News Headlines

News Headlines
Health care news from around the state and nation

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CMS seeks 2% payment increase for inpatient rehab facilities
Modern Healthcare

Medicare’s inpatient rehabilitation facility payment rates could increase by up to 2% in fiscal 2014, under a CMS proposed rule.

The proposed increase, which is worth about $150 million, is based on a 2.5% marketbasket update that would be reduced by 0.4 of a percentage point because of a multifactor productivity adjustment and 0.3 of a percentage point due to requirements of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Finally, the CMS proposed an increase of 0.2 of a percentage point through an update to the outlier threshold.

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Doctors, others criticize Medicare’s proposal on hospital admissions rules
Washington Post

Medicare officials have proposed changes in hospital admission rules that they say will curb the rising number of beneficiaries who are placed in observation care but are not admitted, making them ineligible for nursing home coverage.

“This trend concerns us because of the potential financial impact on Medicare beneficiaries,” officials wrote in an announcement last week.

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Accreditation agency investigates Nevada mental hospital’s busing of patients
Sacramento Bee

An independent accreditation agency dispatched a team of investigators to Nevada’s primary hospital for the mentally ill on Thursday as concerns mounted that the facility has been “dumping” patients into other states.

Surveyors from the Joint Commission, which accredits health facilities across the country, arrived unannounced at Rawson-Neal Psychiatric Hospital in Las Vegas. Their report could determine whether the state hospital can keep its federal funding and “gold star” accreditation status.

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Reform Update: Consumer outreach, education on backburner in exchange planning
Modern Healthcare

As states and the federal government work feverishly toward having health insurance exchanges ready for enrollment by Oct. 1, much of the discussion has focused on technology readiness, guidance from the CMS and competition from insurers. But one crucial element not brought up as often but still significant is outreach and education of consumers who will be the marketplaces’ customers. As a poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation this week brought to light, outreach efforts still have a long way to go.

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Hospitals Find ROI in Recycling Efforts
Health Leaders Media

In their relentless quest to contain costs, hospitals and health systems are examining all areas of their operations for signs of waste, even materials once considered trash.

They may be able to save billions of dollars.

Last year, an initiative of 350 hospitals recycled more than 50 million pounds of materials, diverted 61.5 million pounds of construction and demolition waste from landfills, and saved almost $32 million from single-use medical device reprocessing.

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Scripps kicks off celebration of Encinitas hospital
San Diego Union-Tribune

Scripps Health is set to kick off a yearlong community celebration Friday commemorating the 50th anniversary of Scripps Memorial Hospital Encinitas.

Patients, caregivers and invited community leaders are set to honor Dr. Dwight Cook who, along with the late Dr. Charles Clark, built a small medical office building for their growing practices in 1960.

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In several states, Medicaid expansion remains in limbo as time runs short
Washington Post

In the closing days of their legislative sessions, lawmakers in more than a dozen states are struggling with whether to expand Medicaid under the federal health-care law, with many of them leaning against participating in a program that is key to President Obama’s aim of extending coverage to 30 million uninsured Americans.

Twenty states and the District of Columbia have signed on to the expansion, and 14 are planning to decline.

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Presentation offers insights into HMO-style Medi-Cal for north state
Redding Record Searchlight

The north state got its first in-depth look Thursday at the managed care system that will replace traditional Medi-Cal in the fall.

“We’ve been working on this for three years,” said Doreen Bradshaw, the executive director of the Health Alliance of Northern California who attended the morning meeting.

On Sept. 1, Shasta, Siskiyou and Trinity counties will join Partnership Health Care, a non-profit plan run out of Solano County, said Dave McCallum, the plan’s spokesman.

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Part-timers to lose pay amid health act’s new math
Los Angeles Times

Many part-timers are facing a double whammy from President Obama’s Affordable Care Act.

The law requires large employers offering health insurance to include part-time employees working 30 hours a week or more. But rather than provide healthcare to more workers, a growing number of employers are cutting back employee hours instead.

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Medical Director Compensation Increasingly Tied to Value, Quality
Health Leaders Media

As healthcare delivery moves toward value-based reimbursements, medical directors at physician practices are increasingly shouldering duties tied to monitoring quality metrics such as patient safety and satisfaction, a new survey from the Medical Group Management Association shows.

“As we understand the industry is moving towards a value-based reimbursement model we are seeing that permeate and migrate into compensation methodologies as well, for many good reasons, ” says Todd B. Evenson, director of data solutions for Englewood, CO-based MGMA.

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Healthcare law opponents sue Obama officials over IRS rules
Reuters

A group of individuals and businesses filed a lawsuit against the Obama administration’s healthcare overhaul on Thursday, hoping to stop the law in states that have not set up new insurance exchanges.

The complaint filed in the Washington federal court challenges federal rules issued in 2012 for implementing the president’s 2010 healthcare law which goes into full force in January 2014.

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In hospital under ‘observation’ care? It can cost you
USA Today

After Lois Frarie, 93, a retired teacher from Monterey, Calif., spent four days at a local hospital while being treated for a broken elbow and pelvis, she went to a nearby nursing home to build up her strength.

But her family was stunned to find out that they would have to pay thousands of dollars upfront, since two of the days she spent in the hospital were considered “observation care.”

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