News & Announcements
The new CMS star ratings program is confusing for patients and families trying to choose the best hospital to meet their health care needs. Health care consumers making critical decisions about their care cannot be expected to rely on a rating system that raises far more questions than answers. And it adds yet another to a long list of conflicting rating and ranking systems. Hospitals and members of Congress are in agreement: we can do better. In a bipartisan letter, the majority of Congress – 60 members of the Senate and more than 225 members of the House –asked CMS to delay release of the star ratings until they can be improved. In addition, we are especially troubled that the current ratings scheme unfairly penalizes teaching hospitals and those serving higher numbers of the poor.
The Senate last night voted 92-2 to approve the conference report to the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (S. 524), legislation designed to help stem the epidemic of opioid abuse through education, prevention, treatment and rehabilitation. The bill incorporates several key AHA-endorsed measures, including the creation of a multi-agency task force with a hospital representative that will develop best practices for prescribing and pain management; more stringent pre-market review of new opioids by the Food and Drug Administration; increased access to opioid overdose reversal drugs and medication-assisted treatment; and expanded research and treatment for vulnerable populations. The House passed the conference report last week and President Obama is expected to sign it into law. AHA members received a Special Bulletin with more on the legislation, as well as recent actions by the administration and AHA to combat the opioid abuse epidemic.
Nebraska lawmakers are once again looking for ways to expand so-called telehealth services throughout the state to address a shortage of specialized health care providers and an aging rural population. Nebraska lawmakers are once again looking for ways to expand so-called telehealth services throughout the state to address a shortage of specialized health care providers and an aging rural population. Telehealth services are flourishing nationwide, allowing doctors and patients to connect through webcams and smartphones. But advocates say the technology still faces substantial obstacles that have kept it from spreading faster in Nebraska. One senator has launched a legislative study of the technology that will begin in earnest later this month. Sen. Merv Riepe of Ralston said he wants to learn how other states are adopting the technology and what Nebraska can do to make it easier, safer and more effective.
NHA Workforce Report Released
The 2016 NHA Workforce Report is now available. In January, we collected vacancy and turnover rates for key healthcare positions from NHA members. This information was compiled to create this report. Access the 2016 Workforce Report.