CMS updates payment for inpatient psych facilities, initiates quality data reporting   08/03/2012
Inpatient psychiatric facilities must begin collecting quality data on Oct. 1, but will have until July 2013 to submit the data under the IPF prospective payment system, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced yesterday. AHA had urged CMS to delay the proposed Oct. 1, 2012 start of data collection to give distinct part IPF units, which represent more than two-thirds of IPFs and have never reported quality measures, adequate time to build the infrastructure needed to accurately collect and report data. Importantly, the CMS database will only accept quality data between July 1 and Aug. 15. Thus, to receive full credit for reporting quality data for fiscal year 2014 payments, IPFs must collect the data for the Oct. 1 through Dec. 31, 2012 quarter and for the Jan. 1 through March 31, 2013 quarter, but cannot submit the data until July 1, 2013. According to yesterday's notice, IPFs will receive an estimated 0.8% ($36 million) net Medicare payment increase under the IPF PPS in FY 2013. The update reflects a 2.7% market-basket update minus a 0.1 percentage point reduction and 0.7 percentage point reduction required by law; along with a 1.1 percentage point decrease due to an update to the outlier threshold amount, which decreases outlier payments from about 3.1% in rate year 2012 to 2.0% in FY 2013.
Hospitals encouraged to complete respiratory PPE assessment   08/03/2012
The AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust and Association for Healthcare Resource and Materials Management are collaborating with the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials to learn how many respirators and other respiratory personal protective equipment U.S. acute care hospitals have available for workers. Instructions for accessing the online Respiratory PPE Assessment were e-mailed yesterday to all hospital CEOs, who are encouraged to have the appropriate staff complete the assessment by Aug. 10. Aggregate state-level data will be provided to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, which are providing funding and technical support for the assessment. The data will help CDC plan for a future flu pandemic. No individual facilities will be identified or referenced in any report summarizing the findings. For more information, contact AHA Survey Support at (800) 530-9092 or surveysupport@healthforum.com.
CDC reports 16 new human cases of swine flu    08/03/2012
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention today reported 16 human infections with the H3N2v swine flu virus since July 12, none of which have resulted in hospitalization or death. The new cases bring to 29 the number of human infections since July 2011. The affected states and case counts are: Ohio (10), Indiana (7), Iowa (3), Pennsylvania (3), Maine (2), West Virginia (2), Utah (1) and Hawaii (1). All of the recent cases involved contact with swine, mostly at agricultural fairs, but there is no indication that the cases in different states are related, CDC said. Public health and agriculture officials are investigating the extent of disease among humans and swine, and said additional cases are likely to be identified as the investigation continues. CDC advised health care providers who suspect influenza in people with recent exposure to swine to obtain a swab or aspirate from the patient and contact their state or local health department. More information for health professionals can be found at www.cdc.gov.
Hospital employment rises by 5,300 in July   08/03/2012
Employment at the nation's hospitals increased 0.11% in July to a seasonally adjusted 4,817,600 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. That's 5,300 more people than in June and 86,400 more than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, which removes the effect of fluctuations due to seasonal events, hospitals employed 4,832,600 people in July - 11,700 more than in June and 85,500 more than a year ago. The nation's overall unemployment rate increased by 0.1 percentage point in July to 8.3%.