Archive for May 2019
Pennsylvania hospitals’ financial performance in 2018 was mixed, according to a new analysis by the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council. According to PHC4, uncompensated care declined two percent total margins fell 0.05 percentage points operating margins declined 0.39 percentage points net patient revenue rose 3.9 percent discharges fell 1.2 percent inpatient days fell 0.3 percent Learn more about the 2018 financial performance of acute-care hospitals in Pennsylvania, including data for every such hospital in the state and measures such as payer mix, in the PHC4 report Financial Analysis 2018: General Acute Care Hospitals
The Safety-Net Association of Pennsylvania has joined 10 other organizations in urging Pennsylvania’s General Assembly to use 100 percent of Tobacco Settlement Fund monies for health-related services and programs in the coming fiscal year. For FY 2018-2019, Pennsylvania borrowed against future proceeds from the Tobacco Settlement Fund to help balance the state budget. Debt service payments will soon be due and the Wolf administration has proposed paying that debt service with proceeds from the state’s sales and use taxes. In a letter to state legislators, SNAP and the others endorse this aspect of the administration’s proposed budget FY 2019-2020 budget. Tobacco fund proceeds are vital to Pennsylvania’s safety-net hospitals, helping to compensate them for some of the care they provide … Read More
The federal government has greatly increased the speed with which it is reviewing and approving state applications to modify their Medicaid programs. Most often, such applications involve Medicaid state plan amendments and section 1915 waiver requests. According to a recent post on the CMS blog (in CMS’s own words), Between calendar years 2016 and 2018, there was a 16 percent decrease in the median approval time for Medicaid SPAs [note: state plan amendments]. Seventy-eight percent of SPAs were approved within the first 90 day review period during calendar year 2018, a 14 percent increase over 2016. Between calendar year 2016 and 2018, median approval times for 1915(b) waivers decreased by 11 percent, 1915(c) renewal approval times decreased by 38 percent, … Read More
The Trump administration is considering changing how the federal government measures inflation for the purpose of calculating the federal poverty level. Such a change, if implemented, could potentially reduce inflation-related increases in the federal poverty level, which in turn could limit the ability of some individuals and families to qualify, or continue to qualify, for a variety of public safety-net services – including, potentially, Medicaid. Among the possible alternatives to the current methodology for calculating inflation is the Chained Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers. The Obama administration also explored substituting this index for the current inflation factor. Any change that makes it more difficult for people to qualify for Medicaid could be particularly damaging to Pennsylvania safety-net hospitals, … Read More
The majority members of the Senate Finance Committee have published a report on supplemental Medicaid payments. According to the new document, This report seeks to increase educational understanding of Medicaid supplemental payments, as well as outline the reporting mechanisms for these payments to ensure adequate stewardship of taxpayer dollars. The report consists of descriptions of the different types of supplemental Medicaid payments that states make to some providers, including: Medicaid disproportionate share payments (Medicaid DSH) non-DSH payments upper-payment limit payments (UPL payments) demonstration supplemental payments medical education payments It also describes the magnitude of these payments, noting that supplemental Medicaid payments accounted for $50 billion of the $600 billion spent on Medicaid by the federal and state governments in 2016, … Read More
Uninsured hospital admissions and emergency department visits are down since passage of the Affordable Care Act. And Medicaid-covered admissions and ER visits are up, according to a new analysis. The report, published on the JAMA Network Open, found that ER visits by uninsured patients fell from 16 percent to eight percent between 2006 and 2016, with most of this decline after 2014, while uninsured discharges fell from six percent to four percent. The rate of uninsured ER visits declined, moreover, at a time when overall ER visits continued to rise. While the Affordable Care Act is likely the cause of most of these changes, other contributing factors include the emergence of urgent care facilities, telemedicine, and free-standing ERs as well … Read More
The Pennsylvania Health Law Project has published its March-April 2019 newsletter. Included in this month’s edition are articles about: The launch of a new tool to determine applicants’ eligibility for Medicaid-covered long-term services and supports. An update on Medicare Part D payment problems that affect some dually eligible Medicare/Medicaid patients. Highlights of the state’s Department of Human Services budget (including Medicaid). An update on the status of the Affordable Care Act. Go here for articles about these and other subjects.