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Federal Health Policy Update for November 16

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for November 10-16.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Congress This week Congress passed another continuing resolution (CR) to fund the federal government beyond Friday, when the current CR expires.  This bill establishes two separate deadlines for lawmakers to pass certain spending bills so they can avoid an omnibus bill that includes all 12 appropriations bills.  Congress must pass four of the spending bills by January 19 and the other bills by February 2.  The Labor, HHS, and Education bill, one of [...]

Bill Would Halt Medicaid DSH Cuts, Bring Other Changes

A wide-ranging bill passed by the Senate Finance Committee would eliminate $16 billion in Medicaid disproportionate share (Medicaid DSH) payments over the next two years. The Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act, passed by the committee with unanimous, bipartisan support, also seeks to improve access to mental health care for Medicare patients living in rural and underserved areas; improve access to behavioral health services via telehealth for Medicaid and CHIP beneficiaries; reduce some of the recently adopted cuts in Medicare payments to physicians that will take effect in 2024; toughen federal regulations governing pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs); [...]

“Hospital at Home” Appears to be Working Well

The federal Acute Hospital Care at Home program introduced during the COVID-19 crisis appears to be working well, according to a new study. The program, intended to free hospital beds at the height of the COVID pandemic while protecting non-COVID patients from exposure to the virus, enabled hospitals meeting certain Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services criteria to care for Medicare fee-for-service and non-managed care Medicaid patients in the home.  Participating patients were chosen according to CMS-approved safety criteria built around an assessment of the acuity of their medical conditions and whether they might reasonably be treated at home. An [...]

2023-11-15T06:00:50+00:00November 15, 2023|hospitals, Medicare|

Improved Prospects for Non-Profit Hospital Finances in 2024

Non-profit hospitals should see generally improved financial performance in 2024, according to Moody’s Investor Services. Driving improved performance, according to the rating company, will be increased reimbursement that outpaces rising labor costs; increased volume, especially in the delivery of higher-margin outpatient care; and improved Medicaid payments in some states.  Also helping improve hospital financial performance will be better use of IT, more use of telehealth, improved workflow, and better use of external resources for improving revenue cycle management. Learn more about what Moody’s sees ahead for non-profit hospitals in 2024 from the Fierce Healthcare article “Nonprofit hospital sector to stabilize [...]

2023-11-14T13:00:35+00:00November 14, 2023|hospitals|


The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission met for two days recently in Washington, D.C. The following is MACPAC’s own summary of the meeting. To kick off MACPAC’s November meeting, the Commission continued its work on denials and appeals in Medicaid managed care with a review of findings from beneficiary focus groups. Medicaid managed care organizations (MCOs) manage and provide care to beneficiaries enrolled in their plans. Beneficiaries have the right to appeal MCO coverage decisions. Federal rules require that states have monitoring systems in place to provide oversight of MCOs and their appeals systems. This session described key challenges [...]

MedPAC Meets

The commissioners of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recently met virtually.  The subjects on the agenda of their two-day meeting were: rural emergency hospitals dual-eligible special needs plans MedPAC’s work plan for hospice issues Medicare coverage of and payment for software as a medical service favorable selection in Medicare Advantage network management and prior authorization and their impact on access in Medicare Advantage MedPAC is an independent congressional agency that advises Congress on issues involving Medicare.  While its recommendations are not binding on either Congress or the administration, MedPAC is highly influential in governing circles and its recommendations often find [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for November 9

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for November 3-9.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. Congress Senate Finance Committee Earlier this week the Senate Finance Committee passed the Better Mental Health Care, Lower-Cost Drugs, and Extenders Act of 2023.  The bill, which passed out of the committee by a vote of 26-0, would: eliminate $16 billion in cuts to Medicaid DSH for 2024 and 2025; soften the 2024 cut to Medicare physician payments by reducing the conversion factor by 2.15 percent rather than the 3.4 percent that CMS [...]

Federal Health Policy Update for November 2

The following is the latest health policy news from the federal government for October 27 – November 2.  Some of the language used below is taken directly from government documents. 340B Remedy Payments Late Thursday afternoon CMS published its final Medicare remedy for underpayments for 340B prescription drugs that was implemented in 2018 but rejected by the Supreme Court last year.  According to the regulation, 340B remedy payments to hospitals will be made after this rule takes effect, which is 60 days after it is officially published in the Federal Register; publication is scheduled for November 16. The final regulation [...]

Medicare Leaving Gaps in Care

Medicare is leaving large numbers of the program’s beneficiaries without at least some of the care they need. According to the Commonwealth Fund’s annual health care affordability survey, One-third of Medicare beneficiaries said it was difficult to afford health care costs, including more than half of beneficiaries under age 65. More than one in five beneficiaries reported delaying or skipping needed health care because of the cost, including more than four in 10 under age 65. More than one in five beneficiaries said health care costs made it harder for them to afford food and utility bills, including more than [...]

2023-11-02T06:00:32+00:00November 2, 2023|Medicare|
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