Mar. 11, 2015

Bill would factor sociodemographic risk into hospital readmission rates
AHA News
Sens. Rob Portman and Joe Manchin, and Reps. Jim Renacci and Eliot Engel introduced AHA-supported legislation that would require the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to adjust a hospital's performance in the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program based on the socio-demographic status of its patients. "When recovering from illness or injury, everyone wants to get better as quickly as possible," said AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack.More

Celebrate Social Work Month
March is Social Work Month, and this year's theme is "Social Work Paves the Way for Change." We hope that you use this month to celebrate with colleagues and friends and recognize the hard work and commitment of social workers in your organization. For more information on Social Work month, click here. More

Webinar: Case Management Certification Strategies, Successes and Best Practices
On March 12, from 8-9 a.m., Pacific; 10-11 a.m., Central; and 11 a.m.-12 p.m., Eastern, ACMA will host a webinar exploring strategies, successes and best practices related to case management certification. Moderated by ACMA, the webinar will feature a panel of case management leaders from across the country who will discuss:

To join the webinar:
    1. Go to
    2. Call 1-877-369-2747 and enter participant code: 6479597

Improve your department's efficiency with Compare
ACMA's Compare provides powerful tools and benchmarking to facilitate change related to avoidable delays, readmissions and denials.

If you would like to know more about Compare and evaluate it for your organization, please contact James Nickerson at More

Missing that extra hour of sleep? We can help
Still dragging from the hour of sleep you lost due to the time change yesterday? Let us put a little pep in your step with some Starbucks coffee!

If you've registered for the 2015 ACMA National Conference, send us an email with (1.) your best reason for needing some caffeine this week, and (2.) what energizes and excites you most about the upcoming national conference. The four conference registrants with the best reasons will each win a $50 Starbucks gift card.

Entries must be received by 11:59 p.m. CT on Friday, March 13th to be considered. The winning entries will be published in an upcoming conference announcement, and shared on Facebook and Twitter.

To enter, click here.

For official contest rules, click here. More

National Conference highlights
Keynote Speaker: Don Berwick, MD
Dr. Don Berwick is the United States’ leading advocate for high-quality health care. He served as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) from April of 2010 to December of 2011. For 22 years prior to leading CMS, he was the founding CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Improvement (IHI), a nonprofit dedicated to improving health care around the world — learn more

New: Primary Care Sessions
Primary care case managers are becoming more and more common and play a critical role in the care process. At this year's conference, we introduce sessions focused on primary care case management in each breakout block focused on topics such as handoffs and the identification of appropriate patient populations — learn more

Closing Session: Liz Jazwiec, RN
In this session, internationally renowned speaker, strategist and bestselling author of "Eat THAT Cookie!," "Hey Cupcake! We are ALL Leaders," and "Service Excellence is as easy as P.I.E. (Perception Is Everything)," Liz Jazwiec, RN, will discuss the impact of workplace negativity and provide effective tools to manage morale, eliminate victim thinking and have fun. Ms. Jazwiec's practical and experience-based style incorporates humor and personal stories to provide viable suggestions and strategies for addressing some of the difficult issues facing health care practitioners today.

Pediatric Sessions: Back by Popular Demand
At the 2014 ACMA National Conference, we introduced a session focused on pediatric case management in each breakout block. Based on overwhelmingly positive attendee feedback, pediatrics-focused sessions are returning to the conference agenda — learn more More

Support ACMA's fundraising efforts through cash and item donations
In order to continue to make a difference and ensure your voice is heard, we need your assistance. Cash and item donations are an essential part of ACMA's fundraising efforts.

For this fiscal year, all item donations should be received at the National Office by March 15, 2015.

Click here to download the donation form.

Be an advocate and support ACMA today.More

CMS creates new 'next gteneration ACO model'
Healthcare Informatics
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services announced that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services had launched a new accountable care organization initiative, creating a new vehicle called the Next Generation ACO Model. The announcement came via The CMS Blog, and was authored by Patrick Conway, M.D., Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality and Chief Medical Officer for CMS.More

Report: About 11.7 million Americans signed up or re-enrolled for Obamacare coverage
Kaiser Health News
Federal officials provided the sign-up tally as of Feb. 22 for insurance coverage under the health law. News outlets note that 86 percent of the enrollees received subsidies, which are the subject of a legal challenge currently pending before the Supreme Court. If the court rules against the health law, it would strip away subsidies in states that rely on the federal government's marketplace, affecting as many as 7.7 million people. More

OIG recommends Medicare pay SNF rates for CAH swing beds
AHA News
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should seek legislation to reduce swing-bed reimbursement rates for critical access hospitals from 101 percent of reasonable costs to the daily rates paid under the skilled nursing facility prospective payment system, the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Inspector General recommended. The OIG report estimates that Medicare could have saved $4.1 billion between 2005 and 2010 if CAHs were paid for swing-bed services using SNF PPS rates.More

Contractor CGI Federal wins at Fed. Circ. in CMS audit suit
The Federal Circuit handed CGI Federal Inc. a win in a challenge over the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services' modified payment terms for recovery audit contracts, finding the disputed terms violate the Federal Acquisition Regulation's stance against "terms inconsistent with customary commercial practice." More

Early follow-up reduces readmissions of high-risk patients
Prompt follow-up care for high-risk patients with multiple chronic conditions significantly reduces their risk of readmission, according to a new study published in the Annals of Family Medicine. Researchers, led by Carlos Jackson, Ph.D., of Community Care of North Carolina, Raleigh, analyzed 44,473 North Carolina Medicaid recipients with 65,085 qualifying discharges. They found that readmissions fell among one in four patients if the patient had an outpatient visit within a week of discharge, but reductions were negligible for the rest. More

Survey: HHS regulations are squeezing health IT professionals
By Scott E. Rupp
New research suggests that the regulatory demands imposed by the Department of Health & Human Services are likely having a negative impact on health IT professionals. As many as 60 percent of polled healthcare IT professionals feel that government regulations are leading to the decline of their industry. According to the study, cost-cutting and containment also are cause for concern for healthcare organizations and are "exacerbated by the fact that many IT departments are already understaffed and underfunded."More

Report says Affordable Care Act cost falling as fewer to receive coverage
Houston Chronicle
The cost of President Barack Obama's signature healthcare law is continuing to fall. The Congressional Budget Office announced that the Affordable Care Act will cost $142 billion, or 11 percent less, over the next 10 years, compared to what the agency had projected in January. The nonpartisan agency said the Affordable Care Act will cost less for two essential reasons: health insurance premiums are rising more slowly, and slightly fewer people are now expected to sign up for Medicaid and for subsidized insurance under the law's marketplaces. More