4 Trends for Rural Hospitals for 2015

Since 2010 there have been 47 rural hospital closures. The reasons behind the closures vary but the message rings true, rural hospitals are struggling. With difficulties from implanting EHR to the re-evaluation of Medicare reimbursements, rural hospitals are looking for new ways to stay afloat. Here are the top 4 trends we see effecting rural hospitals in 2015.

Top 3 Things that Defined Revenue Cycle Improvement 2014

2014 was another year big year for healthcare. As we continue to move toward a more patient-centered and transparent healthcare system, so too continue the changes to our payment models, insurance coverage and commitment to patient outcome measures. While there were many changes to keep track of, three things seem to have defined the progress made in the scope of revenue cycle improvement.

Managed Care – Not New but our Healthcare Perspective Might Be

Managed care has been around for almost one hundred years, at least in theory. When placed up against fee-for-service payment models, however, it was a hard sell. Traditionally, the way that physicians were compensated for their services was a fairly straight-forward invoicing process: they would bill the patient (or later, the payer) for everything they did in terms of diagnosing or treating the patient. Everything.

One Year Since CMS Cracked Down on Readmissions | Where Are We Now?

October 1st of last year, CMS cracked down on readmission rates for hospitals nationwide, handing out millions of dollars in penalties. The Affordable Care Act put these measures into place in order to curb the problem of readmissions, which are not only costly, but reflect an overall poor population health in the U.S. - especially for those patients with chronic conditions. For FY ‘14, 2% was withheld from payments per the guidelines for penalties. By 2015, the rate of withholding for penalties is expected to top 3%. In addition to the higher payments, there will also be additional diagnoses included in the readmission criteria list - it began with heart attacks, pneumonia and heart failure and will now expand to include COPD and complications from chronic lung conditions.

Are ACOs Just HMOs in Disguise?

When we talk about Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) , a lot of people think that they are nothing more than a second try at the ol’ Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs) of the late 80s. ACOs may have some things in common with HMOs, but when you look a little bit closer you’ll see that there are a few very distinct elements that differentiate them.

The 411 on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) (video)

ACO stands for Accountable Care Organization. It is a concept that was created as a result of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). In a nutshell, an ACO is a group of doctors, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations who work together in coordinating and transforming healthcare. ACOs benefit both patients and care givers by accomplishing the triple aim: Increase Quality Reduce Cost Improve Patient Experience

7 Ways to Improve Your Readmission Rates

As most of us are aware, readmissions is a hot topic, especially in terms of the penalties assessed for readmission rates which are excessive. What can you do to reduce or eliminate your readmission rates? There has been a lot of talk about readmissions (avoidable), specifically the healthcare costs associated with them and the effects on the quality of patient care being provided. In order to crack down on these avoidable readmissions, CMS created the Readmissions Reduction Program. The premise of the program is to ding hospitals, with higher than average readmissions (readmitted within 30 days of discharge), by assessing penalties against overall Medicare payments. There has been a lot of hoopla surrounding the program, with many criticisms being cited, such as treating all hospitals alike, not accounting for socioeconomic factors, and the way the penalty is calculated.

Reducing Overcrowding in Emergency Rooms

Overcrowding in Emergency Rooms (ERs) has been an issue of great concern as of recent years. There are a myriad of reasons why the ERs are overcrowded and ways to overcome. Let’s have a look at them. Expand Hospital Capacity By increasing the bed capacity, overcrowding can drastically go down. When there are more beds, more emergency patients can be admitted. When the population of a country grows, then obviously the number of bed capacity should be increased to avoid overcrowding. Many times, hospitals are perpetually full with admitted patients boarded inReducing overcrowding the ERs. Boarding of inpatients in the ERs is unquestionably the leading cause of overcrowding. While this seems like a simple option, there are infrastructure, costs, and the redesign of processes, to name a few, which need to occur in order to successfully add bed capacity.

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