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Archive for March, 2009

Comparative Effectiveness Council Announced

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

On March 20, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the members of the Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research. The new Council will help coordinate and guide investments in comparative effectiveness research funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Its 15 members include officials from various HHS agencies, the Veterans Administration, Department of Defense, and White House Office of Management and Budget. The Council plans to host a listening session April 14 to receive input from the public. For more information, go to http://www.hhs.gov/recovery/programs/os/cerbios.html

2010 Proposed Budget Includes Hospital Provisions

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

President Obama submitted to Congress a fiscal year 2010 that would create a reserve fund of more than $630 billion over 10 years to help pay for health care reform. Half of the reserve fund would come from savings in health care programs, including proposals to bundle Medicare payments for hospital and post-acute care ($17.84 billion in savings), reduce payments to hospitals with certain readmission rates ($8.43 billion), and link a portion of inpatient hospital payment to performance on specific quality measures ($12.09 billion). The budget outline also cites the need to address physician self-referral to facilities in which they have a financial interest.

The budget outline can be viewed at: http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/assets/fy2010_new_era/A_New_Era_of_Responsibility2.pdf

FDA Commissioner Appointed

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

President Obama has appointed Margaret Hamburg, an authority on public health and emergency preparedness, as commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Hamburg previously has served as founding vice president for the Nuclear Threat Initiative’s Biological Program, and as assistant secretary for planning and evaluation at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. She also served for six years as the Commissioner of Health for the City of New York and as assistant director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

For further details, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/

New Office Created to Disperse ARRA Funds

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has created an office to coordinate distribution of an estimated $137 billion in American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funds. The Office of Recovery Act Coordination will help ensure the timely, organized and transparent distribution of the funds. Dennis Williams, who previously has served in HHS’ Health Resources Services Administration and Office of the Assistant Secretary for Management and Budget, will lead the new office and serve as Deputy Assistant Secretary for Recovery Act Coordination.

The press release can be found by going to http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2009pres/03/20090311a.html

HHS Issues Statement of ICD-10 Final Rule

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will not delay or reopen for comment its final rules implementing the ICD-10 code sets and updated standards for reporting health care diagnoses and procedures in electronic health care transactions. The rules officially adopt the new codes sets and standards effective March 17, 2009. However, hospitals and other affected entities have until October 1, 2013 to fully implement.

More information is available at http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/2009/pdf/E9-740.pdf


Key Healthcare Posts Named

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

President Obama has nominated Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), an appointment that must be confirmed by the Senate. He also named Nancy-Ann DeParle, who ran the Health Care Financing Administration (HCFA) under President Clinton, to direct the new White House Office for Health Reform.

For more information, go to http://www.whitehouse.gov/

MedPAC Submits Payment Recommendations to Congress

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) has sent Congress its fiscal year 2010 payment recommendations. Based on the recommendations, hospital inpatient and outpatient services would receive a payment update equal to the increase in the market basket index, concurrent with implementing a pay-for-performance program that would be funded in part by a 1 percentage point cut in the indirect medical education adjustment for teaching hospitals. Long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) would receive a full market basket update minus an adjustment for productivity growth, for an estimated 1.6% update. Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs), inpatient rehabilitation facilities (IRFs) and home health agencies (HHCs) would not receive a payment update.

The entire report is available at http://www.medpac.gov/documents/Mar09_EntireReport.pdf