Ad: 'Dont cut Medicaid provider assessments'   12/19/2012
Fourteen organizations, including the AHA, today published an ad in the inside-the-Beltway publication The Hill urging Congress to protect Medicaid provider assessments from cuts during the fiscal cliff talks. "Provider assessments are an essential source of Medicaid funding that allows millions of low-income people to receive the quality care they need," the ad explains. "Many states face difficult decisions about expanding their Medicaid programs, only now recovering from tough economic times. Don't send mixed messages during fiscal cliff talks about federal Medicaid support - and jeopardize care for society's most vulnerable - by reducing or eliminating provider assessments."
House votes to reauthorize Preparedness Act   12/19/2012
The U.S. House of Representatives today voted 383-16 to approve revised legislation to reauthorize the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act, the funding for which expires in March. Similar to AHA-supported legislation (S. 1855) approved by the Senate, H.R. 6672 would reauthorize the Hospital Preparedness Program, the Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals, the Medical Reserve Corps and other critical preparedness activities through 2016. It's unclear when the Senate will take up the new measure. In related news, the 10th annual report on state and federal public health preparedness by Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation today called for reauthorizing the Preparedness Act. "Investments made after September 11th, the anthrax attacks and Hurricane Katrina led to dramatic improvements, but now budget cuts and complacency are the biggest threats we face," said TFAH Executive Director Jeffrey Levi.
23 states receive CHIPRA performance bonuses   12/19/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today awarded nearly $306 million in performance bonuses to 23 states for making it easier to enroll children in Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program. Authorized by the CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009, the bonuses have been available for four years. To qualify, states must implement at least five out of eight specific program features aimed at streamlining enrollment, and must increase children's enrollment in Medicaid above a baseline level for the fiscal year. Sixteen of the states increased enrollment by more than 10% above their baselines, earning a larger award.
CMS issues Medicaid/CHIP reports on childrens health care quality   12/19/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today released its annual report summarizing state and national information on health care quality for children in the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program. Required by the CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2009, the report provides information on state Medicaid/CHIP quality reporting as well as CMS quality initiatives. CMS also issued a separate report describing efforts by the agency and state Medicaid programs to improve maternal and infant health outcomes by reducing early elective deliveries without a medical reason.
HRSA awards $80 million to school-based health centers   12/19/2012
The Health Resources and Services Administration today awarded $80.4 million to develop or upgrade 197 school-based health centers to serve an additional 384,000 students and expand preventive and primary health care services. The centers provide services such as primary and mental health care, substance abuse counseling, case management, nutrition and health promotion activities for healthy children and those with acute or chronic illnesses. The funding is part of $200 million allocated to the School-Based Health Center Capital Program through 2013 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
PCORI awards first comparative effectiveness research grants   12/19/2012
The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute yesterday announced its first 25 grant awards, totaling more than $40 million over three years. The funding will support four of the Institute's five national research priorities: assessing prevention, diagnosis and treatment options; improving health care systems; communicating and disseminating research; and addressing disparities. Research proposals for the fifth priority area, accelerating patient-centered outcomes research and methodological research, are due March 13. PCORI was created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to conduct comparative clinical effectiveness research.
Physician EHR reporting, attestation deadlines approaching   12/19/2012
Dec. 31 is the last day physicians and other eligible professionals can complete their 90- or 365-day reporting period to attest to meaningful use of electronic health records in calendar year 2012 under the Medicare EHR incentive program. To benefit fully from Medicare EHR incentives, EPs must meet federal requirements for meaningful use in CY 2012 and attest to meaningful use by Feb. 28, 2013. Those wishing to attest should consider visiting the CMS attestation website well in advance of the deadline to ensure they are familiar with the complex process. EPs participating in the Medicaid EHR program should check the attestation deadline for their state. For more information, visit