News Headlines

Today’s News Headlines

News Headlines Article

HHS sets goals for expanding new Medicare payment models
Modern Healthcare

The Obama administration wants 30% of payments for traditional Medicare benefits to be tied to alternative payment models such as accountable care organizations by the end of 2016. The administration also has set a goal of hitting 50% by the end of 2018. The administration wants even larger portions of hospital payments to be tied to quality- or value-based payment models. HHS indicated that it wants 85% of Medicare’s hospital payments made through programs such as the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program or the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program by the end of 2016.

News Headlines Article

Medicare Looks To Speed Up Pay For Quality Instead Of Volume
National Public Radio

The Obama administration said Monday that it wants to speed up changes to Medicare so that within four years half of its traditional spending will go to doctors, hospitals and other providers that coordinate patient care. The shift is being made to stress quality and frugality over payment by the procedure, test and visit. The announcement by Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell is intended to spur efforts to supplant Medicare’s traditional fee-for-service medicine, in which doctors, hospitals and other medical providers are paid for each case or service without regard

News Headlines Article

SGR: Medicare Reforms Proposed as Funding Offset
Health Leaders Media

The perennial problem in Congress over how Medicare reimburses physicians is providing an opportunity for the foes of fee-for-service medicine.

Over the past dozen years, Congress has repeatedly patched Medicare’s widely despised Sustainable Growth Rate formula for physician reimbursement. The temporary SGR fixes have featured a cast of usual suspects of Medicare budget offsets: cuts to provider payments or offsets affecting Medicare beneficiaries such as cost-sharing through deductibles.

News Headlines Article

1,700 Hospitals Win Quality Bonuses From Medicare, But Most Will Never Collect
Kaiser Health News

Medicare is giving bonuses to a majority of hospitals that it graded on quality, but many of those rewards will be wiped out by penalties the government has issued for other shortcomings, federal data show.

As required by the 2010 health law, the government is taking performance into account when paying hospitals, one of the biggest changes in Medicare’s 50-year-history.

News Headlines Article

Medicare Unveils Alternative Payment Models
Health Leaders Media

Federal officials have announced an accelerated effort to use payment reform as a mechanism to shift Medicare and the broader healthcare industry away from the fee-for-service model.

During a gathering in the nation’s capital Monday, nearly two dozen healthcare industry stakeholders, including providers, commercial payers, and Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell, announced plans to ramp up Medicare payment reforms featuring alternative payment models and value-based payments.

News Headlines Article

Salinas hospital, county talks on backburner
Monterey Herald

A year after Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital officials proposed formal affiliation talks with Monterey County and Natividad Medical Center, the county has still not responded and prospects for a partnership between two of the area’s largest health care organizations have dropped off the radar.

Supervisor Simon Salinas said Friday there has been no discussion about affiliation talks, or even a response to the Salinas Valley Memorial proposal sent in a Jan. 23, 2014 letter, for months and no plans to resume them any time soon.

News Headlines Article

Medicare’s payment reform push draws praise and fears
Modern Healthcare

By 2018, half of Medicare spending outside of managed care will be paid under contracts with incentives to manage quality and costs, federal officials said Monday. The goal was broadly greeted with enthusiasm but also with warnings that the effort will be wasted if the new models are too weak or tied to flawed measures.

News Headlines Article

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital “tops off” $1.1 billion inpatient construction project
San Francisco Business Times

Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford recently held a “topping off” ceremony to celebrate the landmark of lifting the highest beam into place on its $1.1 billion expansion project. Lucile Packard, the pediatric portion of Stanford University’s rapidly expanding health care empire, is adding 521,000 square feet of space to its 1991-era complex, almost doubling its current size.

News Headlines Article

Nurse approve contract with Kaiser Permanente
Sacramento Business Journal

A new contract between the California Nurses Association and Kaiser Permanente includes training and employment for 540 new registered nurse graduates over the next three years. This is over and above the regular nurse hiring at Kaiser to keep up with patient need and turnover, according to Karen Chan, Kaiser division director for the union. ‘It’s to make sure we have enough staffing,” Chan said. Training for new grads will be offered in a variety of areas, including Sacramento.

