Maine challenges constitutionality of ACA MOE requirement   09/05/2012
Maine officials yesterday asked a federal appeals court to order the Department of Health and Human Services to approve a proposed amendment to its state Medicaid plan that would decrease coverage for three eligibility groups or pay the state's share of the cost for the coverage, arguing in part that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act's Maintenance of Effort requirement is unconstitutional. "The MOE forces Maine to cover in its Medicaid program individuals above and beyond the original mandatory groups," the motion for injunctive relief states. On Aug. 1, the state asked the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to approve the State Plan Amendment by Sept. 1 and pay Maine's costs while the SPA was pending, citing the need to achieve a balanced budget. In an Aug. 31 letter, CMS indicated that it will not issue an expedited decision and did not address paying Maine's costs while the SPA is pending, said Maine Attorney General William Schneider.
CDC: Nearly 36 million adults have uncontrolled high blood pressure   09/05/2012
An estimated 35.8 million U.S. adults have uncontrolled high blood pressure, a leading risk factor for cardiovascular disease, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported yesterday. About 45% of them are being treated with medication, but may not be taking it as prescribed or the treatment is not sufficient, the agency said. Another 39% are not aware they have the condition, while the rest are aware but not on medication. About 89% reported having a usual source of health care and 85% reported having health insurance. "There are lots of opportunities for people with high blood pressure to get it under control, but it has to be a priority at every doctor's visit," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, M.D.
Reminder: Oct. 3 deadline for physicians to begin EHR reporting in 2012   09/05/2012
To begin attesting to meaningful use of electronic health records in calendar year 2012, physicians and other eligible professionals must begin their 90-day reporting period by Oct. 3. Eligible professionals that attest by 2012 can receive up to $44,000 over five years under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. They must begin participating in the program by 2012 to get the maximum incentive payment. For more information, see the CMS notice. 
AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence website revamped   09/05/2012
The AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence website, www.HPOE.org, has been redesigned to make it easier for health care leaders to find the information they need to improve hospital performance and quality of care. Visitors can access HPOE guides and chair files and quickly search for toolkits, standards, reports, webinars, case studies and journal articles on many subjects. Hospital leaders are invited to submit case studies and comments to hpoe@aha.org.