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Sandy Laycox

America's Essential Hospitals

Laycox is a former senior writer/editor for America's Essential Hospitals.

Updated: Annals of Surgery article covering the impact of patient socioeconomic status on operative mortality.

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The House proposes a budget deal with potentially damaging changes for essential hospitals - the association is fighting these. Paul Ryan expected to be the next speaker of the House. The Senate HELP committee examines mental health.

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In an FAQ, CMS offers alternate exclusions for newly finalized measures in the public health reporting objective that were not previously required or are unfeasible to implement in 2015.

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The Basic Health Plan methodology would begin Jan. 1, 2017, and is largely unchanged from current methodology. CMS plans to finalize the rule in Feb. 2016. The BHP is an affordable alternative to marketplace coverage.

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Hospitals should assess units to ensure they are safe and properly maintained and not contaminated with non-tuberculosis mycobacterium. Patients who may have been exposed to NTM should monitor signs of potential infection for several years.

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House Budget Committee clears reconciliation bill that would defund Planned Parenthood for one year and make substantial changes to the Affordable Care Act. Outlook remains unclear for choice of next House speaker.

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CMS released a new resource clarifying when ICD-9 and ICD-10 codes are required. Claims submitted on Oct. 1 or later but with dates of service prior to Oct. 1 require ICD-9 codes, not ICD-10.

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Webinars help identify roles, responsibilities, and other elements of 340B risk management. OPA and APhA also accepting leading practice site applications.

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Agencies say anecdotal reports of intentional nonreporting of infection data have prompted them to emphasize the importance of accurate reporting through strict adherence to NHSN definitions.

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The House Republican vote for speaker will be held on Thursday, other leadership races postponed until later this month. Full House vote for speaker expected in Nov. Budget reconciliation efforts continue.

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In its Shared Nationwide Interoperability Roadmap, ONC presents an action plan that will move the health care system toward the free exchange of health information to improve the provision of health care.

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Zydus Pharmaceuticals Inc., charged incorrect rates on 340B drugs between January 2012 and December 2014. Refunds will be distributed via Apexus.

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The prevention epicenters will identify innovative ways to prevent the spread of infectious diseases in health care facilities. University of Utah and the University of Illinois - Chicago join Cook County Health & Hospital System as essential hospital participants.

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Participants will receive training and technical assistance from national community health improvement experts, engage with the new Community Health Improvement Navigator, and exchange ideas with other partnerships. Applications are due Oct. 13.

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The rule finalizes proposals from the stage 3 proposed rule and the proposed rule modifying the programs from 2015 to 2017. Changes include a 90-day reporting period, fewer hospital objectives, and a lower threshold for patient electronic access.

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Updates cover exclusions for submitting electronic immunization data and applicability of submitting summary of care documents for transferring patients.

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CDC and FDA remove language from guidelines that requires health care facilities to verify that vendors involved in maintaining, cleaning, disinfecting, and sterilizing reusable medical devices are certified by the manufacturer.

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These findings come from GAO, which also found that essential hospitals narrowed this gap over the study, overall performance during VBP's initial years didn't change, and bonuses and penalties were less than 0.5 percent of Medicare payments per year.

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Congress will vote to pass legislation to avoid a government shutdown. Meanwhile, House committees are also working to pass budget reconciliation measures that would defund Planned Parenthood and make major changes to the Affordable Care Act.

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GAO report identifies these challenges and reviews nonfederal initiatives to overcome them. Some of the initiatives suggest that criteria for EHR certification in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs isn't sufficient for interoperability.

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Recent narrowing of provider networks in Medicare Advantage (MA) organizations, which privately offer one or more health benefit plans to Medicare beneficiaries, has caused concerns over whether MA enrollees can adequately access care.

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CMS requests feedback on a range of provisions relating to MIPS and incentives for participation in APMs, including whether to stratify quality measure data by demographic factors.

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The briefing included a panel of four experts serving different Medicaid populations who spoke about continuing to strengthen the program and the role of Medicaid expansion in increasing access to care.

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CMS has tested its systems and is prepared to assist providers as problems arise. Providers should first contact their MAC for Medicare claims questions or subsequently email the ICD-10 Coordination Center or the ICD-10 ombudsman.

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Providers may be exempt from a payment adjustment for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs if they switch certified EHR technology vendors or their vendor is decertified during the program year.

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The assessment helps public health programs understand and build capacity for sustainability over time. It consists of 40 questions and takes approximately 10 to 15 minutes for each individual to complete.

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Medicaid managed care payment rates must be certified by an actuary, appropriate for the covered population and services, and developed in accordance with generally accepted actuarial practices and principles.

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Reports previously excluded the first six months of 2014 data on SSIs, which may have impacted payment adjustment and quality measure results. CMS has opened a second review and correction period.

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The dry run reports are for a new claims-based outcomes measure that will be included in the IQR Program starting in fiscal year 2018. Hospitals have until Oct. 7 to access this report through QualityNet.

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In a legal victory for hospitals, a district court said CMS did not meet legal requirements for rulemaking when it cut hospital inpatient payments by 0.2 percent in FY 2014. The court ordered CMS to reissue the FY 2014 IPPS rule.

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This week congressional action is slow as lawmakers prepare for the papal visit. With a government shutdown only days away, lawmakers work to reach funding negotiations amid Planned Parenthood debate.

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