Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

[Reblog] Americans living longer; some pay more for outpatient services

English: image edited to hide card's owner nam...

English: image edited to hide card’s owner name. author: Arturo Portilla (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the 9 October 2014 post at Covering Health: Monitoring the pulse of health care journalism

First, the good news: A new National Center for Health Statistics data brief shows that Americans are living longer. Overall life expectancy rose by 0.1 percent from 2011 to 2012, to 78.8 years, and was highest for non-Hispanic whites and non-Hispanic blacks. Women can expect to live an average of 81.2 years, and men an average of 76.4 years, based on the new analysis.

Now the bad news – a new report released by the Office of the Inspector General in the Department of Health and Human Services found increased costs associated with critical access hospitals. Medicare beneficiaries paid nearly half of the costs for outpatient services at critical access hospitals – a higher percentage of the costs of coinsurance for services received at these facilities than they would have paid at hospitals using Outpatient Prospective Payment System rates.

Critical access hospitals (CAHs) ensure that rural Medicare beneficiaries have access to hospital services. Reimbursement is at 101 percent of their “reasonable costs,” rather than at the predetermined rates set by the Outpatient Prospective Payment System. Medicare beneficiaries who receive services at CAHs pay coinsurance amounts based on CAH charges; beneficiaries who receive services at acute care hospitals pay coinsurance amounts based on OPPS rates.

October 11, 2014 Posted by | health care | , , , | Leave a comment

Should Patients Get Direct Access to Their Laboratory Test Results? An Answer With Many Questions

From the November 28 article in the Journal of the American Medical Association 

In the outpatient setting, between 8% and 26% of abnormal test results, including those suspicious for malignancy, are not followed up in a timely manner.1​,2Despite the use of electronic health records (EHRs) to facilitate communication of test results, follow-up remains a significant safety challenge. In an effort to mitigate delays, some systems have adopted a time-delayed direct notification of test results to patients (ie, releasing them after 3 to 7 days to allow physicians to review them).3​,4

On September 14, 2011, the Department of Health and Human Services jointly with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Office for Civil Rights5 proposed a rule allowing patients to access test results directly from the laboratory by request (paper or electronic). …

Read the entire commentary

December 5, 2011 Posted by | Consumer Health, health care | , , , , , | Leave a comment

   

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