Archive for December, 2013


Where are the Uninsured?

A new interactive map from the New York Times enables readers to explore the entire country, county by county, and see how many of each county’s residents are uninsured, how many are publicly insured, and how many are privately insured.

Find the map here.…

It’s Unanimous: All PA Non-General Acute-Care Hospitals Made Money in 2012

2012 was a very good year for non-general acute-care hospitals in Pennsylvania:  every single one of them scored a positive operating margin.

The winners included 19 rehabilitation hospitals, 27 long-term acute-care hospitals, and 19 non-state-operated free-standing psychiatric hospitals, according to a new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council (PHC4).

Learn more about the performance of these providers in 2012 in this PHC4 news release and this PHC4 report.…

MedPAC Mulling Medicare Pay Raise, Other Changes in Hospital Payments

MedPAC is considering recommending to Congress that Medicare increase inpatient payments to hospitals by 3.2 percent in FY 2015, reduce or eliminate the differences in what it pays for selected outpatient services based on where those services are provided, and reduce payments to long-term-care hospitals.

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission, an independent agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment issues, discussed these and other possible recommendations during its recent meeting in Washington, D.C.  At this point, these recommendations are only at the discussion stage; they have not been submitted to Congress.

Read more about MedPAC’s recent deliberations and reactions to them in this story in Becker’s Hospital Review.…

MedPAC Renews Call for Cut in Long-Term Care Payments

Medicare payments to long-term-care facilities should be cut four percent, according to the independent agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters.

For the second time, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has proposed a major reduction in Medicare payments to skilled nursing facilities.

It also has called for reducing the differences Medicare in payments to skilled nursing facilities and inpatient rehabilitation facilities, which it believes provide the same care in many cases.

Read more about the reasoning behind the MedPAC recommendations and industry reaction to it in this article in McKnight’s Long-Term Care News.…

CMS Seeks to Slow “Meaningful Use” Timetable

The federal government has proposed extending the deadlines for health care providers to demonstrate “meaningful use” of health information technology and receive supplemental Medicare and Medicaid payments to help pay for the acquisition and implementation of that technology.

As proposed by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), Stage 2 deadlines for demonstrating use of electronic health records, originally set for 2014, would be pushed back to 2016 and Stage 3 deadlines, currently in 2016, would begin in 2017 for qualified providers.

Funding for the supplemental payments comes through the 2009 Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act.

Learn more about the program and why CMS is proposing a delay in this explanation on the CMS web site.…