Aug 22, 2012
News outlets report on a variety of issues including the slow acceptance of ACOs and a legal set-back for doctor-owned facilities.
Medpage Today: Hospitals Slow To Embrace ACOs
Although the vast majority of surveyed hospitals aren’t yet ready to participate in accountable care organizations (ACOs), supporters of ACOs shouldn’t panic, according to a major hospital trade group. Three-quarters of the hospitals participating in the Commonwealth Fund’s Hospitals on the Path to Accountable Care survey reported not considering ACO participation at all. … ACOs are networks of doctors and hospitals that manage the health of a specific group of patients. One of the pillars of the Affordable Care Act, ACOs aim to make providers accountable for their quality as well as for the cost of care (Pittman, 8/21).
Medpage Today: Federal Court Dismisses Stark Law Challenge
Physician-owned hospitals suffered defeat late last week when a federal court dismissed their challenge to a provision of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) that limits the expansion or building of new physician-owned hospitals. The ACA expanded Stark self-referral laws, which bar Medicare reimbursement to hospitals owned by physicians who “self-refer” patients there, by ending reimbursements for physician-owned hospitals even if they weren’t specialty facilities. Any physician-owned hospital licensed before Dec. 31, 2010, would still be reimbursed under the previous Stark laws, which say physician-owned hospitals are eligible for payments if they are “whole hospitals,” or more than a specialty care facility (Pittman, 8/21).
Modern Healthcare: AHA Pushes HHS On Medicaid Questions
Hospitals pressed HHS this week to address a range of Medicaid-related uncertainties created by the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision on the federal health care overhaul. The Aug. 20 letter from the American Hospital Association to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius primarily sought details on a range of payment issues for hospitals, including the fate of cuts in disproportionate-share hospital payments also included in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Daly, 8/21).
And in other news about health law implementation —
Modern Healthcare/Crain’s Business Insurance: Mid-Market Companies Face Health Benefits Enrollment Challenges
The nation’s health care reform law requires companies with more than 200 full-time employees automatically to enroll their full-time workers in a health benefits plan starting in 2014, but uncertainty is delaying many employers’ efforts. One challenge for middle-market companies is the U.S. Department of Labor has yet to finalize the regulations implementing the mandate in Section 1511 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. In fact, the labor department already has said that its automatic enrollment guidance will not be ready to take effect by 2014 (Kenealy, 8/21).
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