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Uncompensated care up significantly at U.S. hospitals, led by Southeast Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Monday, 25 November 2019 00:00

Ron Shinkman reports for Healthcare Dive on November 22:

Despite the Affordable Care Act taking hold in recent years, the average amount of uncompensated care reported by hospitals rose to $12.8 million last year, up nearly $1.7 million from 2015, according to a new survey from Definitive Healthcare. Hospitals in the Southeast, where the expansion of Medicaid eligibility has mostly been rejected, saw the greatest growth in uncompensated care between 2015 and 2018. Smaller hospitals were hit particularly hard, with unreimbursed costs rising most among those with 25 beds or less, averaging an 8.5% annual increase between 2017 and 2018. However, hospitals with more than 250 beds had much higher total uncompensated care costs, averaging $39.7 million last year. Definitive surveyed 3,855 U.S. hospitals between 2015 and 2018.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 18 February 2020 09:33
Anal cancer rates and deaths are climbing in the US, study says Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Tuesday, 19 November 2019 00:00

Kristen Rogers
reports for CNN on Nov. 19, 2019:

Anal cancer cases and deaths are rising dramatically in the United States, especially among older people and young black men, a new study says. Researchers examined trends in anal cancer cases over about 15 years, and identified about 69,000 cases of anal cancer and more than 12,000 deaths during this time.

"Our findings of the dramatic rise in incidence among black millennials and white women, rising rates of distant-stage disease, and increases in anal cancer mortality rates are very concerning," the study's lead author, Ashish A. Deshmukh, an assistant professor at UTHealth School of Public Health, said in a statement. "Given the historical perception that anal cancer is rare, it is often neglected."

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 20 November 2019 09:11
The Med Mal Insurance Storm of 2020 Print E-mail
Written by Julie Danna   
Saturday, 16 November 2019 12:24

I was living in Panama City, FL when Hurricane Michael pretty much destroyed the community. It was a storm that hit the Panhandle so quickly that we barely had time to prepare. This experience made me reflect back to the medical malpractice insurance crisis that hit Florida back in the late 1990s early 2000s. It was harsh and destructive. I remember going to many town hall meetings with my partner Matt Gracey where we'd listen to stories and pleas of desperate physicians and surgeons begging for help. How the carriers either pulled out of Florida or made it so hard for us to find coverage that our clients and prospects could afford. Now I go to work each day knowing that we are about to revert back to those days and I can't help but wonder if it will be as quick as Hurricane Michael and will the healthcare providers and facilitates be prepared?

Last Updated on Friday, 31 January 2020 18:37
MedPAC: Lack of site-neutral payments driving physician-hospital mergers Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Tuesday, 12 November 2019 17:46

Robert King reports for Fierce Healthcare on Nov. 7:
Medicare's payment policy is a major driver of physicians linking up with hospitals, a trend that is raising costs for beneficiaries, new data show. The data from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission examined the rate of consolidation and the reasons behind it. The findings released during MedPAC's meeting Thursday will be part of a report that was requested by Congress in 2018 on physician and hospital consolidation. Since 2012, billing under Medicare has shifted from physician offices to hospital outpatient clinics. For instance, physician offices saw a 16% decline in service volume of chemotherapy administration from 2012 to 2018. But hospital outpatient departments saw an increase of 52%, according to MedPAC's analysis of Medicare claims. 
A big incentive for a hospital to acquire a physician practice is that "the physician's office becomes a 'hospital outpatient facility' and the billing rates for all visits and procedures double or triple," states David Fater, CEO at ALDA and Associates Internationalin Boca Raton. A hospital typically loses $100,000 per physician, per year after an acquisition, according to Mr. Fater. But collecting the hospital outpatient facility fees more than makes up for the losses. This is bad news for a healthcare system struggling to contain costs. Physicians can end up on the short end as well. "The physician's income does not necessarily increase as a result of this," states Mr. Fater. "In fact, in many cases it goes down since the physician is now an employee of the hospital. In many instances after five years, the physician has had enough and terminates the relationship out of frustration and has to start over building his/her practice from scratch."
If the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) adopted site-neutral payments between hospital and physician offices, then it could reduce the incentive for such mergers. Hospitals will argue that consolidation will provide greater efficiencies and lower costs. Furthermore, the hospitals maintain that the extra fees are meant to cover hospitals for overhead that a freestanding physician's office does not carry.

Last Updated on Saturday, 04 January 2020 15:54
VIP treatment for children with special medical needs Print E-mail
Written by FHInews   
Thursday, 07 November 2019 11:55

Palm Beach County based PPEC provider delivers

Launched in September 2014 by Susie Mantilla and John Lage, VIP Kidz is a place where medically involved children may attend Monday through Friday for up to 12 hours a day with a physician’s prescription and provides skilled nursing, therapy intervention, as well as educational and recreational activities. Based in Palm Beach County, VIP Kidz is focused on providing services for children from birth to 21 years of age with special medical needs who require skilled nursing care whether it is intermittent, short or long term.  VIP Kidz, is licensed by the State of Florida as a Prescribed Pediatric Extended Care Center (PPEC) and is a fully insured facility.

"We wanted to create a colorful and vibrant place with compassionate medical staff as well as interactive with the children attending the facility," states Ms. Mantilla.

At each location, children are placed into rooms according to age and developmental levels. The West Palm Beach location has expanded to 10,000 square feet. The Loxahatchee Grove location is nearly 6,000 square feet. Toys, activities and therapy materials are chosen according to their cognitive levels. The social activities are especially popular and include carnival theme days, birthday parties and an annual Mother’s Day lunch - just to  mention a few.

"But happiness and love is what abounds throughout the facilities," according to Mr. Lage. “Projecting love  to all our children through our center is the major fiber of our philosophy.”

Apparently the formula is working. In just five short years, VIP Kidz has grown to two locations: Loxahatchee and West Palm Beach and has the capacity to serve 128 children. Each location provides on-site occupational therapy, physical therapy and speech therapy. These therapies are provided by skilled, pediatric trained clinicians. VIP Kidz also provides after school care and transportation throughout Palm Beach County. Meanwhile, expansion is in the works at both locations in order to have a fully equipped sensory room.

The team has grown too. In addition to the owners, The VIP Kidz team now includes a Medical Director, a Director of Nursing, a Family Resource Specialist, several Nurses, a Doctor of Physical Therapy, an Occupational Therapist, a Speech Therapist, EMT/Paramedics, Care Assistants, an Office Manager and a Director of Transportation. 

"It truly takes everyone to make the centers work seamlessly," states Ms. Mantilla. "It takes a village to raise a child."

The teams also works tirelessly to get the word out in  the community about the services VIP Kidz provides. New enrollees are referred to the centers through a multiplicity of avenues and include primary care physician, neurologists, pulmonologists, endocrinologists, cardiologists and gastroenterologists. In addition, hospitals also refer patients as early as birth who can benefit from the services offered. It's the 21st century so the organization's website, Instagram and Facebook are also a referral source for VIP Kidz. Certain non-profit organizations also send patients to the facility. That said, "Word of mouth through satisfied parents are our best referral source," states Mr. Lage.

VIP Kidz works with all insurances to accept children who require these services. Medicaid covers PPEC services as well as transportation services 100% in order to ensure the children can access the center for the care they need.

"God inspired us to create this," asserts Ms. