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The Real Reason Behind Observation Status

By Rick Pollack
August 22, 2016

“New Medicare Law to Notify Patients of Loophole in Nursing Home Coverage, the article rightly highlights the role of Recovery Audit Contractors (RACs) -- overzealous government audit contractors -- in the increase in observation status. Their constant second-guessing of physician judgement on short hospital stays is the true cause of the increase of observation stays, which some have depicted in an inaccurate way. 

Allowing RACs to deny the care provided years after the patient... read more

Topic: Access and Coverage

Fair and Equitable

By Rick Pollack
August 19, 2016

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has a responsibility to provide fair and equitable compensation to hospitals for the care they provide to Medicare patients. Sadly, the way the agency proposes to treat new off-campus provider-based outpatient clinics falls far short of that standard. The regulations interpret a provision of last year’s Bipartisan Budget Act so narrowly as to erode a service vital to many sicker, poor, minority and elderly patients, especially in rural... read more

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy

Appropriate Use of Medical Resources: Putting It All Together

By John R. Combes, MD
August 16, 2016

Over the past two decades – and the past five years in particular – a national discussion emerged that focused on managing rising health care costs. These increases have not always led to improved outcomes, and at the same time, medical knowledge has increased exponentially and clinical knowledge is doubling as fast as every two years. But with all this knowledge looms a larger debate, when are we doing too much and how do we decide?

In late 2013, the American Hospital Association... read more

Topic: Access and Coverage

Going for the Gold

By Rick Pollack
August 12, 2016

Olympic athletes have natural talent, dedication and drive – and every four years their skills are on display for all the world to see. Every day, Olympic-sized talent, dedication and drive are on display at hospitals across America. We celebrated our hospital Olympians for their inspiring work at our recent Leadership Summit. Circle of Life Award recipients Bon Secours Palliative Medicine, the Cambia Palliative Care Center of Excellence at UW Medicine and Susquehanna Health... read more

Topics: Quality and Patient Safety, Access and Coverage, Advocacy and Public Policy, Community Health
Tag: awards

Honoring volunteers

By AHA STAT Staff
August 9, 2016

Are your hospital’s volunteers teaming up with others in your community to help the people you serve become healthier? Are they working to enhance the public’s trust and confidence in your hospital? Are they taking on a major health problem and helping those who suffer regain their normal lives? Are they involved in getting primary or preventative care to people who would otherwise be left behind?

If your answer to any of these questions is yes or if your volunteers have something... read more

Topic: Community Health
Tag: awards

Zika: Hospitals at the Ready

By Rick Pollack
August 5, 2016

Readiness is a daily reality for America’s hospitals. Today, that reality is being tested by a new foe. Health care providers in Puerto Rico have been battling Zika virus for months and now it has reached the continental U.S., with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reporting a small cluster of locally acquired cases in the Miami area. Information is the greatest weapon we have in fighting infectious diseases and responding to emergencies of all kind. And hospitals have... read more

Topics: Advocacy and Public Policy, Community Health
Tag: Zika

Moving Forward

By Rick Pollack
July 29, 2016

Now that the hoopla of the national political conventions is over, keep this in mind as we look ahead beyond the November elections: bipartisanship will ultimately be the name of the game when it comes to getting things done in Washington, particularly with the likelihood that no party or ideology will dominate all three branches of government.  We in the hospital and health system field are less interested in moving left or right than we are in moving forward with a focus on... read more

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: advocacy, leadership

A Victory for the Future of Health Care

By Rick Pollack
July 22, 2016

The Department of Justice got it just right when it focused its challenge to Anthem’s acquisition of Cigna and Aetna’s acquisition of Humana on the harm to quality and innovation in health care. DOJ echoed the exact arguments we made repeatedly before antitrust officials, Congress and others about how these mega-deals threatened consumers. The proposed deals would have reduced the number of commercial health insurance giants from five to three – just three companies covering nearly... read more

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: acquisitions, consolidation, mergers

Outdated Regs Impede Care Transformation

By Rick Pollack
July 15, 2016

Every day hospitals and health systems seek to provide the best care for each and every patient. But a growing list of regulatory barriers hampers their efforts to transform and improve care. Improving the coordination of patient care is a prime example. Last week, we released a report as part of the AHA’s on-going campaign seeking regulatory relief for hospitals and health systems. It highlights how outdated fraud and abuse regulations created under the Stark and Anti-Kickback... read more

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tags: regulation, administrative simplification, self-referral, clinical integration, antitrust

Addressing Violence to Achieve our Vision

By Rick Pollack
July 8, 2016

This has been a very disturbing and emotional week for our country. We know full well that there are racial disparities in our health care system and we are working hard to address them. Further, we know that there are racial disparities in our criminal justice system and we see them taking place. But we also know that the overwhelmingly vast majority of police officers do their jobs very well and – day in and day out – put their lives on the line to protect every one of us and... read more

Topics: Advocacy and Public Policy, Community Health
Tags: Community health, Behavioral health, administrative simplification
 

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