Cost of Care

Annual report on Medicare financing could reduce the immediate impetus to address longstanding issues

New data on the state of Medicare funding show short-term improvement while keeping the stakes high for ensuing decades. The annual report from Medicare’s trustees shows the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund (i.e., Medicare Part A) has enough money to keep beneficiaries covered and providers paid through 2036. That’s an increase of five years from the…

Nick Hut May 9, 2024

A new 340B dispute resolution process could create more opportunities for providers

Regulatory updates to the administrative dispute resolution (ADR) process in the 340B Drug Pricing Program seem likely to expedite the filing of claims over manufacturers’ refusal to offer discounts on drugs distributed at contract pharmacies. HHS and the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), which administers the 340B program, published a final rule that modifies…

Nick Hut April 26, 2024

Hospital advocates bemoan the small Medicare payment increase proposed for FY25

The payment increase described in Medicare’s FY25 proposed rule for acute care and long-term care hospitals falls well short of what hospitals need to keep up with costs, advocates say. The payment rate would rise by 2.6% for hospitals that fulfill quality-reporting requirements and meet the criteria to be designated as meaningful users of electronic…

Nick Hut April 11, 2024

Hospital finances are on the upswing, but the toll of the Change Healthcare outage is yet to be seen

Note: The second section of this article was updated where noted with a new comment from Fitch Ratings. There is reason to be optimistic about the state of hospital finances, but the impact of the Change Healthcare cyberattack has added uncertainty to the forecasts. Financial metrics for the first two months of 2024 continued to…

Nick Hut March 28, 2024

Site-neutral payment has backing in healthcare policy circles, but its efficacy as a cost restraint is unclear

The concept of site-neutral payment continues to receive support from members of Congress and healthcare policy analysts, as demonstrated during a recent hearing. The Jan. 31 hearing of the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s Health Subcommittee was intended, in part, to promote pending legislation that would strengthen price transparency and implement other policies designed to…

Nick Hut February 15, 2024

Healthcare Blame Game: Patient Rights Advocate’s distortion of price transparency regulations and data, and the ad campaign that’s catching attention

Patient Rights Advocate (PRA) has engaged hip hop artists like Fat Joe, Busta Rhymes and Method Man in its “Power to the Patients” campaign, claiming that regulations around price transparency are not being enforced, allowing hospitals to hide their prices and “charge whatever they want.” On this episode, HFMA Policy Director Shawn Stack and Ruth Lande, vice president of hospital relations at RIP Medical Debt, discuss PRA’s misinterpretation of price transparency regulations and hospital pricing.

Erika Grotto February 5, 2024

News Briefs: A new fee is set for using the No Surprises Act arbitration portal

Bringing out-of-network payment disputes to arbitration under the No Surprises Act in 2024 will be less expensive than previously proposed. In a final rule, the U.S. Departments of Health and Human Services, Labor and Treasury established the administrative fee for using the independent dispute resolution (IDR) portal at $115 per case, effective Jan. 22. That’s…

Nick Hut January 30, 2024

Biden administration announces effort to make healthcare more competitive and transparent

Providers and insurers should be on the lookout for the Biden administration to hand down regulations and guidance intended to promote competition in healthcare. The White House in December released a fact sheet stating its position that a lack of competition affects healthcare prices and accessibility for consumers. Drug costs have been a target of…

Nick Hut January 30, 2024

Employer-sponsored healthcare coverage would benefit from better access to data, Congress is told

Employers can stimulate efforts to improve the value of healthcare, but they need help in the form of better access to claims data and prices, according to testimony at a recent congressional hearing. With those tools in hand, employers can more easily forge provider partnerships that lower costs and raise healthcare quality, health benefit administrators…

Nick Hut January 26, 2024

Recent updates and emerging best practices for ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program

Going into the 12th year since it brought accountable care into the healthcare lexicon, the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) continues to evolve, with CMS making changes and participants fine-tuning best practices. Starting with 220 accountable care organizations (ACOs) in 2012-13, the MSSP grew to 561 in 2018. However, the number has been below 500…

Nick Hut January 9, 2024
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