Archive for January 2017
While both the Trump administration and Congress insist that they will repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, neither has yet provided information about what that replacement might look like. But one place worth looking for a possible glimpse into the future is the Affordable Care Act replacement plan proposed by Rep. Tom Price (R-GA), President Trump’s nominee to serve as Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. In 2015, Rep. Price proposed the Empowering Patients First Act as a vehicle for replacing the Affordable Care Act. While the bill was not adopted by Congress at the time, Dr. Price should soon be in a position to exert meaningful influence over the manner in which the Trump administration … Read More
The independent agency that advises Congress on Medicare payment matters has recommended modest increases in Medicare payments for hospital inpatient and outpatient services in FY 2018. The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission voted in support of a market basket increase of approximately 1.85 percent for Medicare outpatient and inpatient services in FY 2018. MedPAC also voted to recommend a 0.5 percent increase in payments to physicians but no increase for ambulatory surgery centers. MedPAC will formally submit its recommendations to Congress in March. Learn more about these and other MedPAC recommendations for changes in Medicare provider reimbursement in this article on the Provider web site.
How might repeal of the Affordable Care Act affect Medicaid? Medicaid beneficiaries? States and providers? Because they care for so many Medicaid patients, including many who enrolled in Medicaid as a result of the Affordable Care Act, the answers to these questions are of special importance to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals. These issues and more are considered in the new Commonwealth Fund report “Medicaid’s Future: What Might ACA Repeal Mean?” Find it here.
Accountable care organizations that serve large numbers of minority patients score lower on Medicare quality measures than other ACOs, a new study has found. According to the study, ACOs serving larger numbers of minority patients perform worse than other ACOs on 25 of 44 Medicare performance measures – and that performance does not improve over time. The study also pointed out that the minority patients served by ACOs are generally poorer and sicker than other ACO participants. These are the very patients typically served in especially large numbers by Pennsylvania’s safety-net hospitals. Learn more about these and other findings in the report “ACOs Serving High Proportions of Racial and Ethnic Minorities Lag in Quality Performance,” which can be found here.
Last November the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services proposed a new regulation governing the use of pass-through payments in state Medicaid managed care programs. The National Association of Medicaid Directors submitted formal comments to CMS about that proposed regulation. See its comments here.
How might repeal of the Affordable Care Act affect the financial health of different kinds of hospitals? The New York Times recently took a look at how the 2010 reform law’s repeal would affect two Pennsylvania health systems: the Temple University Health System, led by a heavily Medicaid-dependent safety-net hospital located in one of the poorest communities in the country; and Main Line Health, a non-profit organization with several hospitals all located in affluent communities. See what the Times found here.
The National Association of Medicaid Directors has published its legislative priorities for 2017. Those 13 priorities, and the manner in which the group hopes to achieve them, are: Implement requirements for advance review of federal regulations and guidance by state Medicaid staff. Require in federal statute a distinct role for state Medicaid leaders to review the conceptual soundness and operational feasibility of federal regulations and guidance prior to finalization, which directly or indirectly impact the Medicaid program. Advance value-based reimbursement methodologies for all types of Medicaid providers. Update the tools states may use to allow for aligned value-based purchasing approaches for all Medicaid safety-net providers, including modest down-side risk where consistent with broader statewide reforms. Provide long-term certainty for effective state Medicaid … Read More
New Medicare payment practices that took effect on January 1 will improve payments to physicians who care for high-need patients in the hope that those enhanced payments will improve the care such seniors receive. Among those improved payments are: payments to physicians for the time they spend working with specialists, families, pharmacists, caregivers, and others to coordinate services for seriously ill patients improved payments for time spent coordinating seniors’ transitions between different care settings and home and connecting those patients with additional resources separate payments to perform cognitive impairment assessments payments for time physicians spend reviewing patient records and talking on the phone to patients and their caregivers ayments for work physicians perform with their high-need patients’ behavioral health caregivers … Read More
The National Association of Medicaid Directors has published a paper detailing its objectives for its interaction with the Trump administration during that administration’s first 100 days in office. We call upon the new Administration to convene with NAMD’s Board of Medicaid Directors to solidify specific areas for ongoing collaboration to be carried out and reflected throughout our respective agencies. The Administration should make two updates to the process for developing federal Medicaid regulations and guidance. First, build in a step for engaging states during the pre-conceptual phase of work. Second, establish a distinct process whereby state Medicaid leaders can review federal regulations and guidance prior to finalization to ensure policies are operationally sound. NAMD also calls for the administration to … Read More