Ad urges Congress to reject cuts that would hurt patient care, jobs   09/13/2012
An ad running today through next week in Capitol Hill publications highlights the more than 766,000 health care and other jobs that could be lost by 2021 as result of the 2% reduction in Medicare spending mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. The estimate is based on a new report by Tripp Umbach, a firm specializing in economic impact studies, that measures the anticipated effect of the Medicare payment cuts on health care providers and other industries. "While it considers ways to reduce the deficit, Congress should reject cuts that would hurt patient care - and one of the only sectors of the economy actually creating jobs," the ad by the AHA, American Medical Association and American Nurses Association states.
Medicare contractor rescinds draft LCD for IRF patients   09/13/2012
Cahaba Government Benefit Administrators has rescinded a draft Local Coverage Determination that would prohibit payment for certain inpatient rehabilitation patients based on their diagnoses, according to a notice on the Medicare contractor's website. Opposed by the AHA, the proposal would have prohibited payment for patients receiving certain lower extremity joint replacements at inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Cahaba is the Medicare administrative contractor for Part A and B claims in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. In a letter last week, AHA said Cahaba lacked authority to narrow national IRF coverage and prevent access to care for beneficiaries who otherwise meet Medicare medical necessity guidelines. 
HRET issues guide to physician integration models   09/13/2012
Improved alignment between hospitals and physicians will be essential as health care delivery and financing shifts to a value-based business model, according to a new guide from the AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust. Produced with consultant Kaufman Hall, the guide describes the prerequisites for successful hospital-physician integration, the current integration models and 12 strategies to guide integration efforts, with examples from a variety of hospitals and health systems.
Moderate health spending trend continues   09/13/2012
National health spending grew by 4.2% between July 2011 and July 2012, up from 3.9% in June but still a historically moderate rate, according to the latest economic indicators from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. At 4.3%, the 2012 average growth rate is down sharply from the estimated 2011 average of 5.2% and close to the record low growth of 3.9% recorded in 2010, the Center notes.
Hospital prices climb 1.6% in August   09/13/2012
Overall hospital prices increased 1.6% in August, and were 3.6% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. Prices for the subgroup of general medical and surgical hospitals increased 1.7%, and were 3.8% higher than in August 2011, according to the BLS' Producer Price Indices, which measure average changes in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. For hospitals, this translates into actual or expected reimbursement for a sample of treatments or services. The PPI for hospitals measure changes in actual or expected reimbursement received for services across the full range of payer types. This includes the negotiated contract rate from the payer plus any portion expected to be paid by the patient.