fah hospital policy blog

Perspectives on health policy affecting America’s hospitals and the patients we serve.

Category Archives: uncategorized

FAH Celebrates its Investor Owned Hospitals for Hospital Week

May 12, 2014 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Category: Uncategorized

This week the FAH and the investor-owned hospitals we represent are celebrating National Hospital Week (#HospitalWeek). This is a time to celebrate not only hospitals, but the millions of hospital staff who work tirelessly each day to provide patients with quality care and improve community health. This week, we honor the doctors, nurses, clinicians, staff and myriad others who are the lifeblood of America’s hospitals.

Although there is only one official week dedicated to recognize the vital role that hospitals serve in our communities, the critical work hospitals perform is appreciated every single day by patients, local communities and the health care community nationwide.

Hospitals remain open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year to ensure patients always have access to care. Each day, hospitals treat 363,992 emergency patients and deliver 10,152 babies; hospitals across America employ 5.5 million people. Investor-owned hospitals provide tax revenue that helps to fund schools, fire departments, police departments and infrastructure for their communities.

The FAH is proud to represent millions of hospital employees who are dedicated to providing quality care for every single day.

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FAH Thanks Rep. Boustany for Encouraging Efficiency in Hospital Disclosures

May 12, 2014 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Category: Uncategorized

Last week, the FAH sent a letter in support of the “Stark Administrative Simplification Act” (H.R. 3776), which would create “an alternative, and more appropriate, penalty structure” for hospitals that inadvertently incur a technical violation of the Stark self-referral law. In a letter to the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Charles Boustany, M.D. (R-LA), Chip Kahn, FAH President and Chief Executive Officer, notes the FAH’s strong support of his bill.

As it currently stands, hospitals face penalties that can equal millions of dollars for unintended technical violations that in practice would not pose any risk of Medicare program abuse or overutilization, such as a missing signature. These penalties breed instability as hospitals work to maintain capacity to treat millions of additional patients covered under the Affordable Care Act.

The inefficient nature of the current system is a distraction to hospitals and strains their limited resources which then hampers improvements to delivery of care. Mr. Kahn elaborates:

“Further, the delayed time and resources that hospitals spend in resolving Stark self-disclosures of technical violations creates a cooling effect for hospital innovations and realignments that are sometimes necessary to provide more efficient, better integrated quality care to patients, while curbing the cost curve. Streamlining the process and reducing the existing backlog of self-disclosures also would allow CMS more time and resources to pursue real fraud that actually harms patients and the Medicare program.”

The FAH applauds Representative Boustany for introducing this bill and looks forward to working to ensure passage of this important legislation.

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Medicare Spending Slowdown Remains Impressive

April 24, 2014 | Chip Kahn

Category: Uncategorized

Following four years of historically low growth rates in national health spending driven by structural changes in health care payment and delivery as well as the great recession, a recent uptick, predictably, has spawned several doom and gloom articles. These articles overshadow more good news issued last week by the Congressional Budget Office (CBO).

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The Benefits of Hospital Realignment Realized

April 14, 2014 | FAH Hospital Policy Blog

Category: Uncategorized

Recently, Health Leaders Media published an article on the benefits of a realignment effort in Pennsylvania for one hospital system. Duke LifePoint Healthcare has agreed to acquire Conemaugh Health system, and will spend more than half a billion dollars to upgrade inpatient and outpatient services, technology and facilities over the next ten years.

Conemaugh’s CEO Scott A. Becker is enthusiastic about the change and described the merger as “a great three-way partnership”.

“They are getting a strong player in our marketplace and they will make us stronger. We are coming into their organization as a strong organization and we want to – knock on wood – help them continue to grow strategically to make Duke LifePoint even stronger and more prevalent across the country.”

As discussed in a previous post, the largest assessment of current realignments shows massive patient and community benefits when hospital systems merge and realign. The Pennsylvania story is an example of these successes coming to fruition. As evidenced by the merger in Pennsylvania, hospital consolidation can improve care and bring to the table additional resources that previously would not have been available to them. In fact, a recent study found that these improvements can include expanded access to medical care, improved service offerings and increased investments in health IT.

Hospital realignment is about doing what is best for patients, communities and expanding access to care while strengthening the quality of care for everyone who walks through our doors. The recent merger in Pennsylvania is yet another example of the positive effects of realignment for communities and their hospitals.

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