Post-Acute Care Bill Passes House and Senate
On Sept. 16, House passed a bill to standardize patient data collected across the four post-acute care settings, which include long-term care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities, home health agencies and skilled nursing facilities (SNF). The bipartisan bill, Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation (IMPACT) Act (H.R. 4994)
, was sponsored by House Ways and Means Committee Chairman and Ranking Member Dave Camp (R-MI) and Sander M. Levin (D-MI), respectively. Moreover, a Senate companion bill (S. 2553), introduced by Senate Finance Committee Chairman Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT), passed the Senate on Sept. 18. "This bill is critical to driving fundamental reform of care for seniors after a hospitalization. Working together in an open, transparent way, the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees were able to produce a bill that will ensure our seniors get the highest quality and most cost effective care possible," Chairman Camp said in a statement. Besides mandating that providers submit standardized data by 2019, a measure that allows Medicare to more easily assess quality across different post-acute care settings, the bill dictates that collected data must be interoperable for facilitated data exchange among post-acute care and other providers as a means to better coordinate care and improve Medicare beneficiary outcomes. The legislation also directs Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to lessen by 2 percent payments for SNFs that don't report the required data. Lawmakers have said the information would be utilized by the HHS Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to alter the post-acute payment system using a new site-neutral or bundled payment system, or other changes. For more information, visit www.finance.senate.gov
Deaths From Narcotic Painkillers Quadrupled in Past Decade: CDC Increases highest among whites, and people between 55 and 64
The number of Americans dying from accidental overdoses of narcotic painkillers jumped significantly from 1999 to 2011, federal health officials reported Tuesday.
Deaths from overdoses of drugs such as hydrocodone (Vicodin), morphine and oxycodone (Oxycontin) climbed from 1.4 per 100,000 people to 5.4 per 100,000, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
That means about 3,000 people died in 1999 from unintentional overdoses. By 2011, that number was up to nearly 12,000 deaths, the report said.Continue reading...
House leader questions CMS plan for appeal settlements. Rep. Brady questions timing of announcement
The chairman of the U.S. House Subcommittee on Health voiced concerns about the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' settlement plan for short-stay appeals in a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell.
Rep. Kevin Brady (R-Texas), chairman of the House Committee on Ways and Means, Subcommittee on Health, noted that committee members did not learn about the settlement policy until reading it in the press, criticizing HHS for posting the notice the Friday afternoon before the Labor Day holiday weekend. "Our staff has inquired about the development and authority for a settlement process on several occasions and did not receive satisfactory responses," Brady wrote.Read the full story...Read the letter...Read the MedPAC...
5 physical therapy treatments you probably don't need
Here's what you should try instead
At some point in your life—maybe after an injury or surgery, or just after you reach a certain age—there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself in a physical therapist’s office. And as you look around at the balance balls, ultrasound machines, and other contraptions, and as your body is pushed and pulled in a variety of odd and sometimes even painful ways, you may ask yourself: Does any of this stuff really help?
Well, yes—and no. And now, thanks to the American Physical Therapy Association, it’s easier to distinguish what works from what doesn’t. The organization recently identified five treatments physical therapists sometimes offer that usually don’t help, are often a waste of time and money, and in some cases can even delay your recovery or pose risks.Continue reading...
IOM News Alert: New Report - Dying in America: Improving Quality and Honoring Individual Preferences Near the End of Life
For patients and their loved ones, no care decisions are more profound than those made near the end of life. For the millions of Americans who work in or with the health care sector-including clinicians, clergy, caregivers, and support staff-providing high-quality care for people who are nearing the end of life is a matter of professional commitment and responsibility. Health system managers, payers, and policy makers, likewise, have a responsibility to ensure that end-of-life care is compassionate, affordable, sustainable, and of the best quality possible.
A substantial body of evidence shows that broad improvements to end-of-life care are within reach. In Dying in America, a consensus report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM), a committee of experts finds that improving the quality and availability of medical and social services for patients and their families could not only enhance quality of life through the end of life, but may also contribute to a more sustainable care system.Read the report.Take the quiz.
CMS Releases Medicare Hospital Payment Data, New Online Tools
On June 2, CMS released Medicare hospital pricing data for 2012 in an effort to increase transparency, lower costs and improve the quality of care, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 6/2).About the Data
The information, which was revealed at the annual Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C., is the agency's first annual update to Medicare hospital charge, which compare the average amount a hospital charges for services provided with a similar inpatient stay or outpatient visit (HHS release, 6/2).Continue reading...
CMS releases PQRS, eRx progress report
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a new report on two of its pay-for-reporting incentive programs for eligible professionals (EPs): the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and electronic prescribing (eRx).
The 90 page report on 2012 participation results and trends in the programs demonstrates "exciting progress," according to CMS officials.Continue reading...
MedPAC Recommends No ASC Pay Increase for 2015; 3.25-5.25% Increase for HOPDs
On Friday, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission approved a final recommendation for Medicare pay rates in 2015, recommending that ambulatory surgery centers get 0 percent pay raise, according to an AHA News report.
At the same time, MedPAC recommended increasing hospital inpatient and outpatient prospective payment systems by 3.25 percent in the absence of sequestration cuts and 5.25 percent if spending cuts continue. The sequestration that begun last April enacted automatic 2 percent Medicare payment cuts for the next 10 years.
However, MedPAC did suggest reducing or eliminating pay differences between hospital outpatient departments and physician offices for some procedures, as currently hospital outpatient departments are paid significantly more.Source
NHA is one of the 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies
Companies today recognize that they have opportunities to use data and analytics to raise productivity, improve decision-making, and gain competitive advantage. CIOs understand that analytics will define the difference between the losers and winners going forward. As the market evolves a vast array of data analytics technology and solution vendors are positioning themselves for leadership. A large number of venture-backed startups are battling against established BI and enterprise software providers.
While there are plenty to choose from, organizations that succeed with Big Data analytics will be those that understand the possibilities, see through the vendor hype and choose the right deployment model. In the last few months, we have looked at hundreds of data analytics companies and shortlisted the ones that are at the forefront of tackling the real analytics challenges. We present to you CIOReview's 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies. A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, industry analysts and the editorial board of CIOReview selected the Final 20.Continue reading...