CMS to host Aug 9 call on Medicare prepayment review demonstration    07/31/2012
The AHA today voiced support for the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act Reauthorization of 2011 (S. 1855), which would strengthen national medical and public health preparedness by reauthorizing and improving critical programs, and urged lawmakers to include changes to Section 1135 waivers in the final bill. "As you work with the House of Representatives on a final reauthorization bill, we ask for your leadership in using lessons learned since 2006 to make necessary changes to Section 1135 waivers, such as allowing the Health and Human Services Secretary to implement Section 1135 waivers for hospitals without a concurrent requirement for a presidential declaration and allowing waivers to be used in areas that receive evacuees from a disaster," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a letter to leaders of the Senate Health, Education, Labor & Pensions Committee. "These changes are critical to allow hospitals to continue to provide optimal care during declared emergencies and should be included in the final reauthorization bill."
Hospital groups brief Congress on need to extend rural Medicare provisions   07/31/2012
The AHA today participated in a 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. Over the years, Congress has enacted several provisions including the low-volume hospital payment adjustment, Medicare-Dependent Hospital program and Section 508 reclassification program to address the special challenges rural and other providers face in delivering health care services to their communities. In February, Congress passed the Middle Class Tax Relief and Job Creation Act of 2012, which extended several provisions important to rural hospitals and beneficiaries, many of which will need to be extended again before the end of the year. In addition to the AHA, representatives from the National Rural Health Association, National Association of Rural Health Clinics, Rural Policy Research Institute and Rural Hospital Coalition participated in the briefing, sponsored by the Senate Rural Health Caucus.
CDC: More adults over 45 with multiple chronic conditions    07/31/2012
The proportion of U.S. adults aged 45-64 with two or more chronic conditions increased 35% for whites, 31% for Hispanics and 20% for African Americans between 2000 and 2010, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 28% of African Americans aged 45-64 had multiple chronic conditions in 2010, compared with 21% of whites and 19% of Hispanics, based on data from the National Health Interview Survey, which looks at nine chronic conditions: hypertension, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, stroke, chronic bronchitis, emphysema, asthma and kidney disease. For adults aged 65 and over, the prevalence of multiple chronic conditions increased by 32% for Hispanics, 22% for whites and 18% for African Americans over the 10-year period. According to the report, the trend "presents a complex challenge to the U.S. health care system, both in terms of quality of life and expenditures from an aging population."
NIH creates office for emergency care research   07/31/2012
The National Institutes of Health today launched an Office of Emergency Care Research, which will coordinate NIH research to improve health outcomes for emergency care patients. Walter Koroshetz, M.D., deputy director of the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, will lead the office until a permanent director is named. "NIH has supported research to advance emergency care for years; however, now we have a single office to coordinate and foster our activities in this arena," said NIH Director Francis Collins, M.D.
AHA announces new trustees for 2013   07/31/2012
The AHA recently elected seven members to its Board of Trustees for three-year terms beginning Jan. 1, and appointed one member to fill a one-year vacancy on the board. William "Bud" Barrow II, president and CEO of Our Lady of Lourdes Regional Medical Center in Lafayette, LA; Thomas Burke, M.D., executive vice president and physician-in-chief at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston; Carolyn Caldwell, president and CEO of Centerpoint Medical Center in Independence, MO; Joanne Carrocino, president and CEO of Cape Regional Health System in Cape May Court House, NJ; Vickie Diamond, president and CEO of Wyoming Medical Center in Casper, WY; Bea Grause, president and CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems; and Jim Skogsbergh, president and CEO of Advocate Health Care in Oak Brook, IL, will serve three-year terms on the board. Eugene Woods, executive vice president and chief operating officer of CHRISTUS Health in Irving, TX, will fill the one-year vacancy and be eligible for a full term beginning in 2014. For more information, see the AHA news release.
Hospital leader left mark on AHA, field   07/31/2012
AHA Trustee Timothy Stack, president and CEO of Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta, died yesterday at the age of 60. Stack was a current member of the Board of Trustees as chairman of Regional Policy Board 4, and served a partial term as RPB 5 chairman in 2000-01. He was incoming chair for the Georgia Association of Community Hospitals and served on the advisory committee for the Georgia Health Insurance Exchange. He previously served as chairman of the Georgia Hospital Association. Before joining Piedmont in 2001, Stack served as president and CEO of Borgess Health Alliance and Borgess Medical Center in Kalamazoo, MI, and as senior vice president and chief operating officer at Central Medical Center and Hospital in Pittsburgh. "Tim was a strong and caring leader whose dedication to his family, hospital and community was abundantly clear to all who had the privilege of working with him," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "He was also a strong advocate of the AHA. We are very grateful for his many contributions to the AHA Board of Trustees, Regional Policy Board 4, and to the Association."
CMS to host Aug 9 call on Medicare prepayment review demonstration    07/31/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host an Aug. 9 conference call for hospitals on the Recovery Audit Prepayment Review Demonstration, which begins on Aug 27 in 11 states. The three-year demonstration will audit medical records for claims after the claims are submitted but before they are paid. As with other medical necessity audits, the outcome for this demo will be based on the reviewer's clinical judgment about whether an item or service was eligible for Medicare coverage and was medically reasonable and necessary. More details on the call, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, will be posted soon at