Archive for hospitals

 

Federal Health Policy Update for Friday, May 20

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:15 p.m. on Friday, May 20.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

White House

  • The White House has announced that U.S. households may now order an additional eight free home COVID-19 tests at COVIDTests.gov.  Learn more from this White House fact sheet.
  • White House COVID-19 and public health officials have held a COVID-19 briefing.  Find a transcript of the briefing here and the slides presented during the briefing here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

Hospitals Feeling the Pain of Loss of Pandemic Aid

The end of some forms of federal COVID-19 financial assistance is causing financial pain for some hospitals – especially safety-net hospitals that care for especially large numbers of uninsured patients.

During the pandemic, the federal government reimbursed hospitals for testing, vaccinating, and treating uninsured COVID patients; now it does not.

During the pandemic, some people, including many who are uninsured, put off seeking to address their health problems because they feared going to a hospital and encountering the highly contagious virus.  Now, these individuals are showing up at hospitals’ doors seeking care, have no insurance, their medical problems have grown worse with the passage of time, and in many states they are not eligible for Medicaid, leaving hospitals to shoulder the cost of their care themselves.

During the pandemic, reimbursement for these and other services, plus aid from the Provider Relief Fund, helped hospitals get through challenging financial times.  Now, however, the aid is mostly gone, patients – many without insurance – are returning for care, and the cost of hospital staff has skyrocketed.

The New York Times has taken a closer look at the challenges hospitals still face as the COVID-19 pandemic winds down.  See what it found in …

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 28

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 28.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

White House

  • The White House has announced a series of steps designed to increase the availability of oral treatments for COVID-19.  Those steps include nearly doubling the number of places oral antivirals are available in the coming weeks; launching a new effort to establish federally-supported test-to-treat sites; supporting medical providers with more guidance and tools to understand and prescribe treatments; and communicating to the public that safe, effective treatments are widely available.  Learn more from this White House fact sheet and from the transcript of a briefing the White House held for reporters on this initiative.
  • White House press secretary Jen Psaki and White House COVID-⁠19 response coordinator Dr. Ashish Jha recently briefed the press on several aspects of the administration’s response to COVID-19.  Find a transcript of that briefing here.
  • The White House has released its “National Drug Control Strategy,” which it says “…proposes bold, targeted, and consequential actions to bend the curve on overdose deaths in the immediate term and reduce drug use and its damaging

Federal Health Policy Update for Thursday, April 21

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government as of 2:45 p.m. on Thursday, April 21.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

Proposed FY 2023 Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System Regulation

CMS has published its proposed FY 2023 Medicare inpatient prospective payment system regulation outlining how it envisions paying hospitals for the inpatient care they provide to Medicare patients in the coming fiscal year.  Highlights of the proposed regulation include:

  • A proposed 3.2 percent increase in inpatient rates and a 0.7 percent increase in LTCH rates.
  • A $654 million cut in the Medicare DSH uncompensated care pool.
  • A permanent limit of five percent in cuts in individual hospitals’ wage index in any one year.
  • Continued COVID-19-related suspension of some quality measures in the Hospital-Acquired Conditions Program, Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, and Value-Based Purchasing Program.
  • Nearly a dozen requests for stakeholder comment on a variety of issues.

Learn more about the proposed rule in this CMS fact sheet and the proposed rule itselfAnother CMS news release addresses aspects of the proposed rule that seek to advance health equity and maternal health.  Stakeholder comments are due by June 17,

Department

Surprise Bill Law’s “Good-Faith Estimate” to Challenge Providers

The requirement to give patients “good-faith estimates” of the costs associated with planned medical procedures will pose one of the biggest challenges to providers seeking to meet the implementation requirements of the 2020 No Surprises Act, which was intended to protect consumers from surprise medical bills, especially from providers not in their health insurers’ provider networks.

Under the law’s implementing regulations, providers are often responsible for delivering good-faith estimates to their patients within 24 hours of scheduling a procedure.  Eventually, the “convening provider” also will need to anticipate patients’ potential costs beyond the procedure itself and collect estimates for those and other procedure-related costs from other providers.  Because of the emphasis on unexpected emergency care costs during the years of debate leading up to the bill’s passage, many providers may not even realize they are subject to its requirements for non-emergency care.

Learn more about the challenges ahead for health care providers as they seek to comply with the No Surprises Act in the Healthcare Dive article “Surprise billing compliance ‘very daunting,’ regulatory experts say.”

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