CDC: Hospitals, physicians increase worker flu vaccinations   09/27/2012
An estimated 77% of hospital workers report receiving a flu vaccine for the 2011-12 flu season, up from 71% in 2010-11, according to a survey released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes 87% of hospital physicians, 78% of hospital nurses, and 76% of other hospital personnel. Coverage for health care workers in all settings was 67%, up from 64% in 2010-11. Hospitals achieved a higher vaccination rate than physician offices (68%) and long-term care facilities (52%). While vaccinations in physician offices rose from 62% the prior year, those in long-term care facilities fell from 64%. Coverage was 95% among workers in hospitals requiring vaccination, compared with 68% in those that did not. To protect the lives and welfare of patients and hospital employees, the AHA Board of Trustees last year approved a policy supporting mandatory patient safety policies that require either flu vaccination or wearing a mask in the presence of patients across health care settings during flu season.
Organizations to work with nursing homes to reduce hospitalizations   09/27/2012
Seven organizations will partner with 145 nursing facilities in seven states to provide enhanced on-site services and supports to reduce avoidable hospitalizations for long-stay residents enrolled in the Medicare and Medicaid programs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today. The organizations and states are: the Alabama Quality Assurance Foundation (Alabama); Alegent Health (Nebraska); Curators of the University of Missouri (Missouri); Greater New York Hospital Foundation (New York); HealthInsight of Nevada (Nevada); Indiana University (Indiana); and UPMC Community Provider Services (Pennsylvania). For more on the Initiative to Reduce Avoidable Hospitalizations among Nursing Facility Residents, announced in March, visit http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/rahnfr.
Presidential candidates describe their health care platforms    09/27/2012
The Democratic and Republican presidential nominees, President Barack Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, describe their health care platforms and visions for the future of American health care in statements published yesterday by the New England Journal of Medicine. The statements were requested by the journal's editors.
Six states receive health insurance exchange grants   09/27/2012
The Department of Health and Human Services today awarded six states additional grants to establish health insurance exchanges under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. One-year grants went to Arkansas ($18.6 million), Colorado ($43.5 million), Kentucky ($4.4 million), Massachusetts ($41.7 million) and Minnesota ($42.5 million), while Washington, D.C. received a multi-year grant ($73 million) available to states further ahead in the process. To date, 34 states and the District of Columbia have received the Exchange Establishment grants, available through 2014.
Reminder: Medicare deadline for CY 2012 EHR attestation approaching   09/27/2012
Oct. 3 marks the last day that physicians and other eligible professionals can begin their 90-day reporting period to attest to meaningful use of electronic health records for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program in calendar year 2012. Eligible professionals must attest to meaningful use by CY 2012 to receive the full Medicare incentive of $44,000. Those who begin attesting in CY 2013 will only qualify for $39,000 in incentives. For more information, visit www.cms.gov.