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Archive for September 2018

Bill Would Advance Telemedicine in PA

A bill proposed in the Pennsylvania state legislature would require private insurers to cover telemedicine services under selected circumstances. Senate Bill 780, currently under consideration by the House Professional Licensure Committee, was the subject of a recent committee hearing during which hospital officials from across the state spoke in support of fostering greater use of telemedicine in the delivery of health care services. Learn more about the bill and why hospital executives traveled to Harrisburg to express their support for it in this article in the publication Lehigh Valley Business or go here to see the bill itself.

Posted in Uncategorized

New Approach to Readmissions Program to Take Effect October 1

Medicare’s hospital readmissions reduction program will move in a new direction beginning in FY 2019 after Congress directed the Centers of Medicare & Medicaid Services to compare hospitals’ performance on readmissions to similar hospitals instead of to all hospitals. The policy change, driven by a belief that safety-net hospitals were harmed by the program and excessive penalties because their patients are more challenging to serve, results in all hospitals being divided into peer groups based on the proportion of low-income patients they serve.  The readmissions performance of hospitals is then compared only to other hospitals within each peer group. As a result of this new approach, readmissions penalties against safety-net hospitals are expected to decline 25 percent in FY 2019 … Read More

Posted in Medicare

PA Uninsured Rate Hits All-Time Low

Pennsylvania’s uninsured rate in 2017 was 5.5 percent – the lowest on record, according to the Wolf administration. According to the Wolf administration, more than one million Pennsylvanians have obtained health insurance in recent years through the expansion of the state’s Medicaid program or improved access to insurance made possible through the Affordable Care Act. The national uninsured rate is 8.8 percent. Learn more about the decline in the number of uninsured Pennsylvanians from this news release from the governor’s office.

Posted in Affordable Care Act

MACPAC Meets

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met recently in Washington, D.C. to review a number of Medicaid- and CHIP-related issues. MACPAC members heard presentations on and discussed the following issues: Multistate Collaboration: Panel on State Perspectives Themes from Interviews on the Development of Hospital Payment Policies DSH Payments: Policy Changes and Policy Options Operational Considerations for Work and Community Engagement Requirements Medicaid Coverage of New and High Cost Drugs Managed Care Oversight Oversight of UPL Payments: Additional Analyses and Policy Options Mandated Report: Therapeutic Foster Care Find outlines of these subjects and additional materials by clicking the links above and go here for a transcript of the two days of public meetings. MACPAC is a non-partisan legislative branch … Read More

Posted in Federal Medicaid issues

Low-Acuity Use of Emergency Departments Declines

People are using hospital emergency departments less frequently for low-acuity medical problems, turning instead to retail clinics and urgent care. According to a new study of a limited patient population published in JAMA Internal Medicine, Visits to the ED for the treatment of low-acuity conditions decreased by 36% (from 89 visits per 1000 members in 2008 to 57 visits per 1000 members in 2015), whereas use of non-ED venues increased by 140% (from 54 visits per 1000 members in 2008 to 131 visits per 1000 members in 2015). There was an increase in visits to all non-ED venues: urgent care centers (119% increase, from 47 visits per 1000 members in 2008 to 103 visits per 1000 members in 2015), retail … Read More

Posted in Uncategorized
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