Thursday Miscellany

Photo by Juliane Liebermann on Unsplash

Healthcare Dive informs us about the American Hospital Association’s reaction to yesterday’s final FY 2020 inpatient prospective payment system rule.

The American Hospital Association quickly criticized the price transparency element of the final rule Wednesday night.

“By continuing to focus on negotiated rates rather than expanding access to a patient’s out-of-pocket costs, the Administration fails to meet the goal it set for itself — assisting consumers in becoming more prudent purchasers of health care,” the group said in a statement. “We once again urge the agency to focus on what is really important to patients — ready access to their out-of-pocket costs.”

Evidently, the hospitals seek to dump the entire transparency burden on the health plans. The FEHBlog thinks that consumers would better informed by requiring hospitals and all providers to publicly announce the health plan network(s) in which they participate, an analog to the summary of benefits and coverage that health plans must distribute to members.

Speaking of comparison tools, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services today launched

Care Compare, a streamlined redesign of eight existing CMS healthcare compare tools available on Medicare.gov. Care Compare provides a single user-friendly interface that patients and caregivers can use to make informed decisions about healthcare based on cost, quality of care, volume of services, and other data. With just one click, patients can find information that is easy to understand about doctors, hospitals, nursing homes, and other health care services instead of searching through multiple tools.

CMS notes that “Although the tool was created for people with Medicare in mind, many of the measures shown here apply to people who may not have Medicare. Information on this site isn’t an endorsement or advertisement for any provider type.”

Speaking of FY 2020, the Hill reports

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have informally agreed to pursue a clean, short-term stopgap measure to avert a government shutdown at the end of the month, sources in both parties confirmed Thursday. That means the continuing resolution (CR) needed to keep the government open past Sept. 30 would be free of controversial policy riders that have bogged down previous funding bills, significantly lowering the odds of a shutdown leading up to the crucial Nov. 3 elections.

That my friends is good news for the country.

In other news —

  • The Wall Street Journal brings us up to date on the cost, accuracy, and turnaround times for popular (?) COVID-19 testing methods.
  • The Department of Human Services released an action plan for improving rural healthcare in the United States.
  • Beckers Hospital Review reports that Walmart will be bringing Oak Health primary care centers into their super centers located in Arlington, Benbrook and Carrollton, Texas, later this year.
  • HR Dive discusses recent back to school guidance from the Labor Department regard the federal relief acts COVID-19 paid leave program. It’s complicated just like COVID-19.

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