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By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 30, 2014 3:49 PM
Your hospital has some amazing heroes. Here’s a chance to share their stories. The Coalition to Protect America’s Health Care — a voice in support of financially- strong hospitals — recently launched Hospital Heroes, a program that showcases hospital caregivers and many others, from administrative staff and nurses, to physicians and other allied health professionals, maintenance and security, who go above and beyond in their work to help patients and their communities. Hospital Heroes is a continuation of the Coalition’s digital effort, which includes social media to educate the public about the pressures facing hospitals and encourage them to contact Congress on hospitals' behalf.

Now, the Coalition has debuted the new Hospital Heroes website, http://protecthealthcare.org/hospital-heroes, to tell their stories and spotlight these special individuals.

To name one or more members of your team as...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 9:15 AM

As of the most recent data download to the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET), 80 percent of Kentucky hospitals participating in the Kentucky Hospital Engagement Network (K-HEN) are reporting and 80 percent are reaching/meeting national benchmark goals in five different focus areas — Early Elective Deliveries, Pressure Ulcers, Other Obstetrical Harm, Falls and Venous Thromboembolisms (VTE). 

KHA and K-HEN congratulate all the participating hospitals on making great strides with their dedication to improving patient safety and quality. For more information about K-HEN, visit http://www.k-hen.com/.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:56 AM
Hospitals across the nation are struggling to maintain effective cybersecurity defenses, stay up to date on HIPAA compliance requirements and navigate the confusing waters of Meaningful Use audits. On August 6, KHA Solutions Group Affinity Partner LBMC Managed Security Services will host a webinar for KHA members that will help security and compliance personnel understand how to conduct a Risk Analysis that meets HIPAA and Meaningful Use requirements. It will also provide several practical steps hospitals can take to increase their cybersecurity defenses and reduce the likelihood of a data breach.

Participants will learn about mandates by the HIPAA Privacy and Security regulations — these regulations require hospitals to undertake mandatory periodic vulnerability scans as well as put in place systems to perform daily monitoring of data exchange and breach notification.

KHA Solutions Group has negotiated very competitive pricing for managed security services for KHA member hospitals. KHA Solutions...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 8:44 AM
The Departments of Treasury, Labor and Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Social Security Administration (as well as two Public Trustees, Robert Reischaur and Chuck Blahous) have released the 2014 Social Security and Medicare Trustees’ Report. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell stated in a press conference that the life of the Medicare hospital insurance trust fund has been extended by four years until 2030; the growth in per-Medicare-beneficiary spending is slower than the overall economy’s growth; and Part B premium growth is flat for 2015 at $104.90 (the same as 2014 and 2013). Public Trustee Reischaur noted that one element that was different this year is that the baseline assumes Congress will not allow the cuts due to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) to go into effect, thus making the Part B estimates more reliable.

Highlights of the report include

Hospital insurance (HI) trust fund solvency extended by 4 years since 2013 report and by 13 years since the passage of the Affordable...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Tuesday, July 29, 2014 7:09 AM
The Internal Revenue Service released draft forms that employers will use to report the health coverage they offer their employees. The draft Form 1095-B, Health Coverage, and Form 1095-C, Employer-Provided Health Insurance Offer and Coverage, were posted to the IRS's website July 24. The reporting is linked to the Affordable Care Act's (ACA) employer mandate, which, when it fully takes effect, will require most employers to offer coverage or potentially face penalties.

Form 1095–B collects information under tax code Section 6055, which under the ACA sets the standards for reporting information on whether plans meet minimum essential coverage. Form 1095–C falls under the jurisdiction of Section 6056, which lays out the requirements that must be followed by employers with the equivalent of at least 50 full-time employees to report whether they offer employees coverage that meets minimum value and affordability standards.

...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 28, 2014 8:31 AM

The Greater Ohio Healthcare Leaders’ Forum (GOHLF) Chapter of the American College of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) will host an educational session on Tuesday, August 26. The program, "Successfully Leading Competition and Strategy Change in Healthcare Organization" has been approved for 1.5 ACHE Face-to-Face Education Credits. The program will include a panel discussion with Q&A.

The event will be held at Seasons 52, 3819 Edwards Road, in Cincinnati from 5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m. (ET). A cocktail hour with ample opportunity for networking will follow from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. Cost per person is $35.00.

