HealthLeaders Media Finance - August 02, 2010 | The Beginning of Bundling View as a Webpage | Subscribe for Free
The Beginning of Bundling
Elyas Bakhtiari, for HealthLeaders Media

The roughly $9 billion that CMS spends on dialysis treatments each year is relatively insignificant when compared to the trillions the U.S. spends on healthcare. But dialysis reimbursements may soon become the key to healthcare’s future when CMS begins a bundled payment system and quality incentive program for dialysis services. [Read More]
  August 02, 2010

Editor's Picks
CMS Keeps Original Payment Policy for Multi-Campus Hospitals
Multi-campus hospitals should not anticipate additional incentive payments beyond what would be paid for one hospital under the "meaningful use" provisions unveiled earlier this month. CMS had received many comments and requests to recognize each campus of a multi-campus hospital in regard to the incentive payments made for electronic health record adoption. However, CMS decided to remain consistent in recognizing and defining hospitals based on their shared certification number. [Read More]
Hospitalists Unaware of Treatment Costs for Inpatients
Even though proponents of the hospitalist model have long claimed that hospitalists cut costs, hospitalists are unaware of the actual costs of care to inpatients, according to a study published in the May/June issue of the Journal of Hospital Medicine. The study indicated that, in some cases, hospitalists were off by thousands of dollars in their estimates of how much tests and procedures cost the patients. Out of the 26 completed hospitalist surveys, researchers found that only a tenth of them were within a 10% accuracy rate. [Read More]
CMS Announces $10 Million Imaging DSS Demo
CMS proposes to fund a $10 million demonstration of software packages with "appropriateness criteria" or "decision support systems" to help physicians decide whether a patient needs a CT, MRI, or other scan. There are about five software packages on the market today that guide physicians who aren't sure what tests they should order for a given patient. The 11 advanced imaging procedures to be reviewed under the grant include MRI of the brain, lumbar spine, knee and shoulder, CT of the brain, thorax, sinus, abdomen, pelvis and lumbar spine, and Spect MPI. [Read More]
Back Pain Care Spending Nearly Doubled in a Decade
Americans spent nearly twice as much money on treatment for back pain in 2007 compared with 1997, or $30.3 billion compared with $16 billion, according to a report from the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. In 2007, back pain sufferers and their payers spent $18 billion on office visits and $4.5 billion on drugs, compared with $9.3 billion spent on office-based treatments and $1.2 billion on medications in 1997. [Read More]
Finance Forum
New Medicare Fraud and Abuse Provisions Under the PPACA
President Obama recently signed off on legislation that very likely will result in a substantial increase in lawsuits against health care providers. Intended to combat fraud in the Medicare & Medicaid programs, several amendments in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act significantly change the status quo, and will require greater vigilance by healthcare providers in their dealings with the federal government.

[Read More]
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Finance Headlines
Healthcare Reform to Assist Uninsured Women
Janice Simmons, for HealthLeaders Media, July 30, 2010
Inpatient Admissions Decision Fuels RAC Uncertainty
James Carroll, for HealthLeaders Media, July 26, 2010
AHRQ Expands Data on Health Insurance, Quality
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 28, 2010
HMA Acquires Wuesthoff Health System for $145 Million
John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media, July 27, 2010
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Money Talk

A look at one hospital's struggles to improve

Mayo Clinic, Rochester, MN
Rating: AA-
Outlook: Positive
Affected Debt: $1.7 billion
Agency: Standard & Poor's Ratings Services
Remarks: S&P revised its rating outlook to positive from stable and affirmed its AA- rating on various issuers' debt issued for Mayo Clinic. At the same time, S&P affirmed its various other ratings on numerous bonds issued on behalf of Mayo Clinic. Offsetting credit factors include liquidity levels that are still below similarly rated organizations. S&P also considers Mayo Clinic's asset allocation aggressive, with approximately 50% of Mayo's long-term fund in alternative assets. S&P also cites its potential exposure to future Medicare and Medicare physician reimbursement reductions.
[Read More<