Report: Sequester could cost more than 750,000 jobs    09/12/2012
More than 766,000 health care and other jobs could be lost by 2021 as result of the 2% reduction in Medicare spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, according to a report released today by the AHA, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association. About 500,000 jobs, including nearly 93,000 hospital jobs, could be lost in 2013 - the first year the Medicare sequester is scheduled to take effect, according to the report by Tripp Umbach, a firm specializing in economic impact studies. Nationally, more than 144,000 hospital jobs would be lost by 2021, notes the report, which also details total job losses by state. "Hospitals' ability to maintain the kind of access to services that their communities need is being threatened," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "Cuts to hospital services could create devastating job losses in communities where hospitals have long been an economic mainstay."
Congress urged to oppose hospital E/M outpatient payment cap    09/12/2012
The AHA and four other national hospital groups today urged Congress to oppose any legislative proposals to cap "total" payment for non-emergency department evaluation and management services at the rate paid to physicians for providing the services in their offices. The proposal, which originated with the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, would reduce hospital payment by at least 71% for 10 of the most common outpatient hospital services. "Simply put, it is significantly damaging to beneficiaries and the providers on which they rely to enact legislation that will result in such large cuts," the letter states. In addition to AHA, the letter was signed by the Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, Federation of American Hospitals, and National Association of Public Hospitals and Health Systems.
Census: Number of uninsured residents falls by 1.3 million    09/12/2012
 An estimated 48.6 million U.S. residents lacked health insurance in 2011, 1.3 million fewer than in 2010 and the first decline since 2007, the U.S. Census Bureau reported today. The proportion of uninsured residents fell to 15.7% from 16.2% in 2010. For the first time in a decade, the proportion of residents with private health coverage was unchanged in 2011 at 63.9%. Medicaid coverage increased by 0.7 percentage point, while Medicare coverage increased by 0.6 percentage point. The uninsurance rate decreased for all racial groups but Hispanics, which was unchanged at 30.1%. Young adults under age 26 had the largest decline by age group (2.2 percentage points). Uninsured rates by household income ranged from 27.2% for those earning less than $25,000 a year to 6.6% for those earning $75,000 or more. "Today's report is good news for patients, families and communities," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "Health coverage is critical to improving health through better access to care, and increased coverage helps ensure that patients receive the right care in the right place at the right time."
CMS to host first in series of ACA updates for providers tomorrow   09/12/2012
The Department of Health and Human Services tomorrow will hold the first in a series of monthly conference calls to update health care providers on Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act implementation efforts. The calls, on the second Thursday of the month at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, are only open to providers and will review recent HHS announcements and explore one or two topics each, with opportunities for questions and feedback. During the Sept. 13 call, Cindy Mann, director of the Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services, will discuss the Medicaid expansion. To access the call, dial (888) 455-2963; passcode 2954962. A recorded replay of the call will be available for 30 days by calling (800) 570-8799. The next update call is currently scheduled for Oct. 11 at 2 p.m. ET. 
Single application for HIV patient assistance programs available   09/12/2012
HIV patients can now use a single application to apply for multiple patient assistance programs, the Department of Health and Human Services announced  oday. At the suggestion of advocates and providers, HHS developed the application with seven pharmaceutical companies/foundations and the National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors to streamline the application process and increase access to the programs, which currently provide free or discounted medication to about 30,000 qualifying patients annually.