To register, visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/successfully-leading-competition-and-strategy-change-in-healthcare-organization-tickets-12206557141.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 28, 2014 8:05 AM
Smoke-Free Kentucky is going on a road trip and will be making stops across the state on its way to the annual Fancy Farm Picnic. A special Smoke-Free Kentucky van will be crossing the commonwealth starting Monday, July 28 and running through Saturday, August 2.

Kentuckians are encouraged to visit the van to tell personal stories about why Kentucky should be smoke-free. The organization is inviting legislators, the public and the media to visit and learn more about the Smoke-Free Kentucky campaign.

The van will be making stops at the following locations:

Monday, July 28 Kings Daughters Medical Center 2201 Lexington Avenue Ashland 12:00 p.m. (ET)

Tuesday, July 29 Hazard ARH Regional Medical Center 110 Medical Center Drive Hazard 11:00 a.m. (ET)

City Hall 123 Town Square Manchester 3:00 p.m. (ET)

Wednesday, July 30 Markey Cancer Center 800 Rose Street Lexington 11:00 a.m. EST

Norton Cancer Institute 676 South Floyd Street Louisville 3:00...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Friday, July 25, 2014 8:15 AM

On July 23, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducted a webinar to explain changes in the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) program, as KHA briefly outlined (see article). Many hospitals were unable to join the webinar, so the slides are available at http://www.new-kyha.com/Portals/5/NewsDocs/ProviderCallSlides%2007232014.pdf for your information.

CMS plans to conduct additional webinars/conference calls to repeat the information. KHA will notify you when they are scheduled.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Friday, July 25, 2014 8:08 AM
On July 24, the U.S. House Ways and Means Committee examined the state of the Medicare Advantage (MA) program, which has undergone changes as a new payment benchmark methodology and other policies from the Affordable Care Act are phased in.

Republicans claim the cuts will jeopardize the program, leaving seniors without plans, looking for a new doctor or paying more out of their pocket for care. The cuts have been "masked and delayed" by an $8 billion bonus program that has cushioned plans so far, Health Subcommittee Chairman Kevin Brady (R-Texas) stated. Democrats, meanwhile, accused the GOP of trying to frighten seniors and touted Administration figures on surging MA enrollment, stable premiums and better quality results.

Witnesses at the meeting testified that plans will find it harder to fund coordinated care, particularly for beneficiaries with chronic conditions or those vulnerable beneficiaries eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. That could mean more hospital stays and less follow-up...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 10:00 AM
There are several events scheduled to assist small and rural hospitals in the coming months.

On August 19, a kickoff meeting will be held for a new collaborative. KHA and the American Heart Association (AHA) have partnered to create a rural hospital-focused collaborative improvement project with the goal to improve heart failure care delivery and outcomes for rural Kentuckians. KHA and AHA recognize that rural hospitals care for populations with unique challenges related to overall health status, health care access, poverty and transportation. National data indicates that heart failure outcomes for rural hospitals lag behind outcomes when compared to those in urban areas. This collaborative improvement project will tailor resources to meet the unique challenges rural providers face and work to ensure rual Kentuckians receive evidence-based health care. The event will be held at Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill in Harrodsburg. Details and information are available at http://www.kyha.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/07/HeartFailureCollaborative.pdf.

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By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 9:54 AM
Last week, KHA advised hospitals of proposed amendments filed by the Office of Inspector General (OIG) to significantly raise the annual licensure fees for hospitals and other licensed health facilities (902 KAR 20:008). The fee for hospitals with deemed status would be raised from $10 per bed to $25 per bed plus $1,000. This new fee would apply to all hospital types, and represents an average increase of approximately 200 percent.

Licensing fees have not been increased since 2003; however, a CPI increase from 2003-2014 would amount to roughly a 26 percent increase. The OIG has attempted to justify the exorbitant fee increase by citing that the current fees must be raised to a reasonable level commensurate with the cost of regulating health care facilities. This is especially problematic for hospitals since, by state law, hospitals which are accredited and have deemed status for Medicare participation are given deemed status for licensure and are not even surveyed each year. Under state regulations, the...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 23, 2014 8:32 AM

T.J. Samson Community Hospital’s Board of Directors has announced that Bud Wethington has accepted the position of chief executive officer of the organization.

