Survey: Premium increases remain moderate in 2013   08/20/2013
Annual premiums for employer-sponsored health coverage rose an average 4% for families and 5% for individuals in 2013, according to the 15th annual Kaiser Family Foundation/Health Research & Educational Trust Employer Health Benefits Survey, released today. That’s moderate by historical standards. "We are in a prolonged period of moderation in premiums, which should create some breathing room for the private sector to try to reduce costs without cutting back benefits for workers," said Kaiser President and CEO Drew Altman. According to the survey, employee wellness programs are a popular strategy for employers trying to control costs this year, with 35% of employers calling them a very effective strategy. "Ensuring that workers have access to affordable coverage is important for our health care system and slower premium growth is supporting that," said Maulik Joshi, HRET president and AHA senior vice president for research. "Wellness programs are an exciting component of this process with employers offering resources to employees that help improve their overall health - our ultimate goal."
CMS to host webinar on EHR Stage 2 meaningful use for hospitals   08/20/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services will host an Aug. 27 webinar for hospitals on preparing for Stage 2 meaningful use of electronic health records under the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. CMS experts will present and answer questions on Stage 2 criteria, 2014 clinical quality measures and key deadlines. To register for the webinar, from 12-1:30 p.m. Eastern Time, click here. The webinar is part of a CMS series on eHealth programs and resources. To view past webinars or receive information on future events, visit
Guide provides four-step approach to collecting data to reduce disparities   08/20/2013
A new guide from the Equity of Care initiative and AHA’s Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence provides a four-step approach to collecting patient Race, Ethnicity And Language data to reduce disparities in care. “By adopting a four-step approach – defining the right data categories, developing a methodology for collection, training staff, and assigning accountability/monitoring progress – hospitals and care systems will have a strong REAL data set for analysis,” the guide states. “With this data, hospitals and care systems can stratify outcomes measures to understand where disparities exist, prioritize where to focus time and resources and develop patient-centered interventions.” Launched in 2011, the Equity of Care initiative seeks to end health care disparities by increasing the collection and use of REAL data, cultural competency training and diversity in health care governance and leadership. Partners in the effort include the AHA, Association of American Medical Colleges, American College of Healthcare Executives, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and America’s Essential Hospitals.