News Headlines Article

Union Says California Kaiser Nurses Reach Contract Agreement
ABC News

Kaiser Permanente nurses in California approved a new contract that boosts pay and improves patient care along with health and safety protections for nurses, a union official said Monday.

Registered nurses and nurse practitioners who work at 21 hospitals and 65 clinics across Northern and Central California voted last week to approve the new three-year deal, the California Nurses Association said.

News Headlines Article

Fitness a key weapon against some cancers
San Diego Union-Tribune

Evidence shows that exercise can be a powerful weapon for people battling certain cancers, a fact that medical experts are increasingly recognizing.

These days, respected organizations such as the American Cancer Society and the American College of Sports Medicine recommend not only medications and surgery to fight the disease, but also a tailored exercise regimen aimed at keeping patients active for at least 150 minutes per week — even when they’re undergoing treatment.

News Headlines Article

NBA nets Kaiser Permanente as first national health care sponsor
San Francisco Business Times

Golden State Warriors all-star Stephen Curry, Oakland native and NBA Hall of Famer Gary Payton and WNBA star Swin Cash on Monday helped health care provider Kaiser Permanente tip off a multi-year pro basketball sponsorship deal. Outside of a nine-year sponsorship of the Warriors, the deal is Oakland-based Kaiser’s first national partnership with a professional sports league. Not-for-profit Kaiser, too, is the NBA’s first “health care partner.”

News Headlines Article

Health subsidies reach $3.2 billion in Calif.
San Diego Union-Tribune

Californians received $3.2 billion in health insurance subsidies in 2014, and now it’s time to settle up with the Internal Revenue Service.

The Affordable Care Act grants income-based subsidies to individuals and families but requires them to reconcile the payments on their tax returns the following year. Because health exchanges started offering coverage for the first time in 2014, this year is the first time Americans will have to address the matter on their tax returns.

News Headlines Article

Budget Office Slashes Estimated Cost of Health Coverage
New York Times

The Congressional Budget Office on Monday significantly lowered its estimate of the cost of providing health insurance coverage to millions of Americans under the Affordable Care Act.

Douglas W. Elmendorf, the director of the budget office, said the changes resulted from many factors, including a general “slowdown in the growth of health care costs” and lower projections of insurance premiums that are subsidized by the federal government.

News Headlines Article

800,000 households got health care subsides in California
Sacramento Bee

Some 800,000 California households received $3.2 billion in federal health care subsidies last year, officials said Monday. Covered California Executive Director Peter V. Lee said the average household subsidy exceeded $5,200. Lee’s announcement was meant to serve as a reminder that support is available to others eligible to sign up for the state exchange before the Feb. 15 deadline.

News Headlines Article

Covered California: Health plan subsidies averaged $5K+ in 2014
Southern California Public Radio

The federal government provided on average more than $5,200 last year to people who bought subsidized individual health plans through Covered California, the state insurance exchange said Monday. It added that a majority of consumers who received subsidies also saved on average more than $1,000 in out-of-pocket health costs in 2014, thanks to reductions triggered by the Affordable Care Act.

News Headlines Article

Projected ACA costs drop by $100 billion
Modern Healthcare

The insurance coverage provisions of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act are expected to cost roughly $100 billion less over the next decade than previously projected, according to the latest analysis from the Congressional Budget Office. The nonpartisan agency now expects that the federal government will spend $1.35 trillion through 2024, primarily on expanding Medicaid and subsidizing insurance policies purchased through the state and federal exchanges.

News Headlines Article

Health care subsidies help 800,000 households under Covered California
Sacramento Business Journal

About 800,000 California households received federal subsidies to make health care premiums more affordable in 2014, with the estimated average amount of more than $436 per month, Covered California officials announced Monday. These figures translate to an average annual savings of more than $5,200 per household. The total amount of premium assistance was $3.2 billion in federal funding paid to health insurance companies on behalf of people enrolled in private coverage through Covered California in 2014.

 

Commands