MASSDEVICE ON CALL — Congressional Republicans are getting help from the American Medical Assn. in challenging the validity of the controversial Independent Payment Advisory Board mandated by President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul.
The GOP and the AMA have renewed their attacks on the controversial panel, which they say has far too much power over health care reimbursement rates.
"The IPAB puts important health care payment and policy decisions in the hands of an independent body that has far too little accountability," AMA president Cecil Wilson said in a letter. "Major changes in the Medicare program should be decided by elected officials."
The Budget Committee, chaired by Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), scheduled a hearing on the IPAB for next week, Healthwatch reported.
The IPAB, created by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, takes over the role of making recommendations on Medicare reimbursement practices, once the responsibility of Medicare Payment Advisory Commission which was established in 1997.
With MedPAC all recommended changes to Medicare reimbursement required an act of Congress to take effect, but the new IPAB’s recommendations automatically take effect and require an act of Congress to overrule them.
States cut Medicaid payments for doctors, hospitals and other health care providers
About a dozen states have implemented Medicaid cuts that will go into effect this month, USA Today reported. The cuts could exacerbate what is already a shortage of health care providers that participate in Medicaid.
States curbing the aid program this month include South Carolina, Colorado, Nebraska, Oregon, Connecticut, Florida, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia and Washington. Arizona and New York cut some funds in April, and Arizona has another cut planned for November.
Disney doles out customer service advice to hospitals
The Disney Institute announced last week that its professional development program will provide customer service strategies to hospitals and health care organizations interested in "Building a Culture of Healthcare Excellence," as it is called.
"As with guests in Disney theme parks, the patient has to feel that he or she is getting the best possible service in all areas and at all levels, from the receptionist to the nurses and physicians," said Disney Institute consultant Patrick Jordan, a former healthcare executive, in a statement. "That starts with leadership."
Hospitals using the Disney best practices program include the Arkansas Children’s Hospital and Florida Hospital for Children, which jumped from the bottom 10 percent in nationwide patient/family satisfaction scores to the top 10 percent, Fierce Healthcare reported.
Heart valve surgery outcomes linked to insurance status?
Uninsured and Medicaid payer status is associated with an increased risk for patients undergoing heart valve operations, according to a study published in the May issue of the Journal of the American College of Surgeons.
From 2007 to 2008, the number of uninsured Americans rose by 600,000 and patients covered by government assistance insurance programs increased by 4.4 million and the number of Americans covered by private insurance decreased by one million, according to the study.
As a result, the researchers argue that insurance status should be treated as an independent risk factor during pre-operation planning.