Hospital Acquired Conditions Fall 8% Over 2 Years by Joe Furia

According to a report released on June 5th, 2018 by the Agency for Healthcare and Quality (AHRQ), hospital-acquired conditions decreased by an estimated 350,000 or 8% between 2014 and 2016, preventing an estimated 8,000 deaths and saving $2.9 billion in health care costs.  During this timeframe hospitals reduced infections and adverse drug events by 15%.  AHRQ stated that these results occurred largely through the work of the 16 Hospital Improvement Innovation Networks (HIINs), including the strong work of AHA’s Health Research & Educational Trust, which is the nation’s largest HIIN.

AzHHA HIIN thanks you for your commitment to reducing harms by another 20% and your contributions to patient safety and quality of care. Together we can save lives!

AzHHA Releases Hospital Financial Reports for April 2018 by Joe Furia

Results for April 2018 show a marked increase in overall operating income year to date.  At the same time, the uncompensated care is continuing to run well below the levels encountered when the enrollment was frozen.  The graph below illustrates that uncompensated care rose when the number of childless adults covered by the AHCCCS program declined, and then decreased when coverage was restored and expanded to 133 percent of the federal poverty level.

Hospital Finance Report.JPG

OIG- Medicare Part D Drug Costs Rising Six Times Faster Than Inflation by Joe Furia

Total reimbursement for brand-name prescription drugs in Medicare Part D increased 77% between 2011 and 2015, nearly six times faster than inflation, despite a 17% decrease in the number of prescriptions, according to a report released today by the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General. The share of beneficiaries with at least $2,000 in annual out-of-pocket costs for brand-name drugs nearly doubled over the five-year period to 7.3%. "Generally, plan sponsors base their reimbursement amounts on the prices that manufacturers set for their drugs," OIG said. "Therefore, increasing manufacturer prices for brand-name drugs may result in increasing costs for Medicare and its beneficiaries, especially those beneficiaries who need access to expensive maintenance drugs."

 

 

DOJ Tells Court It Won't Defend Provisions of ACA by Joe Furia

The Department of Justice (DOJ) last week told a federal court that it would no longer defend key provisions of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), including ones that require individuals to have health insurance and protect consumers with pre-existing medical conditions. This week one of the DOJ attorneys who withdrew from an ongoing case over the ACA just before the government said it would no longer defend the law has resigned. The DOJ filing is in a lawsuit brought by 20 Republican-led states in February and asks the court to declare the ACA unconstitutional because the recently enacted Tax Cuts and Jobs Act repealed the tax penalty enforcing the ACA's individual mandate. The individual mandate repeal takes effect next year. The AHA and other national hospital associations will file an amicus brief in support of the ACA's continued vitality.

ACOM & AMPM Updates by Joe Furia

The Arizona Health Care Cost Containment Administration this week posted updates to the AHCCCS Medical Policy Manual (AMPM) and AHCCCS Contractor Operations Manual (ACOM) on the Agency’s website. The Administration also released memos providing a complete list of changes to each manual, which can be found at the following links:

ACOM Revision Memo - June 12, 2018

AMPM Revision Memo - June 12, 2018

While the changes address a variety of issues, many of the revisions have been made to align the manuals with the newly integrated AHCCCS Complete Care program.

 

Point of Pride: Maricopa Integrated Health System by Joe Furia

It is not every day that you get to spend time with your favorite popstar. For Isabella McCune this was the case last month when she got a very special visit from Taylor Swift at the MIHS’ Arizona Burn Center. Eight year old Isabella, a patient at the Arizona Burn Center, sent a message to Taylor Swift on social media telling her that she was unable to make it to her concert and asked if she would visit her instead. Little did she know that Swift had seen her message and surprised her in her hospital room with gifts and a special note.