Senator Grassley sent letters to all 50 states this week asking if they alert the federal government when they do. This information could be used by Medicare to help identify fraud.
The Public Policy Institute brought together leading experts to discuss promising approaches to improving care and lowering Medicare costs. Panel included Lisa McGiffert, Director, Safe Patient Project, Consumers Union
ProPublica’s “The Prescribers” series: “Prescription data obtained by ProPublica shows widespread use of antipsychotics, narcotics and other drugs dangerous for older adults, but Medicare officials say it’s not their job to look for unsafe prescribing or weed out doctors with troubled backgrounds.”
Op-ed by Dr. Kevin Kavanagh: “As more physicians become employees of hospitals, more hospital outpatient services will be provided, which produces an ever increasing cash trove for facilities, while increasing costs for patients and draining Medicare’s financial reserves.”
KHN: Last fall, seeking to improve care and save money, Medicare announced penalties to hospitals to which too many patients returned within a month. Both payment changes are applied to payments for every hospital stay of a Medicare patient. This chart shows the effect of each of those programs on hospitals’ Medicare reimbursements per hospital stay, and the combined effect for the federal spending year that runs from last October through September 2013. Hospitals could gain up to 1 percent in payments or lose as much as 2 percent from the two programs combined.
KHN: In Medicare’s new program that ties about $1 billion in payments to quality of care, hospitals in Fort Wayne, Ind., are faring the best on average while hospitals in Washington, D.C., are doing the worst, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis of the country’s 212 major health care markets.
“The revised payments, which will begin in January, mark the federal government’s most extensive effort yet to hold hospitals financially accountable for what happens to patients.”
A recent NEJM report says Medicare’s policy of not paying for the treatment of two types of hospital infections has not shown to decrease infection rates. But there may be more to the story.
Consumer Reports comments on a new study by the New England Journal of Medicine regarding Medicare’s nonpayment policy for hospital infections.