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Archive for June, 2015

IOM Releases Report on Cardiac Arrest Survival Strategies

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

The Institute of Medicine (IOM) has released a report that recommends strategies and actions to improve survival and quality of life following cardiac arrest. The report states that about 395,000 cardiac arrests occur annually in the community and another 200,000 in hospitals, and about 6% and 24% of those patients survive, respectively. The report recommends that the nation establish a cardiac arrest registry to track performance and identify common goals; train the public to administer CPR and use AEDs; standardize dispatcher-assisted CPR protocols and training for emergency medical technicians; set national accreditation standards related to cardiac arrest for hospitals and health care systems; adopt continuous quality improvement programs; and research and adopt new treatments.

For more information, visit http://iom.nationalacademies.org/Reports/2015/Strategies-to-Improve-Cardiac-Arrest-Survival.aspx

Independence at Home Demonstration Saves $25 million

Tuesday, June 16th, 2015

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the Medicare Independence at Home Demonstration has saved more than $25 million, or an average $3,070 per beneficiary, in its first ear. The three-year demonstration is testing whether primary care services delivered at home by multidisciplinary teams improve care and reduce costs for beneficiaries with multiple chronic conditions. CMS will award $11.7 million in incentive payments to nine practices that reduced Medicare expenditures and met quality goals in the first performance year. All 17 participating practices improved on at least three of the six quality measures for the first performance year, and four met all six of the quality goals.

For more on the demonstration, visit http://innovation.cms.gov/initiatives/Independence-at-Home.

AHRQ to Fund Studies on Promotion of Evidence-based Practices

Monday, June 15th, 2015

The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) will fund three Centers of Excellence to study how high-performing health care systems promote evidence-based practices in delivering care. The centers will receive about $52 million over five years. The agency also will fund a coordinating center, which will help the three centers collaborate to develop a national compendium of health care system performance.

For more information, go to http://www.ahrq.gov/news/newsroom/press-releases/2015/pcorawards.html

Medicare Payment to Physicians to Increase July 1

Monday, June 15th, 2015

As part of the “Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014″, 2014 pricing policy for the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule was extended through March 31, 2015. The “Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) of 2015″ further extended the 0 percent update and other provisions through June 30, 2015. Starting July 1, the legislation provides for a 0.5 percent update to the Medicare Physicians Fee Schedule by increasing the conversion factor (CF) to 35.9335.

Further details of MACRA of 2015 can be found at https://www.congress.gov/bill/114th-congress/house-bill/2/text

Increased Transparency for Consumers on Health Insurance Coverage

Friday, June 12th, 2015

The Departments of Health and Human Services (HHS), Labor, and the Treasury have issued final regulations to make it easier for people and employers to compare their options when shopping for and renewing health insurance coverage.  These rules also implement streamlined processes to help health insurance issuers and group health plans provide consumers easy to understand information.  The final rules make few changes to the rules proposed in December, 2014. In continuing the goal of providing clear and straightforward information to consumers about health plans available in their area, health insurance issuers and group health plans must still provide a brief Summary of Benefits and Coverage (SBC) that includes coverage examples and a uniform glossary to consumers.  Revisions to the SBC, coverage examples, and a uniform glossary are anticipated to be finalized by January, 2016 after the Departments utilize consumer testing and receive additional input from the public, including the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC). The revisions will apply to SBCs for coverage beginning on or after January 1, 2017.

To view the Final Rules, visit https://www.federalregister.gov/articles/2015/06/16/2015-14559/summary-of-benefits-and-coverage-and-uniform-glossary


Medicare and Medicaid to Celebrate 50th Anniversary

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

This summer will mark the 50th anniversary of the enactment of Amendments to the Social Security Act that established the Medicare and Medicaid programs. Over the next 50 days, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will recognize the impact these two programs have had in transforming our nation’s health care system. By sharing daily facts and posts on Twitter (@cmsgov) and Medicaid.gov, CMS will highlight people, places, and progress that represent the Medicare and Medicaid programs. To commemorate this anniversary, in late July, regional CMS offices will host public events in addition to a national event in Washington, D.C.

The press release can be found by going to http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2015-Press-releases-items/2015-06-10.html

ACO Final Rule Released

Friday, June 5th, 2015

On June 4, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a final rule on changes to the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and provisions relating to Medicare payments to providers and suppliers participating in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) under the MSSP. CMS also finalized the ability to allow non-risk-bearing ACOs to participate for an additional agreement period. The agency will also change the methodology for assigning beneficiaries to ACOs, create a third track for MSSP participation, and provide additional data to help ACOs better manage care. These changes will apply to existing ACOs and approved ACO applicants participating in the program beginning January 1, 2016.

The final rule can be found at https://s3.amazonaws.com/public-inspection.federalregister.gov/2015-14005.pdf

2013 Medicare Payment Data Released

Monday, June 1st, 2015

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released 2013 data on average charges and payments for hospitals, physicians and other suppliers under Medicare Parts A and B. The annual update includes hospital-specific data for the 100 most common inpatient Diagnosis Related Groups and 30 select outpatient Ambulatory Payment Classifications, as well as physician/supplier-specific data for services and products.

The press release is available at http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Press-releases/2015-Press-releases-items/2015-06-01.html