Today's News and Commentary

About quality and safety

Healthcare groups renew calls for CMS to remove Hospital Compare ratings until methodology addressed: The title is self explanatory. It is not the first time the methodology has caused headaches for providers. When the first hospital rankings came out (about 30 years ago), they were not risk adjusted- resulting in some interesting results for “best places” to obtain care. Bruce Vladeck, the administrator of what is now CMS, did away with the rankings- but they are back.

Read the article for the latest concerns

About insurance

Trump, in Reversal, Says Replacing Obamacare Can Wait Until After Election: Remember yesterday’s story about a Republican health plan coming under White House direction? Never mind. The President new says the he will wait until after the 2020 election to do something. What will that be? Repeal and replace. Haven’t we been here before?

Read the reversal announcement

NOTE TO: Medicare Advantage Organizations, Prescription Drug Plan Sponsors, and Other Interested Parties: CMS issued its final rules and comments about Medicare advantage rate changes (up 2.53% for the coming plan year) and other guidances, such as allowable extra benefits these plans can offer.

Read the document

Two Republican attorneys general urge court to uphold Obamacare:Republican attorneys general from Ohio and Montana have joined Democratic colleagues in appealing the ruling to invalidate the ACA based on repeal of the penalty (tax) for not having insurance.

Read the story

The U.S. Healthcare Cost Crisis:
This Gallup poll has some interesting findings about American’s attitudes toward healthcare. Among the findings were: “Americans borrowed an estimated $88 billion in the past 12 months to pay for healthcare” and “ 65 million adults had a health issue but did not seek treatment due to costs in the past 12 months.”

Read the survey (Free signup required)

Association Between Insurance Status and Access to Hospital Care in Emergency Department Disposition: There used to be a term for transferring uninsured or poorly insured patients to other hospitals after ER stabilization: Dumping. Does this problem still exist? “After accounting for hospital critical care capability and patient case mix, the study found that uninsured patients and Medicaid beneficiaries with common medical conditions appeared to have higher odds of interhospital transfer.”

Read the research (Abstract is open access, full research requires subscription)

About the public’s health

Healthcare executives rate the industry's top 10 challenges: What keeps healthcare executives “up at night? This article explains the “top 10 challenges.” Most were on the list last year. New on this list are: “External market disruption” from such companies as Amazon, Chase, Apple, Walmart and Google; “Operational effectiveness” achieved by increased efficiency; and “Opioid management.”

Read about the 10 challenges