CMS holds provider call on 'two-midnight' policy   11/12/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today answered questions about its new “two-midnight” policy for inpatient hospital admissions during a Special Open Door Forum. The agency discussed the recent guidance it posted on its website and provided key clarifications during the question and answer period. Specifically, CMS indicated that critical access hospitals will not be part of the “probe and educate” prepayment review process it set forth in its Sept. 26 guidance. CMS also stated that Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors will not conduct post-payment patient status reviews for claims with dates of admission from Oct. 1, 2013 through March 31, 2014.
CMS announces new data sharing tool   11/12/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today announced the launch of the CMS Virtual Research Data Center, which will allow researchers to virtually access and analyze CMS health care data. Previously, CMS filled researchers’ data requests by preparing and shipping encrypted data files. “However, given the rapidly growing demand for timelier Medicare and Medicaid data, the agency needs a less resource-intensive means of responding to data requests from researchers,” CMS said. “The VRDC will help CMS meet these demands while also ensuring data privacy and security and reducing the cost of data access for most users.” Costs of accessing the VRDC and additional details can be found in the “CMS Virtual Research Data Center FAQs” at
JAMA releases theme issue on 'critical issues in U.S. health care'   11/12/2013
The Journal of the American Medical Association today released a theme issue focused on “critical issues in U.S. health care.” Unlike most editions of the journal, it contains no original research, the editor notes, but three “special communication” articles and 11 “viewpoints” on the issue. One article discusses “current anatomy and historical trends” in U.S. health care, one the growth of integrated systems, and another recent changes in quality measurement.
Louisiana Hospital Association names new chief executive   11/12/2013
The Louisiana Hospital Association has named as its next president and CEO Paul Salles, who currently serves as executive vice president of LHA and president and CEO of the Metropolitan Hospital Council of New Orleans. Salles will replace retiring LHA CEO John Matessino on Jan. 1. “I am thrilled that Paul has accepted the offer to become our Chief Executive Officer,” said LHA Chair Stephen Wright, president and CEO of CHRISTUS Health of Louisiana. “His understanding of our membership and deep health policy background gives him a strong foundation upon which to step into this leadership role.…I want to thank John Matessino for his thirty-three years of service to the LHA and the extraordinary leadership he has provided to our organization and to hospitals across the state.” AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock said, “John has been a tremendous asset for Louisiana hospitals throughout his career, particularly during Hurricane Katrina. He showed outstanding leadership during the storm by facilitating communications and directing assistance to hospitals impacted by the storm.”
Reminder: AHA webinar to update members on Medicare EHR program   11/12/2013
Tune in Nov. 19 for an AHA members-only update on the Medicare Electronic Health Record Incentive Program for hospitals. The 60-minute webinar will review the final rule for Stage 2 meaningful use of EHRs and changes to Stage 1 requirements; the attestation process for fiscal year 2013; the final FY 2014 rule for EHR certification criteria, standards and implementation specifications; and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ plans for auditing program participants. Joining the event from CMS will be Robert Anthony, deputy director of the Office of e-Health Standards and Services’ Health IT Initiatives Group. To register for the webinar, click here.