Hospital groups urge Senate to support DSH Reduction Relief Act   10/09/2013
The AHA, Association of American Medical Colleges, Catholic Health Association of the United States, and Federation of American Hospitals today urged members of the U.S. Senate to support the DSH Reduction Relief Act (S. 1555). The bill would delay for two years cuts to the Medicare and Medicaid Disproportionate Share Hospital programs under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. “With the expectation of expanded health care coverage, Congress determined that the level of supplemental payments – such as those provided by the DSH program – would change,” the groups wrote. “...However, the Supreme Court’s decision on Medicaid expansion and subsequent uncertainty regarding the uptake in insurance coverage has reduced the estimate of those who will receive health care coverage to 25 million individuals, rather than the initial projection of 32 million covered lives. As a result, hospitals treating disproportionate shares of [low-income and uninsured] patients will see their payments reduced in ways unintended by policymakers.”
Study: EHR problems contribute to physician dissatisfaction   10/09/2013
While physicians note some advantages of electronic health records, they complain that the systems in use today are cumbersome to operate and a key contributor to job dissatisfaction, according to a new RAND Corp. study sponsored by the American Medical Association. While most physicians included in the study were generally satisfied with their medical practices, other contributors to dissatisfaction included excessive productivity quotas and burdensome rules and regulations. Key drivers of physician satisfaction included high-quality care, autonomy and work control, and perceptions of collegiality, fairness and respect, according to the study of 30 physician practices in Colorado, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.
AHA members-only webinar looks at hospitals' eCQM challenges   10/09/2013
AHA will host a members-only webinar Oct. 15 on challenges faced by hospitals using electronic health records to generate clinical quality measures for reporting. Speakers will review Medicare policies for electronic reporting of clinical quality measures and findings from an AHA-commissioned case study of four hospitals’ experiences. To register for the webinar, from 4-5 p.m. Eastern Time, click here.
Health care price growth remains low   10/09/2013
National health care prices in August were 1% higher than a year ago, down 0.1 percentage point from July and equal to the historically low growth recorded in May, according to the latest economic indicators from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Year-over-year hospital prices fell to 1.5% growth in August, the lowest rate since December 1998. National health expenditures were 3.8% higher than a year ago, equal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services recent forecast for 2013. “Note that CMS also states that, due to drug price mismeasurement, health care prices are even lower than reported; that is, 1.5% growth in 2012 rather than the 2.1% reported,” Altarum said.