A new report finds that insurance companies will have to return more than $1 billion this year to consumers and employers to meet a requirement in President Barack Obama’s overhaul. That’s real money, according to Larry Levitt of the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation. And Levitt says it’s one of the most tangible consumer benefits to date from the law. This is the first time such rebates are due.
The widely held sentiment that a culture’s evolution can be measured by how well it takes care of its weakest, most vulnerable members is being put to the test, according to children’s health advocates.
The idea of applying a defending-the-defenseless yardstick to civilization is not new. World leaders including Mahatma Ghandi, Winston Churchill, Harry Truman and at least two popes have uttered some variation on the idea.
In a proposal package that aims to save the federal government about $114 billion over 10 years, the House Energy and Commerce Committee approved a series of healthcare cost-cutting measures that would repeal several Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act provisions. The panel is one of six House committees that the recently-passed, fiscal 2013 House budget resolution instructed to find billions in savings as a way to avoid across-the-board reductions to federal programs next year through sequestration.
Last month, the Office of Inspector General issued a report that presents an early assessment of the efforts of Audit Medicaid Integrity Contractors to identify overpayments in Medicaid. Contained within the report are drastic figures that convey the fact that Audit MICs are having a difficult time identifying overpayments in their audits. Only 11% of the study-assigned audits were completed, with findings of $6.9 million in overpayments, $6.2 million of which resulted from seven completed collaborative audits involving Audit MICs, Review MICs, states, and CMS, according to the report.
A variety of interests lobbied on the dreaded budget sequestration last quarter, according to lobbying disclosure records.
Defense contractors, healthcare groups and associations representing everything from housing to education reported that they were monitoring, and in some cases opposing, the budget cuts that are set to begin next year. The cuts were set in motion by the agreement to lift the debt ceiling last summer.
For many HIV-positive Americans, and those who advocate on their behalf, these are days of anxious waiting as the Supreme Court ponders President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul. This loose-knit community — made up of activists, health professionals and an estimated 1.2 million people living with HIV — has invested high hopes in the Affordable Care Act, anticipating that it could dramatically improve access to lifesaving care and treatment.
Wade Sturgeon has been named Chief Executive Officer and will remain Chief Financial Officer at Biggs-Gridley Memorial Hospital. Tracy Atkins has been promoted to Chief Operating Officer and Chief Nursing Officerl and the two invite everyone to the hospital’s Third Anniversary of independence on Thursday, May 10 from 5 to 7 p.m., on the lawn in front of the hospital which will include a performance by the GHS Choir, refreshments and a lucky winner drawn for the “Journey of a Lifetime.”
Stanford Hospital & Clinics and Menlo Clinic (SHC) and Blue Shield of California (Blue Shield) are in negotiations on a new contract. The current insurance contract between the hospital and the insurer will expire at 12:01 a.m. on Friday, April 27. SHC and Blue Shield are working diligently on a new contract and are hopeful that an agreement will be reached prior to the termination date.
Queen of the Valley Medical Center said today it is eliminating 55 jobs, the result of the hospital needing to fill an $8.3 million budget deficit created in large part by the economic downturn.
The 191-bed hospital also cites decreased reimbursements for patient care services, fluctuating patient volumes, and increases in charity care and bad debt as motivations for the round of layoffs, which the hospital said will save approximately $3.2 million.
There is a relatively easy answer to a serious disease that hits newborns in California, according to Assembly member Marty Block (D-San Diego).
“This bill is designed to ensure that newborns are screened for critical congenital heart disease,” Block said, presenting his bill, AB 1731, to the Assembly Committee on Health.
The California Ambulatory Surgery Association recently held its fourth annual ASC Health Plan Summit, a meeting of ASC leaders and all major California health plans. The event was designed to identify common goals, work through managed care roadblocks and accentuate the positive quality and cost benefits ASCs bring to health care.
California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones participated and presented regulatory issues affecting ASCs and the state’s insurance industry.
Healthcare doesn’t come free, and neither does influence over healthcare decisions. The going rate for a doctor to gain political traction at Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital: $600 a year.
That’s the proposed membership fee for a political action committee, or PAC, a group of physicians is angling to form as hospital officials consider a potential merger and their first-ever cycle of district board elections.
After it became apparent that Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital had no written contract with its former chief executive officer, Assemblyman Luis Alejo, D-Salinas, introduced a bill requiring health care districts to have such agreements.
AB 2115 recently passed out of the Assembly Committee on Local Government, Alejo’s office said. The lack of written contract between the hospital and its former CEO Sam Downing was highlighted in a SVMH audit by the state auditor.
The Vacaville Chamber of Commerce has named NorthBay Healthcare its 2011-12 Business of the Year.
Citing its decades-long support of the local community and businesses, the chamber’s board of directors said the selection was easy.
NorthBay Healthcare, explained chamber President and CEO Mark Creffield, has been a stalwart Vacaville Chamber of Commerce member for more than 40 years.
Inpatient acute care hospitals could see a 2.3% increase in payment rates under the fiscal year (FY) 2013 Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) proposed rule, released April 24. The 2.3% is a net update after inflation, improvements in productivity, a statutory adjustment factor, and adjustments for hospital documentation and coding changes.
Healthcare industry groups have started to analyze a lengthy proposed rule from the CMS (PDF) that updates payments to acute-care and long-term-care hospitals for 2013 and includes a host of provisions intended to improve quality.
Released Tuesday, the rule is expected to increase payments to acute-care hospitals by about 0.9% in 2013 and increase total Medicare spending on inpatient hospital services by about $175 million next year. Payments to long-term acute-care hospitals are expected to rise by about 1.9%, or about $100 million in 2013.
Aetna Inc.’s first-quarter profit fell 13 percent as expenses rose and the health insurer faced a tough comparison to year-ago earnings that included a one-time gain. The Hartford, Conn., company’s adjusted earnings missed Wall Street expectations, and its shares tumbled more than 7 percent in premarket trading.
Fatima is a 25-year-old woman who went to the doctor after months of feeling tired all the time. Her doctor listened carefully, ordered blood tests and gave her suggestions that he thought might improve her energy level.
But in the days that followed, the doctor forgot to check her lab tests. As it happened, two months later Fatima was involved in a minor car accident that brought her back to the doctor’s office.
Even as the Obama administration comes under scrutiny for overhauling healthcare and requiring all citizens to have insurance in the United States, the idea of universal healthcare is taking off elsewhere around the globe, according to a new report from the Council on Foreign Relations. “Unlike the United States, emerging economies are not buying the argument that healthcare is largely the responsibility of individuals and businesses, with a public provision relegated to the elderly, veterans and the indigent,” writes Yanzhong Huang, its senior fellow for global health.