MedPAC begins discussion of potential readmissions program changes   09/07/2012
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission today discussed potential future refinements to the hospital readmissions reduction program, which begins Oct. 1. Commissioners said they support the program but that several refinements could be made, such as controlling for the socioeconomic status of the patients a hospital treats and more adequately excluding unrelated and planned readmissions, for example by shifting to all-condition readmissions measures that include such exclusions. The commission is expected to continue the discussion at a future meeting.
CMS approves Medicaid option for California    09/07/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week approved an amendment to California's state Medicaid plan to implement the Community First Choice Option. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act program provides a 6 percentage point increase in federal Medicaid matching funds to states that provide home and attendant services to help low-income residents receive care in the community rather than a nursing home or institution. California is the first state to implement the option since CMS issued a final rule for the program in April. The state expects to receive $573 million in additional federal Medicaid funds over the first two years of the program.
Hospitals add 5,700 jobs in August   09/07/2012
Employment at the nation's hospitals rose by 0.12% in August to a seasonally adjusted 4,823,000 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. That's 5,700 more people than in July and 87,400 more than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, which removes the effect of fluctuations due to seasonal events, hospitals employed 4,829,600 people in August - 1,500 fewer than in July but 83,600 more people than a year ago. The nation's overall unemployment rate fell by 0.2 percentage point in August to 8.1%.