Groups urge Congress to protect access to hospital care   10/28/2013
Nine national hospital organizations, including the AHA, today urged the congressional budget conference committee, House and Senate leadership and committees of jurisdiction to protect critical funding for hospital care. “America’s hospitals are striving to maintain access to essential care in the face of excessive Medicare and Medicaid cuts, but we are at a crossroads and the actions you take in the next several weeks and months could have profound effects on your communities,” the organizations wrote. “With total cuts approaching nearly half a trillion over the next 10 years, including nearly $45 billion in Medicare sequestration cuts, many local hospitals are nearing a breaking point in their ability to ensure patients have the care they need, when they need it. In the last three years alone, hospitals have been subjected to more than $95 billion in cuts. This comes on top of the more than $40 billion in uncompensated care hospitals provide to vulnerable patients every year. Local hospitals simply cannot meet the needs of the communities we aim to serve if we continue to face these cuts and underpayments.”
Consensus practices for patient financial communications finalized   10/28/2013
The Healthcare Financial Management Association today released “best practices” to promote consistency, clarity and transparency in financial communications between health care providers and patients. Developed with input from the AHA and others, the document provides guidance on when and how communication should take place about patient insurance coverage, financial counseling, patient financial responsibility for service and any existing balance. The best practices emphasize open and early communication, sharing of clear information, and identifying a path for financial resolution that is fair for patients and health care organizations. Former Health and Human Services Secretary and Utah Gov. Michael Leavitt chaired the project’s advisory panel, which includes former HHS Secretary Donna Shalala.
CMS to host webinar tomorrow on IPF quality reporting   10/28/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services tomorrow will host a webinar for participants in the Inpatient Psychiatric Facility Quality Reporting Program. Representatives from CMS and IPFQR support contractor Telligen will review the program requirements for fiscal year 2015 and discuss new measures for FY 2016. To access the 60-minute webinar, at 1 p.m. Eastern Time, click here. Pre-registration is not required, but participants are encouraged to join the webinar at least 10 minutes early to verify computer access. Slides will be posted at www.qualitynet.org prior to the event.
AHA survey on health coverage activities extended through Oct. 31   10/28/2013
The AHA is surveying hospitals through Oct. 31 to learn more about their activities to help Americans enroll in private health coverage and Medicaid under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. For example, hospitals are applying and receiving grant funding to support their enrollment activities, voluntarily engaging in enrollment activities by training staff and volunteers to be Certified Application Counselors, conducting outreach and partnering with other organizations. A reminder notice with instructions for completing the short online survey was emailed to all hospital CEOs today. For more information, contact AHA Member Relations at (800) 424-4301.