Archive for hospitals

 

FEDERAL HEALTH POLICY UPDATE FOR THE WEEK OF SEPTEMBER 12-16

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of September 12-16.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

No Surprises Act

  • The Department of Health and Human Services, the federal Office of Personnel Management, the Internal Revenue Service, the Department of the Treasury, the Department of Labor, and the Employee Benefits Security Administration have issued a request for information (RFI) seeking stakeholder comment on how to implement the No Surprises Act’s requirement that health care providers and payers give explanations of benefits and good-faith estimates of costs for services and items that are scheduled at least three days in advance to individuals who have health insurance.  Previous regulations have focused on the delivery of this information to uninsured and self-pay patients and those obtaining services from out-of-network providers, but providers and payers asked regulators to delay implementation of the law’s requirements for the provision of such information to insured patients so they could address the technical infrastructure needed to transfer data effectively and in a timely manner between and among providers and payers.  Learn more this Federal Register notice.  Comments in response to the RFI are due

Federal Health Policy Update for the Week of September 5-12

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for the week of September 5-12.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents.

The White House

  • The White House has published a fact sheet on the administration’s plan to get Americans an updated COVID-19 shot and to manage COVID-19 this fall.  The major components of the plan are providing access to free, updated vaccines; ensuring easy access to testing and treatment; encouraging safe practices; and preparing for potential surges and new variants.  Find that fact sheet here.
  • The White House’s COVID-19 response team and other public officials have briefed the press on the federal government’s latest efforts in its response to the COVID-19 public health emergency.  Find a transcript of that briefing here.

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

  • CMS has issued a request for information “…seeking public input on accessing healthcare and related challenges, understanding provider experiences, advancing health equity, and assessing the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the COVID-19 Public Health Emergency.”  The request for information also seeks feedback to inform CMS’s assessment of the impact of waivers and flexibilities provided in response to the

On Second Thought, CMS Decides to Share Hospital Performance Data

After originally proposing not to publish certain recent hospital performance data because it feared it might be skewed by COVID-19-related challenges, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has decided to go ahead and publish that data – but not to use it in Medicare payment calculations.

Under Medicare’s hospital-acquired condition program, hospitals are rated on their performance on ten safety indicators.  Regulators, however, feared that doing so based on hospital performance during the pandemic might penalize hospitals whose communities were especially hard hit by the pandemic.  Patient safety groups opposed CMS’s April proposal to withhold the data and the agency ultimately compromised, announcing this week that it would post the data in its star ratings on its Care Compare web site but not use that data to reduce payments to hospitals.

Some hospital groups continue to oppose publication of the data based on their concern that it does not reflect the COVID-related challenges some providers have faced over the past two-and-a-half years.

Learn more about CMS’s decision in the Fierce Healthcare article “Patient safety advocate cheers CMS’ reversal on quality reporting, but hospitals say the data are no good.”

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Rural Residents Turning to Urban Hospitals in Growing Numbers

Residents of rural areas are choosing to seek care in urban hospitals in growing numbers, according to a new study.

And while this trend has been accelerated by rural hospital closures, it is occurring even in areas where rural hospitals have not closed.

Among the reasons for this migration from rural to urban hospitals are physician referrals and perceptions about the cost and quality of care.

Learn more from the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health article “Urban hospitals see rising admissions from rural Medicare patients,” which includes a link to additional resources.…

Federal Health Policy Update for Tuesday, August 2

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

White House

The White House has announced two new actions to address the youth mental health crisis:  it will award nearly $300 million from the FY 2022 bipartisan omnibus agreement to expand access to mental health services in schools and it will encourage governors to invest more in school-based mental health services.  Learn more about this effort, including the individual funding components of the $300 million in new spending, from this White House fact sheet.

Medicare Payment Regulations

  • CMS has issued its final Medicare inpatient prospective payment system and long-term care prospective payment system regulation for FY 2023.  Highlights of the final rule include a 4.3 percent increase in Medicare hospital inpatient rates and a 2.3 percent increase in LTCH rates; a reduction of $318 million in the Medicare DSH uncompensated care payment pool; introduction of a new “birthing-friendly hospital” designation for hospitals that meet certain criteria; the introduction of three new health equity measures; a permanent five percent cap on year-to-year wage index reductions; and more.