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Archives for January 2013

Georgia Senate Approves Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act

On January 17th, the Georgia Senate passed Senate Bill 24, also known as the Hospital Medicaid Financing Program Act.  The bill passed with a 46-9 vote, and authorizes the Department of Community Health to establish a financial structure to protect Georgia’s healthcare system and obtain additional federal funding for the state’s Medicaid program.

The bill was sponsored by Sen. Charlie Bethel (R – Dalton) who is quoted as saying “A failure to pass SB 24 would mean devastating cuts in reimbursement rates for medical providers. Hospitals could face up to a 32% percent reduction in Medicaid reimbursements, which could also mean a loss of services and jobs. The impact of hospital closures and layoffs as a result of reduced reimbursements on rural communities and local job markets would be devastating.”

Notably, the state’s hospital industry has been supportive. It has been reported that the proposed Act will raise $689 million in state and federal funds to help provide health care to about 100,000 additional low-income and disabled Georgians expected to join the Medicaid rolls as a result of federal health-care reform.

During his State of the State address, Governor Deal warned lawmakers that without the additional revenue, the state would be forced to slash Medicaid reimbursements to hospitals by 20 percent.

Introduced into the Senate on behalf of the governor, the legislation would turn over responsibility for assessing the 1.45-percent tax on adjusted gross patient revenues to the Georgia Department of Community Health (DCH).

The Georgia House of Representatives is expected to take up the bill when lawmakers return to the Capitol Jan. 28 following a week-long recess.

UPDATE 2/2/13: Georgia House of Representatives passed Bill 24, and Governor Deal is expected to sign the bill ensuring $450 million in federal money for the Medicaid insurance program.

Read more: http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Ga-House-adopts-Medicaid-financing-fix-4242885.php#ixzz2JkwBESwB

Social Media Guidelines for Healthcare Providers

Social MediaWith extra scrutiny provided by regulatory bodies, navigating the social media space can be tricky for healthcare providers. However, results from a recent survey of hypothetical situations sent to state medical boards, provides some guidance. At the end of the day though, common sense is still the best and safest practice when posting information on social media sites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

According to the “Online Professionalism Investigations by State Medical Boards” First, Do No Harm” article in the January edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine:

Four vignettes clearly demonstrated a violation of online professionalism:

  • Citing misleading information about clinical outcomes
  • Using patient images without consent
  • Misrepresenting credentials
  • Inappropriately contacting patients

Read the findings here http://annals.org/article.aspx?articleid=1556363

New Legislation Impacts Pricing and Reimbursement Rates for Healthcare Providers

To help healthcare providers further understand the impact of the “fiscal cliff” compromise, following is additional information on the new legislation.

As a result of the fiscal cliff legislation, healthcare providers can expect to see estimating changes in the use of biologics and drugs and using those estimations to reprice bundled payments for End Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) treatment. In addition, reimbursement rates for non-emergency ambulance services for patients with ESRD will be reduced by 10%.

Further, pricing of diabetic supplies is included in the new law. The current competitive bidding payment rates will be broadened to include diabetic supplies that are not purchased through mail order. These supplies include those purchased at retail pharmacies.

Have questions or concerns about how the new legislation impacts your organization? Send an email to dj@Jeylaw.com for more information.

Fiscal Cliff Compromise Impacts Healthcare Providers’ Bottom Line

Fiscal Cliff Impacts Healthcare ProvidersLast week, the President and Congress reached a last-minute compromise regarding the much-discussed “fiscal cliff.” The compromise was signed into law by the President and has several provisions that affect the healthcare industry.

1. A reduction in Medicare payment rates to physicians was postponed for an additional year; however, the avoidance of a rate cut is offset by cuts to other providers such as dialysis centers and hospitals.

2. Adjustments will be made resulting in a reduction in Medicare payments to hospitals over the next 10 years.

3. For therapy providers, payments for multiple therapy services provided on the same day will be reduced by 50% instead of 25% beginning in April.

Check back in with the Jeyaram & Associates blog to learn more about the effects of the new law.