AHA seeks further clarification on ACA Medicaid expansion   08/20/2012
The AHA today sent Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius questions with respect to the Medicaid expansion as it relates to the Supreme Court's recent ruling on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Among other issues, AHA asks how HHS will communicate decisions related to the Medicaid expansion; whether states can expand Medicaid coverage to certain populations or phase in coverage over several years; and how the expansion option will affect Disproportionate Share Hospital payment reductions. In June, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the ACA's Medicaid expansion constitutional, but said that the federal government could not withhold all existing Medicaid funds from a state that refuses to participate in the Medicaid expansion.
DOJ/FTC announce workshop on 'most-favored nation' clauses   08/20/2012
The Department of Justice and Federal Trade Commission on Sept.10 will hold a joint public workshop to explore the use of "most-favored nation" clauses and the implications for antitrust enforcement and policy. "The most commonly used MFN provisions guarantee a customer that it will receive prices that are at least as favorable as those provided to other buyers of the same seller, for the same products or services," DOJ said in a press release announcing the workshop. "Although at times employed for benign purposes, MFNs can under certain circumstances present competitive concerns." The agencies will accept written comments related to the workshop through Oct.10 at ATR.LPS-MFNPublicWorkshop@usdoj.gov. In October 2010, DOJ filed a lawsuit to stop Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan from including and enforcing MFN clauses in its contracts with hospitals.
Study: TeamSTEPPS improves team skills for senior medical students   08/20/2012
Integrating a TeamSTEPPS curriculum into medical schools may help prepare graduating medical students for their postgraduate activities, according to a study published today in the Archives of Surgery. The Department of Surgery at the Southern Illinois School of Medicine used the TeamSTEPPS Essentials Course to test whether the curriculum could improve teamwork knowledge and behaviors when offered as an elective for graduating medical students with interest in surgery and emergency medicine. The curriculum "led to measurable knowledge and team performance improvement for senior medical students," the authors conclude. "Further studies should be considered to investigate the generalizability of these findings." Developed by the Department of Defense and Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, the TeamSTEPPS (Team Strategies and Tools to Enhance Performance and Patient Safety) program provides a framework for implementing structured processes to promote effective teamwork among health care workers to improve patient safety. AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust last year received an AHRQ contract to coordinate the national network of TeamSTEPPS training centers and facilitate a learning network to equip master trainers to improve teamwork within their facilities.