Global study finds people living longer, but with more health conditions   12/14/2012
People around the world are living longer on average, but also with more years of chronic disease and disability, according to a global study published yesterday in the Lancet. The study, published as seven scientific papers and accompanying commentaries, reveals massive shifts in global health trends between 1990 and 2010, with people living longer but also with more health conditions as they age. Christopher Murray, M.D., director of the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation at the University of Washington and a founder of the study, said the findings have "profound implications for health systems as they set priorities." A TrendWatch report released Tuesday by the AHA found that the Medicare population is becoming older and sicker, contributing to an increase in patient acuity and use of health care services.
SAMHSA reports surge in admissions involving two addictive drugs   12/14/2012
Admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities for combined use of benzodiazepine and narcotic pain relievers surged 570% between 2000 and 2010, to 33,701, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Almost half of these patients had a co-occurring psychiatric disorder. They also were less likely to receive regular outpatient treatment than other admissions. Benzodiazepines, such as Valium, are prescription drugs used to treat anxiety, sleep disorders, and symptoms of drug and alcohol withdrawal. "When patients are battling severe withdrawal effects from two addictive drugs, new treatment strategies may be needed to meet this challenge," said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde. "These findings will help us better understand the nature and scope of this problem and to develop better approaches to address it." Overall admissions to substance abuse treatment facilities, including hospitals, rose 4% over the 10-year period, to 1.82 million, the agency said. SAMHSA is a partner in the AHA's Community Connections initiative, which partners with national organizations that have similar areas of focus to make relevant publications, tools and resources more widely available to the hospital field.
Reminder: Hospitals encouraged to review new VBP resource   12/14/2012
Hospitals participating in the Value-Based Purchasing Program can download their fiscal year 2014 baseline measures reports at the QualityNet website. The report allows participants to monitor their baseline period performance for all VBP domains and measures. It is available to My QualityNet users with the Hospital Reporting Feedback-Inpatient role. For technical help accessing the report, contact the QualityNet Help Desk at
Hospital prices climb 0.2% in November   12/14/2012
Overall hospital prices increased 0.2% in November, and were 2.7% higher than a year ago, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported yesterday. Prices for the subgroup of general medical and surgical hospitals increased 0.1%, and were 2.7% higher than in November 2011, according to the BLS' Producer Price Indices, which measure average changes in selling prices received by domestic producers for their output. For hospitals, this translates into actual or expected reimbursement for a sample of treatments or services. The PPI for hospitals measure changes in actual or expected reimbursement received for services across the full range of payer types. This includes the negotiated contract rate from the payer plus any portion expected to be paid by the patient.