Monday Roundup

Photo by Sven Read on Unsplash

From the Capitol Hill front, the Hill reports

Senate Democrats are growing more anxious over maverick Sen. Kyrsten Sinema’s (D-Ariz.) five-day silence on a sweeping proposal to reform the tax code, tackle climate change and reduce the federal deficit.

Democratic lawmakers are privately worried that Sinema’s not happy about being left out of the negotiations between Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) and centrist Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), which resulted in a surprise announcement last week of a major deal.   

Govexec.com reports on the Republican response to the Senate Appropriations Committee’s release of its twelve fiscal year 2023 appropriations bills last week.

From the Medicare front, Fierce Healthcare informs us

The Biden administration finalized a 4.3% bump for inpatient payments for the federal fiscal year 2023, an increase compared to the 3.2% that was originally proposed back in April. 

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services released on Monday the final Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) and Long-Term Care Hospital Prospective Payment System rule that updates payments to hospitals. The rule also details health equity quality measures hospitals must now meet for participation in the Inpatient Quality Reporting program. 

Here’s a link to the CMS fact sheet on this final rule.

Revcycle Intelligence tells us that last week “CMS released FY23 final rules for hospice providers, inpatient psychiatric facilities, and inpatient rehabilitation facilities. The final rules for fiscal year 2023 include a 3.8% payment increase for hospice providers, 2.5% increase for inpatient psychiatric facilities, and 3.2% boost for inpatient rehabilitation facilities.

Also, last week, CMS released the FY 2023 final rules for skilled nursing facilities. The rule represents a 2.7% payment increase for SNFs.

Fierce Healthcare adds “CMS said Friday [July 29] that it expects the average premium to decrease to $31.50 in 2023, or about 1.8% from the 2022 rate of $32.08.

From the healthcare quality front, the National Committee for Quality Assurance released its Measurement Year 2023 HEDIS and CAHPS guidelines today. NCQA made publicly available a list of adds, drops and other significant changes for MY 2023.

From the U.S. healthcare business front, Bloomberg reports

Labcorp, a diagnostics and laboratory company, is spinning off its clinical trials division into a separate publicly traded company.

Labcorp will house the company’s existing global laboratory business while the new company will manage clinical trials for drug companies. Management said in a release Thursday [July 28] that this structure will allow each division more flexibility to grow within their individual markets.

From the post-Dobbs front, Healthcare Dive tells us

Abortion access nonprofit Just the Pill plans to build a fleet of mobile clinics offering mobile procedural abortion “for the first time in U.S. history,” the nonprofit said. * * *

The group currently operates two mobile clinics in Colorado and plans to build out its network of vans and deploy them in states where abortion is legal but surrounding states have banned the procedure, such as New Mexico, Pennsylvania and Illinois.

“Our mobile clinics will travel to parts of these states based on where the need is greatest,” Julie Amaon, medical director of Just The Pill, told Healthcare Dive. * * *

Mobile health clinics have been held up as an avenue to cut costs and expand healthcare access, especially in underserved or marginalized communities. One 2009 Boston study found that a mobile health clinic, The Family Van, had a return on investment of $36 for every $1 invested in the program. Mobile clinics can also provide primary and preventative care, an important feature given that many regions in the U.S. lack healthcare access.

Currently, there are an estimated 2,000 mobile clinics in America, providing almost 7 million visits each year.

From the wellness front, Morning Consult provides advice on offering wellness services to younger employees.

While benefits like annual raises and an employee assistance program (EAP) with appointment limits have been alluring, these perks are now expected by many Millennial and Gen Z employees, who will soon make up 75% of the U.S. workforce

Improving hiring and retention for the shifting workforce starts with understanding the core values that drive younger generations to join, or leave, organizations in the first place – and that’s health and mental well-being, as a whopping 83% of employees place their benefits as a main deciding factor in whether they will stay at their current job.

As a baby boomer, the FEHBlog prefers to refer to the younger crowd as Zoomers over Gen Z.

From the medical research front —

Medscape reports “A simple blood test that looks for a combination of specific RNA snippets may become a novel way to screen for early-onset colorectal cancer, suggests a new study published online in Gastroenterology.”

“The point would be to use this test as a routine part of annual healthcare, or for people in high-risk families every 6 months,” study senior author Ajay Goel, PhD, MS, chair of the Department of Molecular Diagnostics and Experimental Therapeutics at the City of Hope Comprehensive Cancer Center, Duarte, California, told Medscape Medical News.

“It’s affordable, it can be done easily from a small tube of blood, and as long as that test stays negative, you’re good,” Goel said, because even if patients miss a test, the next one, whether it’s 6 months or a year later, will catch any potential cancer.

Health IT Analytics informs us

study published this week in Nature Communications shows that an automated clinical decision support tool for genetic disease diagnosis and treatment can provide accurate results and disease management guidance within 13.5 hours.

The tool, known as Genome-to-Treatment (GTRx), is a virtual disease management system that integrates whole genome sequencing to provide diagnostics and guidance for 500 diseases, according to a press releasediscussing the study’s findings. The study was completed in collaboration with multiple organizations, vendors, and health systems.

The study states that the 7,200 genetic disorders currently known to medical science result in high levels of morbidity and mortality in children, specifically in neonatal, pediatric, and cardiovascular patients. Approximately 140 million children worldwide suffer from rare genetic diseases, and experts estimate that 30 percent of them will not survive until their 5th birthday.

From the miscellany department, STAT News asks why monkeypox does not have a new name yet. The FEHBlog wonders if monkeypox’s name is changed, then what’s next chickenpox? swine flu?

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