Archive for September, 2011


Hospitals Still Struggling to Curtail Readmissions

American hospitals have shown little progress in their efforts to prevent the readmission of Medicare patients, according to a new report by the Dartmouth Atlas.

In After Hospitalization:  A Dartmouth Atlas Report on Post-Acute Care for Medicare Beneficiaries, the Dartmouth group examined regional and national trends in Medicare hospital readmissions over a period of five years.

The study, which can be found here, was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.…

IOM Makes Wage Index Recommendations

The manner in which Medicare makes geographic adjustments of its payments – the Medicare area wage index – is critical to hospitals.  The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has issued a new report, Geographic Adjustment in Medicare Payment:  Phase I:  Improving Accuracy, Second Edition, in which it responds to Congress’s request for recommendations on how to improve the accuracy of those wage adjustments.  The IOM’s news release states that “The IOM recommends an integrated approach that includes moving to a single source of wage and benefits data; changing to one set of payment areas and labor markets; and expanding the range of occupations included in the index calculations.”

Find the report here.…

Agenda for MedPAC’s October 6-7 Meeting

MedPAC will hold its next meeting on October 6 and October 7.  Here’s the agenda:

The Horizon Ballroom
Ronald Reagan Building
International Trade Center
1300 Pennsylvania Avenue, N.W.

October 6-7, 2011

Thursday, October 6, 2011

9:45 AM – 12:00 PM
Moving forward from the Sustainable Growth Rate System (Cristina Boccuti, Kevin Hayes, Kate Bloniarz)

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM
Public comment

12:15 PM – 1:15 PM

1:15 PM – 2:45 PM
Coordinating care for dual-eligible beneficiaries through the PACE program (Christine Aguiar)

2:45 PM – 4:00 PM
Mandated report:  Quality of care in rural areas (Jeff Stensland, Adaeze Akamigbo)

4:00 PM – 5:00 PM
Improving payment and care under Medicare’s inpatient psychiatric benefit (Dana Kelley)

5:00 PM – 5:15 PM
Public comment

Friday, October 7, 2011

9:00 AM – 10:30 AM
Reforming Medicare’s benefit design (Scott Harrison, Joan Sokolovsky, Julie Lee)

10:30 AM – 12:00 PM
Potentially preventable hospital admissions and emergency department visits (Nancy Ray, Anne Mutti, Kate Bloniarz)

12:00 PM – 12:15 PM
Public comment…

New Client: APS Healthcare

DeBrunner & Associates is pleased to welcome our newest client:  APS Healthcare.  APS Healthcare works collaboratively with Medicaid agencies, state and local governments, health plans, employers, and labor trust groups to design and deliver services and solutions to meet today’s health care challenges.…

Supercommittee or Medicare Triggers?

Recent events have left many hospitals and health care organizations wondering:  would they be better off taking their chances with cuts recommended by the new congressional “supercommittee” (the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction) or just accepting the two percent cut in Medicare payments that would automatically be triggered if Congress fails to adopt the committee’s recommendations?

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) has put a tentative price tag on the cost of the automatic two percent cut in Medicare:  $123 billion over ten years.  Read in an article in The Hill about CBO’s estimate, what it means, and why some people may want to take their chances with the supercommittee while others might gladly settle for the two percent Medicare cut and the knowledge that Medicaid would be exempt from any automatic cuts.…