Wethington will replace Bill Kindred, who retired from the hospital’s top position in December 2013. Wethington, a native of Owensboro, Kentucky is the current chief executive officer at Tomball Regional Medical Center, a Community Health Systems (CHS) affiliate in Tomball, Texas. He has 30 years of experience in the field of health care. Prior to his tenure in Tomball, he was president and chief executive officer of Capital Regional Medical Center in Tallahassee, Florida. Wethington has also worked for Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) in several capacities.

Wethington and his wife, Jeanell, will relocate to Glasgow in August. He will begin his role as chief executive officer of T.J. Samson Community Hospital on August 18.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 10:09 AM
Two federal judicial panels on Tuesday delivered conflicting rulings on how the government subsidizes premiums through the Affordable Care Act (ACA), creating more uncertainty over signature legislation that has been dogged by challenges from Republicans and other conservatives.

The rulings, handed down by appeals court judges in the District of Columbia and Virginia, could lead to a new showdown over the ACA before the U.S. Supreme Court, which in June 2012 narrowly upheld the Democratic president's health care insurance overhaul.

The cases deal with the federal government's ability to offer premium tax credits to people who purchase insurance through the federal insurance marketplace that serves the majority of the 8 million consumers who have signed up for private coverage for 2014.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit ruled in a 2-1 decision that the ACA allows subsidies that help pay for insurance premiums to be offered only to...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Tuesday, July 22, 2014 9:31 AM
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has awarded new quality improvement organization (QIO) contracts. For the first time, CMS restructured the QIO program by separating the QIO’s case review work from the quality improvement work, and issued separate requests for proposals (RFPs) and contracts for each. Two contracts were awarded to Beneficiary and Family Centered Care QIOs (BFCC-QIO) to perform case reviews, quality of care reviews, diagnosis-related group (DRG) reviews, EMTALA reviews, appropriateness of setting reviews, medical necessity reviews, readmission reviews, Physician Acknowledgment Statement monitoring, appeals and sanctions. KePRO (which previously held the QIO contract for Ohio), was awarded the BFCC-QIO contract for Kentucky as well as 32 other states and the District of Columbia. Kentucky hospitals should have received a letter from KePRO indicating they will begin this work August 1, and advising that hospitals should download, sign and return a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA)...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 21, 2014 2:27 PM
The Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) has just released an interpretive rule explaining its position with respect to inclusion/exclusion of orphan drugs in the 340B program. This follows comments last week from HRSA in the wake of a court ruling that called the Agency's authority into question with respect to orphan drugs. The rule is available at http://www.ofr.gov/(S(ngyx2dlwh3mfa5sankgk5q04))/OFRUpload/OFRData/2014-17409_PI.pdf.

According to the summary, "The interpretive rule states that section 340B(e) of the PHSA excludes drugs with an orphan designation only when those drugs are transferred, prescribed, sold, or otherwise used for the rare condition or disease for which the drug was designated under section 526 of the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act)."

Another, more comprehensive 340B proposed rule has been under Office...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 21, 2014 10:15 AM
On Wednesday, July 16, the Interim Joint Health and Welfare Committee met in Frankfort. Kentucky Medicaid Commissioner Lawrence Kissner spoke at the meeting to provide an update on Affordable Care Act (ACA) activities in Kentucky.

During his presentation, Kissner told the committee that the federal government has kept the disproportionate share hospital (DSH) payments as they have been from federal fiscal year (FFY) 2009 to 2013 – the same as before the ACA. He stated that some hospitals have received more additional Medicaid payments from Medicaid expansion than others. He said that 78-79 hospitals are getting paid more in Medicaid expansion payments plus they are still receiving DSH payments (not counting UK Chandler Medical Center, University of Louisville Hospital and the psychiatric hospitals).

Representative Robert Benvenuti (R-Lexington) pointed out to Commissioner Kissner that hospitals are seeing more self pay patients and those with high deductible plans in addition to the losses hospitals...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 21, 2014 9:24 AM

For hospitals in the Appalachian region of Kentucky, please see the details for the SOAR listening session on health below. If you are not familiar with SOAR (Shaping Our Appalachian Region), you can learn more at http://www.soar-ky.org.

The group would like to include a more prominent discussion of diabetes in the health-related community listening sessions because it is an epidemic health issue for the region. These sessions are an excellent opportunity to share thoughts and concerns for the region.

