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The Spirit of the Holidays

By Rick Pollack
December 18, 2015

During the holiday season, the lives of millions of Americans will be filled with the spirit of giving, the importance of family and friends, and a sense of healing, renewal and new opportunity. That spirit lives year-round in hospitals in every kind of community in every corner of the country. In every season, on every holiday, 365 days a year, your open doors are a beacon of hope for those who need help. It’s why communities take pride in and support the hospitals they helped... read more

Topic: Community Health
Tags: Community health, Community Connections

Study finds no systematic quantifiable relationship between price and concentration

By Melinda Reid Hatton
December 15, 2015

A new study out today conflicts head on with an April 2015 study by a leading health care expert and antitrust economist that found “concentration or structure alone is not a meaningful or reliable predictor of price changes.”  Both studies relied on commercial data, but the latter had authors who were better able to understand how the field actually functions and interpret the data accordingly.

Today’s study suffers from many deficiencies, including a lack of data from the Blue... read more

Topic: Access and Coverage
Tag: price

Drug Price Hikes Hurt Everyone

By Rick Pollack
December 11, 2015

A Senate committee this week put the spotlight on the wave of increases in the cost of medications. While those truly innovative medicines that save lives and ease suffering are certainly valued by all, the committee’s hearing focused on some of the more troubling of the pharmaceutical industry’s tactics in suddenly jacking up the prices of off-patent drugs. Tactics like Canadian-based Valeant’s purchase earlier this year of the rights to a pair of life-saving heart medications,... read more

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tag: drug prices

Did you get your flu shot yet?

By John R. Combes, MD
December 10, 2015

As we swing into the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, National Influenza Vaccination Week (NIVW) reminds us to make our health a priority this season so we don’t give our loved ones the gift of the flu. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) created NIVW as a national observance that highlights the importance of continuing influenza vaccination.

According to the CDC, the flu vaccine is the best tool available to protect against this potentially serious... read more

Topic: Community Health
Tags: child health, maternal health, population health, infant health, Community health, prevention

Readmissions Facts

By Rick Pollack
December 8, 2015

Readmissions are falling fast thanks to the hard work of America’s hospitals to improve care, provide better discharge instructions to patients and partner with patients and others in their communities to coordinate care after they leave the hospital (Medicare Rules Reshape Hospital Readmissions, December 2). However, the Wall Street Journal’s analysis questions that these gains have been fully achieved. 

Here is what the numbers show. Between January 2012 and November 2014,... read more

Topic: Quality and Patient Safety
Tags: quality improvement, quality care, quality, patient safety, readmissions, RACs

Getting to Zero

By Rick Pollack
December 4, 2015

Progress is encouraging; continuous progress promises a better future. Between 2010 and 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services estimates that 87,000 fewer patients died in hospitals and almost $20 billion in health care costs were saved because of patient safety efforts in hospitals. That translates to a 17% reduction in the number of hospital-acquired conditions. While our objective is to get to zero, this represents strong progress to reaching that goal. That’s because... read more

Topic: Quality and Patient Safety
Tags: quality, patient safety, hospital-acquired conditions

Hospitals: Always There, Ready to Care

By Rick Pollack
November 20, 2015

The tragic Paris terrorist attacks reminds our country of the important work that the women and men of America’s hospitals do every day to keep our nation safe. That’s because we’re prepared, not only for the expected but also the unthinkable. Hospitals accept the challenge of being “Always There, Ready to Care” and devote considerable time and resources to preparedness activities. We’ve seen this demonstrated time and time again, and this is just one of the many essential public... read more

Topic: Community Health
Tags: Emergency Preparedness, disaster readiness

Protect Patients. Preserve 340B.

November 19, 2015

More than 20 years ago, Congress created the 340B Drug Pricing Program to allow eligible hospitals and health systems to stretch limited resources and expand access to care for vulnerable patients. But despite a proven track record of increasing patient access to vital medical services and decreasing government spending, some want changes that would weaken the program.   

340B hospitals continue to help care for low-income and uninsured patients. That is why the AHA sponsored... read more

Topic: Access and Coverage
Tags: 340B, Drug Pricing Program, access, price, drug prices

Spread the Word on Rural Health

By Priya Bathija
November 18, 2015

Tomorrow is National Rural Health Day. There is no better time for the nation’s nearly 2,000 small and rural hospitals to join the AHA in thanking our rural health champions in Congress. We depend on our rural health allies in Congress for their commitment to America’s rural hospitals and the communities and patients they serve.


A great way for hospitals and health systems to say thank you is to let them know on social media. At the AHA, we engage with lawmakers digitally so... read more

Topic: Advocacy and Public Policy
Tag: Critical Access Hospitals

Setting the Record Straight on Community Benefit

By Tom Nickels
November 17, 2015

A recent study questioned how nonprofit hospitals communicate with patients who are eligible for charity care and what they charge for the care provided. The only conclusion that can be drawn with certainty is that the researchers don’t understand how the relevant section of the law, Sec.501(r), is supposed to work. 

The researcher’s inclusion of only data regarding the completion of Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) by the end of 2012 is problematic because hospitals are... read more

Topic: Community Health
Tag: Community health



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