Rural America Needs Critical Access Hospitals

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Rural America Needs Critical Access Hospitals

By guest author Paul Lee, Senior Partner & Founder, Strategic Health Care

National policy in support of rural healthcare has been lacking for more than a decade. Critical access hospitals (CAHs), in particular, are struggling due to inattention at the federal level.

While the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) last month released its first strategy to improve healthcare in rural America, the eight-page document did not include specific policies. It states that CMS will “apply a rural lens to CMS programs and policies,” but whether this translates into...


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CAHs speak out against cuts to swing beds in Medicare extenders bill

The Critical Access Hospital Coalition wants its member hospitals to call on state representatives to protect swing bed payment rates, which are currently on the line to help pay for the House’s latest Medicare extenders bill.

The bill, proposed by the House Ways and Means Committee on Nov. 15, would extend several Medicare programs, including the Medicare Dependent Hospital Program, the Low-Volume Adjustment Program, the Home Health rural add-on, Ground Ambulance Add-Ons and the State Health Insurance Assistance Programs, among others. The cost of these extensions is funded in part...


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How-to Basics for an Effective Hospital Compliance Program

As healthcare becomes more complex, there is also more emphasis being placed on financial considerations, and on preventing and detecting violations of state and federal healthcare laws. What can your hospital do? Start by creating a compliance program to self-police your hospital and staff activities.

Since its inception in 1976, the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has led the charge to fight waste, fraud, and abuse in Medicare, Medicaid, and more than 100 other HHS programs. In 2010, as...


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Assessing Community Health Needs

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires not-for-profit hospitals to conduct a Community Health Needs Assessment (CHNA) once every three years – and develop an implementation plan to meet community health needs. Finalized in 2014, the requirements surrounding a CHNA are very specific.

Whether or not your hospital has 501(c)(3) status – which triggers the need to complete a CHNA – conducting an assessment of the existing health needs within your community is a best practice both for your hospital and for the patient population you serve. The...


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Six Months In: Preparation Eased Community Hospital Transition to ICD-10

October 1, 2015, was a much-anticipated day for the U.S. healthcare system. It was the final compliance date for the shift from ICD-9 to ICD-10, a set of codes used to report diagnoses and inpatient procedures to identify health trends and track morbidity and mortality. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) characterized the change as “more than an update, a leap in how we define care.”

Physicians, hospitals and health insurance companies rely on these codes for diagnosing patients and billing for services. ICD-9 had been used since 1979...


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