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In a letter to CMS, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, asked what legal barriers are standing in the way of the agency making hospital inspections done by private accrediting organizations public, reigniting debate over a regulatory change hospitals strongly opposed earlier this year.

Only a handful of healthcare markets have been given high star ratings by CMS across four different sectors, according to a study published in The BMJ, suggesting either high-quality care at one facility isn’t “dependent on or improves” quality in another or the ratings themselves are flawed.

At least 35 Florida hospitals closed ahead of Hurricane Irma hitting the state last weekend, with dozens more still operating on backup power as recovery efforts continue.

Several Florida hospitals which sit in the path Hurricane Irma is expected to take this weekend have begun evacuating patients, while others will remain open during the storm and only postpone elective procedures.

The average time a patient spent waiting to see their physician was 20 minutes in 2016, a five-minute improvement from the previous year, according to a survey of more than 1,200 practices released by the Medical Group Management Association (MGMA).


Recent Headlines

Why 30-day readmissions aren’t an accurate measure of quality

Measuring hospital readmissions within seven days, instead of the typical 30, would more accurately assess the quality of factors the hospital can control, according to a study published in the October issue of Health Affairs.

$13.4 million awarded to test new children’s quality measures

Six grantees will receive a total $13.4 million in federal funding over four years to test and implement new pediatric quality measures.

CMS awards $347 million to hospitals in new safety, quality initiative

CMS has announced 16 organizations receiving a total of $347 million in grants in its new Hospital Improvement and Innovation Networks (HIINs) program.


CMS hospital star rating system ripped by Medicare advisors

The hospital star ratings from CMS may not be fair to hospitals with sicker patients and create “unneeded complexity,” according to the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC), which hinted at creating its own quality measures and payment structure.

Physician integration hasn’t improved care at hospitals

Having more physicians employed by hospitals hasn’t provided benefits for patient care, according to a study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

AMA: Insurer consolidation a threat to access, quality, affordability

The American Medical Association has spoken out against the proposed Anthem-Cigna and Aetna-Humana mergers before, but the organization went further in a new analysis on how the consolidation of major insurers could affect competition.


Most Medicare Advantage enrollees don’t switch plans

Nearly four out of five (78 percent) Medicare Advantage (MA) prescription drug plan enrollees didn’t change their plan between 2013 and 2014, which the Kaiser Family Foundation said raises questions about whether seniors have what they need to compare coverage.

49 states have reduced hospital readmissions since 2010

Almost every state, along with the District of Columbia, saw a decrease in Medicare 30-day hospital readmission rates between 2010 and 2015, falling by 8 percent nationally.

Using patient experience scores to determine payment works within value-based purchasing

Using patient experience scores from the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (HCAHPS) is working as intended within CMS’s Value-Based Purchasing (VBP) program, according to a study published in the journal Health Affairs.

Which states have the best and worst healthcare systems?

Minnesota was ranked no. 1, while Alaska finished at the bottom, in a state-by-state ranking of healthcare quality and cost-effectiveness by personal finance site WalletHub.