Health Listening Session
Thursday, July 24
4:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m. (ET)
UK Center for Health, Education and Research (CHER)
Room 102
Morehead

By Ginger - Site Admin on Friday, July 18, 2014 2:13 PM
On July 18, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded additional contracts as part of a restructuring of the Quality Improvement Organization (QIO) Program to create a new approach to improve care for beneficiaries, families and caregivers. QIOs are private, mostly not-for-profit organizations staffed by doctors and other health care professionals trained to review medical care and help beneficiaries with complaints about the quality of care and to implement improvements in the quality of care available throughout the spectrum of care.

The new contracts being awarded to fourteen organizations represent the second phase of QIO restructuring. The awardees will work with providers and communities across the country on data-driven quality initiatives. These QIOs will be known as Quality Innovation Network (QIN)-QIOs.

QIN-QIO projects will be based in communities, health care facilities and clinical practices. They will drive quality by providing technical assistance, convening learning and action networks for sharing best practices, and collecting and analyzing data for improvement. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ (HHS) National Quality Strategy (NQS) and the CMS Quality Strategy provide the framework for the contracts along with the companion, recommendations and priorities....
By Ginger - Site Admin on Friday, July 18, 2014 9:31 AM
More than 1,500 hospitals participating in the AHA/Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) Hospital Engagement Network (HEN) — including the Kentucky hospitals participating in the Kentucky HEN (K-HEN) — improved care for more than 143,000 patients since January 2012, resulting in an estimated cost savings of more than $1.3 billion, according to results released July 16.

Among other improvements, participating hospitals prevented more than 110,000 readmissions; nearly 19,000 early elective deliveries (which can increase complications); and more than 8,500 infections. The project is part of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Partnership for Patients (PfP) initiative.

The results will be shared at the Second Annual Quality and Safety Roadmap, hosted by the AHA’s Symposium for Leaders in Healthcare Quality July 19-20 in San Diego. For more on the HEN project, visit www.k-hen.com, www.hret-hen.org...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Friday, July 18, 2014 8:49 AM
Consumer Reports magazine has reported ratings of hospitals for heart-valve and coronary artery bypass surgery based on hospitals' reports to the Society of Thoracic Surgeons (STS). More than 400 hospitals in 45 states have been rated, based on "medical records showing whether patients survived the procedure and how they fared on other important measures, including complications," the magazine states.

Although more than 1,000 hospitals send data to STS, only 400 allowed it to be shared with Consumer Reports. Of those, "20 percent (83) were above average, 75 percent (310) were average and 4 percent (18) were below average," the magazine reports. Robbin Cohen, a cardiothoracic surgery professor at the University of Southern California, stated the STS has very high standards, so hospitals with average scores do a very good job.

King's Daughters Medical Center in Ashland and Baptist Health Paducah were the only Kentucky hospitals ranked above average for either type of procedure — both hospitals...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:39 AM

U.S. News and World Report has released its annual best hospitals ranking. Nine Kentucky hospitals were recognized for their strong performance within the state.

The Kentucky rankings are listed at http://health.usnews.com/best-hospitals/area/ky. U.S. News also ranked hospitals by region and in the Louisville metro area.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:18 AM

On July 7, Medicaid regulations became final and took effect to cover occupational therapy on an outpatient basis in hospitals as well as outpatient behavioral health services including intensive outpatient, partial hospitalization, individual and group therapy. KHA worked with the Department for Medicaid Services to achieve positive amendments to the regulations for these services to be covered in an outpatient hospital setting.

Also becoming effective on that date were new regulations covering behavioral health services and occupational, physical and speech therapy services provided by independent providers.

If you have any questions concerning the new regulations, please contact Nancy Galvagni at KHA (502-426-6220 or 800-945-4542 or via email at ngalvagni@kyha.com).

By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 9:07 AM
Thirty-three Kentucky hospitals were recently recognized by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) for their outstanding voluntary efforts to promote organ donation in the third year of the Workplace Partnership for Life Hospital Organ Donation Campaign. Hospitals were awarded gold, silver or bronze recognition based on the number of promotion activities implemented. The campaign also recognized the Kentucky Hospital Association and Donate Life Kentucky for partnering with hospitals and transplant centers in the national campaign.

The Kentucky hospitals recognized were:

Baptist Health Corbin

Baptist Health Louisville

Baptist Health Madisonville

Baptist Health Richmond

Baptist Hospital Lexington

Clark Regional Medical Center

Ephraim McDowell Regional Medical Center

Fleming County Hospital

Frankfort Regional Medical Center

Georgetown Community Hospital

Hardin Memorial Health

Harrison Memorial Hospital...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:49 AM

Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell has announced the availability of $100 million from the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to support an estimated 150 new health center sites across the country in 2015. New health center sites will increase access to comprehensive, affordable, high quality primary health care services in the communities that need it most.

