ICYMI: Notes from the field for June 2019

DATE: 07/02/2019

June saw several big conferences for our world — and also saw some interesting policy updates and decisions on key programs. Take a look below to learn more and let us know what caught your attention last month.


Social barriers to health

  • America’s Health Insurance Plans held its annual meeting in June and announced a first-ever initiative aimed at addressing the social barriers to health. The goal is to bring health insurance providers together from across the country to develop programs for all Americans. We see a lot of promise in the program and will keep a close watch on its progress.


The download on bundled payments

  • As healthcare moves toward value-based care, the American Hospital Association calls for more opportunities for rural hospitals to successfully participate in bundled payment models, the Quality Payment Program and other alternative payment models. Rural hospitals’ low episode volume tends to be a barrier to participation and AHA is seeking ways to overcome that challenge.
  • Working to tackle high maternal mortality rates head-on, maternity insurance providers are developing more bundled payment programs for mothers and babies. Finding an effective and viable program is absolutely critical for improving care.
  • We’ve assembled four key strategies that can help set up any organization for success in the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement Advanced program. Read our article to find out more.


Policy news and updates

  • In further steps to improve how it makes platform and quality measure results continuously available, The Joint Commission announced the expansion of its quality measure program. It will now make its quality measure program available to accredited hospitals year-round in real time.
  • When an Accountable Care Organization leaves the Medicare Shared Savings Program, it can hurt Medicare’s wallet — so the heightened departure rate of ACOs is causing CMS some heartburn. A team of healthcare policy researchers believes that senior officials at CMS will need to rethink the financial incentives for ACO leaders, but worry that there may be no easy solutions.
  • The Supreme Court weighed in on the changes the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services made to Disproportionate Share Hospital cuts, ruling that HHS violated the Medicare Act when it changed the Medicare reimbursement formula for DSH. HHS made these changes without providing notice or allowing opportunity for comment. The ruling will prevent the proposed cuts from going into effect.
  • Acknowledging the barriers patients face when it comes to accessing new medical technologies, CMS announced its strategy to improve access for patients and foster innovation for vendors. This comes on the heels of CMS signaling its intention to encourage innovation and a competitive market — but will this actually lower costs and increase quality and access?
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