AHA requests changes to CMS worksheet for reporting uncompensated care   10/11/2012
The AHA yesterday recommended changes and clarifications to a new Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services worksheet for reporting uncompensated care. Data reported on the Form CMS 2552-10 Worksheet S-10 will be used to determine a variety of future payments to hospitals, including payments to Disproportionate Share Hospitals beginning in 2014 and for hospitals qualifying as "meaningful users" of electronic health records. "For these reasons, it is essential that the data on Worksheet S-10 be reported accurately and consistently," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a letter to CMS, based on input from the association's workgroup on cost reporting. The letter recommends that CMS use a broad-based definition of uncompensated care that includes all the costs reported on worksheet line 31 (charity care, bad debt, and unreimbursed costs of Medicaid, the Children's Health Insurance Program and state and local indigent care programs) when considering any policy on uncompensated care costs. In addition, AHA recommends that the worksheet include the cost of graduate medical education in the formula used to calculate the cost to charge ratio, and use the charity care write-off amounts included in hospitals' audited financial statements.
Coalition to launch program to test EHR interoperability   10/11/2012
A coalition of 15 states, 37 technology vendors and 34 health information exchanges today announced a program that will test and certify electronic health records and other health information technology for reliable transfer of data within and across organizations and states. The program is led by the EHR/HIE Interoperability Workgroup and Healtheway, a non-profit organization chartered to support the national eHealth Exchange network. The Certification Commission for Health Information Technology will conduct the testing. The coalition said it has harmonized a set of functional, technical and test specifications that address the major uses of health information exchange to support coordination of patient care.
ASHP offers guidelines, assessment tool for pharmacy compounding services   10/11/2012
The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists offers guidelines on outsourcing sterile compounding services, which may be helpful to health care providers following reports of potentially contaminated epidural steroid medication prepared by the New England Compounding Center. The guidelines offer an overview of factors that health care organizations should consider when exploring outsourcing of sterile compounding services. In addition, the ASHP Foundation offers a contractor assessment tool for outsourcing sterile products preparation, which generates a report that can be used with site visits to evaluate proposals in the context of a hospital or health system's needs. For more information, visit www.ashp.org.
Report: Health care job growth near 10-year high   10/11/2012
Health care employment rose by 44,000 jobs in September, the second highest gain in a decade and well above the 24-month average of 25,000, according to the latest economic indicators from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Hospitals added the largest number of jobs over the 12-month period (81,600). "Since the start of the recession in December 2007, the health sector has added 1.3 million jobs for a cumulative growth of 10.1%, while non-health employment has fallen by 5.8 million jobs for a cumulative decline of 4.7%," the report notes. National health spending grew by 3.8% between August 2011 and August 2012, the same rate observed in July and less than the 4.5% average growth rate for first-quarter 2012, the Center reports. Spending on hospital care grew 4.8% over the 12-month period.