More information on this funding opportunity is available at http://www.hrsa.gov/grants/apply/assistance/nap/.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Wednesday, July 16, 2014 8:35 AM
Last year, Governor Steve Beshear directed the Cabinet for Health and Family Services (CHFS) to initiate enhanced educational efforts to improve the continued implementation of Medicaid managed care. CHFS, in partnership with the managed care organizations (MCOs), is sponsoring the second round of these forums across Kentucky in August and September. These forums are designed to allow any and all health care providers who have contracts with MCOs and serve Medicaid consumers to meet face-to-face and discuss concerns about proper billing, prior authorizations, prompt pay, appeals processes or any other specific issues related to managed care.

In attendance will be senior level staff from each MCO, senior staff from the Department of Insurance (DOI), Office of the Inspector General, Department for Medicaid Services, Department for Public Health, Department for Behavioral Health, Developmental and Intellectual Disabilities and the Office of the Secretary.

Pre-registration (at least five days in advance...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 14, 2014 3:42 PM
On May 12, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published in the Federal Register a final rule to revise and clarify certain Conditions of Participation (CoPs) and Conditions for Coverage (CfCs) for hospitals, critical access hospitals (CAHs) and other providers, including long-term care facilities, ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs), laboratories, transplant centers, organ procurement organizations, rural health clinics, federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) and intermediate care facilities for intellectually disabled individuals. The rule is largely aimed at reducing burden and eliminating obsolete regulations, and it also responds to stakeholder concerns about current governance-related provisions for hospitals.

Among the most significant changes, CMS will:

Allow multi-hospital systems composed of separately Medicare-certified hospitals to have integrated, unified medical staff structures; Remove a requirement that a hospital’s governing board include...
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 14, 2014 3:37 PM
A copy of the 2014-2015 KHA Work Plan is now available online at http://www.new-kyha.com/Portals/5/NewsDocs/work%20plan%202014.pdf. Each year, KHA’s Strategic Planning Committee meets to review the accomplishments of the previous year and discuss initiatives for the upcoming year. The Committee then prioritizes those activities and develops a list of recommendations to be presented to the KHA Board of Trustees. The list of initiatives included in this Work Plan was approved by the KHA Board at its June 2014 meeting. New state and federal issues may arise that take priority over those listed; however, this plan identifies the major initiatives the KHA staff will be undertaking before June 2015.
By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 14, 2014 3:19 PM
On July 11, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) released its monthly report on applications, eligibility determinations and enrollment for May 2014. As of the end of May, 6.7 million more individuals were enrolled nationwide in Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP) as compared to the baseline period from July through September 2013, an increase of 11.4 percent. Growth was more pronounced in the 26 states (including the District of Columbia) that had adopted and implemented the Medicaid expansion by the end of May. Enrollment in those states rose by 17 percent, while states that have not expanded reported only a 3 percent increase.

This monthly report on state Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) data represents state Medicaid and CHIP agencies’ eligibility activity for the calendar month of May 2014 . The data included in this report were submitted to CMS from state Medicaid and CHIP agencies as part of the Medicaid and CHIP Performance Indicator process.

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By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 14, 2014 2:57 PM

Over the past several months, the Department of Health and Human Services has been busy issuing rules and guidance for the 2015 plan year for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) health insurance marketplaces and Medicare Advantage. These are complex rules and guidance, and the implications for hospitals and hospital systems as caregivers, employers and, in some cases, insurers will vary.

The American Hospital Association has issued a Regulatory Advisory which features a compendium of the key rules and guidance. It provides a brief summary, identifies key hospital-related issues and includes web links to associated regulatory documents.

By Ginger - Site Admin on Monday, July 14, 2014 10:23 AM
The Cabinet for Health and Family Services has filed proposed amendments to 902 KAR 20:008 – License procedures and fee schedule – to substantially increase the annual licensure fees for all health facilities, including hospitals. To view the changes, visit http://www.lrc.ky.gov/kar/902/020/008reg.htm. All types of hospitals will be charged at the same rate, regardless of whether the hospital has deemed status for licensure. Currently, the per-bed rate for deemed status hospitals is $5.00 lower. The current and proposed rates are as follows:
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