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Archive for Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Serving High-Risk Patients Leads to VPB Penalties

Practices that served more socially high-risk patients had lower quality and lower costs, and practices that served more medically high-risk patients had lower quality and higher costs. These patterns were associated with fewer bonuses and more penalties for high-risk practices. So concludes a new study that looked at the results of the first year of the Medicare Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier Program. The study looked at 899 physician practices serving more than five million Medicare beneficiaries, and it points to the continuing challenge of how best to serve patients who pose greater socio-economic risks than the average patient. Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals serve far more high-risk patients than the typical hospital. Learn more these findings and how they were reached in … Read More

Posted in Medicare, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

ACA Reduced Disparities in Access to Care

The Affordable Care Act has reduced socioeconomic disparities in access to health care in the U.S. According to a new study published in the journal Health Affairs, Health care access for people in lower socioeconomic strata improved in both states that did expand eligibility for Medicaid under the ACA and states that did not. However, gains were larger in expansion states. The absolute gap in insurance coverage between people in households with annual incomes below $25,000 and those in households with incomes above $75,000 fell from 31 percent to 17 percent (a relative reduction of 46 percent) in expansion states and from 36 percent to 28 percent in nonexpansion states (a 23 percent reduction). This serves as evidence that socioeconomic disparities in health care access narrowed … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Congress Looks at 340B Program

Last week the House Energy and Commerce Committee took a look at the 340B prescription drug discount program, which requires pharmaceutical companies to sell discounted drugs for outpatient use to hospitals that care for especially large numbers of low-income patients. The previous week, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a proposed Medicare regulation calling for significant reductions in Medicare payments for such drugs. The hearing touched on the CMS proposal to reduce Medicare payments for 340B drugs, the high prices of prescription drugs, the 340B program’s growth over the years, the possibility that the program is being abused by hospitals and clinics, and more. The 340B program is an essential tool in the efforts of Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals … Read More

Posted in Medicare, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, Uncategorized

Medicaid Enrollees: Access and Quality Are Good

Medicaid beneficiaries are generally satisfied with their access to care and the quality of care they receive. Or so reports a new study based on results of the federal Medicaid Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS) survey for December of 2014 to July of 2015. According to the survey, nearly half of Medicaid patients rated their overall care 7.9 or greater on a scale of 10; 84 percent reported that they had been able to receive all of the care they needed over the past six months; and most were generally satisfied with the coverage.  Relatively few reported problems finding providers willing to accept their Medicaid coverage. Survey results generally were slightly more positive in Medicaid expansion states … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

SNAP Joins Others in Letter to PA Senators

SNAP was among 27 Pennsylvania health care organizations to send a joint letter to senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey pointing out aspects of the House-passed American Health Care Act that could jeopardize access to care for medically vulnerable Pennsylvanians. Among the issues addressed in the letter are how the House-passed proposal would detract from the role of Medicaid in fighting the state’s opioid crisis; the proposed reduction in tax credits to help purchase health insurance; the challenge posed by a per capita approach to Medicaid financing; the potential loss of health care jobs; the likelihood of large numbers of Pennsylvanians losing their health insurance and state Medicaid costs rising significantly; and the erosion of consumer protections. See the complete … Read More

Posted in American Health Care Act, Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania Medicaid, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania

New Book Addresses Social Risk Factors in Medicare

In the new book, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine addresses the question of what social risk factors might be worth considering in Medicare value-based payment programs and how those risk factors might be reflected in value-based payments. The book, the culmination of a five-part NASEM process, focuses on five social risk factors: socio-economic position race, ethnicity, and cultural context gender social relationships residential and community context Addressing such factors in Medicare value-based payments, the book finds, can help achieve four important goals: reduce disparities in access, quality, and outcomes improve the qualify and efficiency of care for all patients foster fair and accurate reporting compensate provides fairly Doing so also can help prevent five types of unintended … Read More

Posted in Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Hospital Uncompensated Care Down

As was surely expected, reforms introduced through implementation of the Affordable Care Act have driven down uncompensated care costs for many hospitals. How much? A new study published by the Commonwealth Fund offers the following findings: uncompensated care declines in expansion states are substantial relative to profit margins; for every dollar of uncompensated care costs hospitals in expansion states had in 2013, the Affordable Care Act erased 41 cents by 2015; and Medicaid expansion reduced uncompensated care burdens for safety-net hospitals that are not made whole by Medicaid disproportionate share payments (Medicaid DSH). Learn more, including how the decline in uncompensated care costs affected different kinds of hospitals in different kinds of states, in the report “The Impact of the … Read More

Posted in Affordable Care Act, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

To Require Work or Not to Require Work

That is the question policy-makers are asking as they consider imposing work requirements on healthy Medicaid participants. In recent years a number of states have attempted to establish such a requirement, only to have their requests to do so rejected by regulators in Washington, and a clause permitting states to establish such a requirement was included last month in the eventually sidetracked American Health Care Act.  Even now, a Kentucky Medicaid waiver application under consideration by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services includes a work requirement. Does the lack of a work requirement encourage people in Medicaid expansion states to withdraw from the workforce? Is a work requirement a way to raise the income of beneficiaries just enough to … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

CMS Clarifies Medicaid DSH Rule

Last week the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced a final rule addressing the treatment of third-party payers in calculating Medicaid uncompensated care costs.  This calculation affects individual hospitals’ Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) limit. According to CMS, This rule clarifies federal requirements regarding the treatment of third party payers in determining the hospital-specific Medicaid DSH payment limit, which is set by statute as a hospital’s “uncompensated costs” incurred in providing hospital services to Medicaid and uninsured patients. The final rule makes clearer our existing policy that uncompensated costs include only those costs for Medicaid eligible individuals that remain after accounting for all payments received by or on behalf of Medicaid eligible individuals, including Medicare and other third party … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicaid supplemental payments, Pennsylvania Medicaid policy, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals

Temporarily Gone But Not Forgotten

While last week’s withdrawal of the American Health Care Act at least temporarily halted talk of immediate repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act, at least one aspect of that proposed legislation, often discussed in the past, is sure to arise in the future as well:  replacing the current manner in which the federal government matches state Medicaid funding with Medicaid per capita limits or Medicaid block grants. In a new issue brief, the Kaiser Family Foundation examines how a switch to per capita limits or block grants might affect low-income seniors served by both Medicare and Medicaid.  Among the issues the brief addresses are: why such a switch would matter to low-income seniors at all how it might … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues, Medicare, Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals
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