CMS extends deadline for reporting certain hospital quality data   07/27/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today extended the deadline for submitting certain first-quarter 2012 data to the hospital inpatient and outpatient quality reporting programs, citing a high volume of report traffic and performance issues with the reports. The one-week extension - until Aug. 8 - applies to population and sampling data for the inpatient and outpatient programs, and to chart abstracted data for the outpatient program only. For more information on the deadlines or reports, contact the QualityNet helpdesk at (866) 288-8912 from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Eastern Time.
CMS updates IRFs, LTCHs on quality reporting programs   07/27/2012
Replays of Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' conference calls yesterday on the quality reporting programs for inpatient rehabilitation facilities and long-term care hospitals will be available July 30 through Aug. 1. To access the replays, dial (855) 859-2056. The conference IDs are 13189170 for the IRF call and 13198135 for the LTCH call. Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, IRFs that do not submit data for two quality measures for pressure ulcers and catheter-associated urinary tract infections beginning in rate year 2014 will receive a 2 percentage point reduction in their annual payment update.
Study: Adult mortality falls after three state Medicaid expansions    07/27/2012
 New York, Maine and Arizona experienced a 6.1% reduction in adult mortality after they expanded Medicaid coverage for adults, according to a study published online this week by the New England Journal of Medicine. The state expansions increased Medicaid coverage for adults by 2.2 percentage points, reduced the proportion of uninsured adults by 3.2 percentage points, and decreased the proportion of adults delaying care because of costs by 2.9 percentage points, the study found. Mortality reductions were greatest for adults between the ages of 35 and 64, minorities and those living in poorer areas. "Policymakers should be aware that major changes in Medicaid - either expansions or reductions in coverage - may have significant effects on the health of vulnerable populations," the authors conclude.
CMS awards CO-OP loan    07/27/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today awarded Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative Inc. a $69.4 million loan to launch a Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan in Colorado. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provides $3.8 billion for the CO-OP program, which offers start-up and solvency loans to help eligible private, nonprofit organizations become health insurance issuers and sell coverage through state insurance exchanges and Small Business Health Option programs. To date, 18 organizations have been awarded CO-OP loans totaling $1.4 billion.
Iowa hospitals provide $1.4 billion in community benefits   07/27/2012
Hospitals in Iowa provided more than $1.4 billion in community benefits in 2011, according to a new report from the Iowa Hospital Association. The total includes $950 million in uncompensated care (charity care and bad debt); $148 million in programs and services such as health screenings, support groups, counseling and immunizations; and more than $274 million in losses due to Medicare and Medicaid payment shortfalls, a 5.8% increase over last year's report. For more on Iowa hospitals, including community benefits, visit