine the needs of its residents, and the hospital to tailor its activities accordingly. That approach continues to work well for communities across the nation.”
Study: Automated quality reporting fails to live up to promise   07/25/2013
The current approach to automated quality reporting fails to deliver on the promise of a feasible way to generate valid and reliable quality data, according to a study released today by the AHA. The study by iParsimony LLC describes the experience of four hospitals – large and small, urban and metropolitan – using electronic health records to generate electronic Clinical Quality Measures, as required for Stage 1 meaningful use under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. Each of the hospitals uses a different EHR vendor and had significant prior experience with EHRs, but was unable to use their EHRs to efficiently implement the electronic CQMs and achieve accurate results. The study recommends specific policy changes starting with Stage 2 meaningful use to redirect the electronic clinical quality reporting requirements to focus on a small set of well-tested measures, supported by a mature policy infrastructure that can guide valid and feasible measure development, testing and implementation.
AHA: Insurance premiums continue to outpace hospital price growth   07/25/2013
Hospital price growth is at its lowest rate in more than a decade, while insurance premiums continue to outpace hospital price growth, according to an infographic released today by the AHA. The data contradict recently reported claims that consolidation in the hospital field is leading to higher prices. While fundamental changes in health care delivery and payment are driving hospitals toward one another and toward their medical staffs, only about 10% of hospitals have been part of a merger or acquisition in the past six years, and growth in spending on hospital care is at historic lows, the infographic notes.
AHA announces chair-elect designate   07/25/2013
The AHA Board of Trustees has elected as its chair-elect designate Jonathan Perlin, M.D., president of clinical and physician services and chief medical officer for Nashville-based HCA (Hospital Corporation of America). He will assume the chairmanship in 2015. Since 2006, Perlin has provided leadership for clinical services and performance improvement at HCA’s 161 hospitals, 114 ambulatory surgery centers and roughly 650 physician practices. He also chairs the Department of Health and Human Services’ Health IT Standards Committee and serves on the board of trustees for the National Patient Safety Foundation. Before joining HCA, Perlin was Under Secretary for Health at the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, where he led the Veterans Health Administration, the nation’s largest integrated health system. He also has served on the boards of the National Quality Forum and The Joint Commission. “I look forward to working with the AHA, its members, and allied hospital associations, in support of the AHA mission to improve health and care during this challenging and exciting time,” Perlin said.
AHA honors two federal hospital leaders   07/25/2013
The AHA today presented two federal hospital leaders with awards for outstanding service in the health care field. Capt. Maureen Padden, M.D., U.S. Naval Hospital Pensacola, FL, received the 2012 Federal Health Care Executive Award for Excellence for using her extensive experience as a family physician, teacher and executive to dramatically transform the way primary care is delivered in U.S. Navy Medicine and the Military Healthcare System. Commander Matthew Case, U.S. Naval Hospital, Camp Lejeune, NC, received the 2012 Federal Health Care Executive Special Achievement Award for his significant contributions in combat and hospital-based assignments as the principal driving force behind improved operational health services support for U.S. and Coalition Forces in Helmand Province, Afghanistan. “Today’s honorees exemplify dedication to excellence and service to their country and, on behalf of the American Hospital Association, I thank them for the incredible work they do each day,” said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock.