CMS finalizes program integrity rule for insurance exchanges, subsidies   10/25/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services last night issued a rule finalizing certain program integrity standards for health insurance exchanges (or marketplaces), state-operated premium stabilization programs, and advance payment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s premium tax credit and cost-sharing reductions. The rule also finalizes standards permitting qualified health plans to use an alternate methodology to calculate the value of cost-sharing reductions, and sets forth a vendor approval process for a survey to compare enrollee satisfaction among comparable health plans offered on the exchanges, CMS said.
GAO names three to health IT policy committee   10/25/2013
The Government Accountability Office yesterday announced three appointments to the Health Information Technology Policy Committee, which advises the federal government on a policy framework for the nationwide health information infrastructure. Appointed to three-year terms on the committee were David Kotz, a computer science professor at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire; Devin Mann, M.D., an assistant professor at Boston University School of Medicine and attending physician at Boston Medical Center; and Troy Seagondollar, regional nursing technology liaison for Kaiser Permanente and the United Nurses Association of California.
Study: Strong hospital-SNF relationship reduces readmissions   10/25/2013
Hospital patients discharged to a skilled nursing facility are less likely to be re-hospitalized within 30 days if the hospital has a strong relationship with the SNF, according to a recent study published in Health Services Research. The study found that for hospitals that own a SNF, the readmission rate was lower for referrals to its own SNF (17%) than to SNFs outside of the organization (21%). The study of Medicare claims from 2004 to 2006 also suggests that when hospitals concentrate their discharges in a particular SNF, the readmission rate is lower. “It would appear that this offers an explanation of why hospitals which own a SNF have lower rehospitalization rates,” the authors write. The study also suggests that other hospitals might establish preferred provider relationships with a SNF that could function as “virtual hospital-based” facilities.
Reminder: AHA to host members-only cybersecurity webinar Tuesday   10/25/2013
AHA on Tuesday will host the first in a series of members-only webinars on cybersecurity issues for hospitals. Presenters Andy Ozment, senior director of cybersecurity for the White House national security staff; Stephen Curren, program manager for the Department of Health and Human Services’ Critical Infrastructure Protection Program; and AHA outside counsel and partner at Jenner & Block Mary Ellen Callahan will speak about the evolving cybersecurity landscape and the importance of integrating cybersecurity risk reduction into your hospital’s ongoing governance, risk management and business con­tinuity framework. For more information and to register for the webinar, at 2 p.m. Eastern Time, click here.