In The News

Medicaid Expansion Divides GOP Governors, 2-7-13, LA Times

Paul West reports some of the nation’s most prominent Republican governors have moved to embrace a key feature of President Obama’s healthcare law, providing a significant boost to the administration and highlighting a fissure inside the GOP on an emerging campaign issue.

Bill Near to Repeal SGR?, 2-7-13, Med Page Today

David Pittman reports House Republicans are launching a renewed effort to repeal Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) reimbursement formula, reaching out to Democrats and the medical community in favor of replacing yearly “fixes” with a permanent change in the system.

Measure Would Strengthen Mental Health-Care System, 2-7-13, Washington Post

Brady Dennis and Paul Kane report a bipartisan group of senators introduced legislation Thursday aimed at strengthening the nation’s fragmented mental health-care system and improving access at the community level. The bill would put in place standards for about 2,000 “federally qualified” community behavioral health centers, requiring them to provide such services as substance abuse treatment and 24-hour crisis care.

White House Warns of Sequesters Healthcare Impact, 2-8-13, Modern HealthCare 

Rich Daly reports the Obama administration is warning that budget cuts scheduled for March 1 would hit especially hard in mental healthcare, medical research and the drug approval process.

Slower Growth of Health Costs Eases Budget Deficit, 2-11-13, New York Times 

Annie Lowrey reports a sharp and surprisingly persistent slowdown in the growth of health care costs is helping to narrow the federal deficit, leaving budget experts trying to figure out whether the trend will last and how much the slower growth could help alleviate the country’s long-term fiscal problems.

2011 National and State Healthcare-associated Infections Standardized Infection Ratio Report, 2-11-13, Center for Disease Control

The 2011 National and State Healthcare-associated Infections Standardized Infection Ratio Report presents a comprehensive summary of HAI data collected in CDC’s National Healthcare Safety Network(NHSN). Healthcare facilities using NHSN have real-time access to their data for local improvement efforts. This annual report provides analysis of national and state-level HAI data to help identify gaps in HAI prevention.

Government Says it Recovers Billions in Health Fraud Crackdown, 2-11-13, LA Times

Noam N. Levey reports the federal government recovered a record $4.2 billion in the last fiscal year from medical providers and others who fraudulently billed government healthcare programs such as Medicare. The 2012 tally extends a years-long trend and reflects efforts by the Obama administration to crack down on healthcare fraud.

Broader Therapies Could Further Strain Medicare, 2-13-13, Politico

Brett Norman reports how a 2011 lawsuit may have lit the fuse on a budgetary time bomb in Medicare, even though it simply reaffirms what should be a routine payment policy for services like physical therapy that the massive federal health care program has always had.

Luring Primary Care Docs into Medicaid, 2-14-13, Stateline

Michael Ollove reports The Affordable Care Act will usher at least seven million more Americans into Medicaid next year, but the question of whether enough doctors will be there to welcome them is keeping some state health policymakers up at night. According to a study published last year only two out of three primary care physicians surveyed in 2011 were willing to accept new Medicaid patients.

Readmission Rates Don’t Correlate with Mortality Rates in Medicare, 2-19-13, JournalWatch

Joe Elia reports researchers examined Medicare records and found that two widely used standards of hospital care — 30-day mortality and 30-day readmission rates — are not strongly correlated with each other, according to a JAMA study.


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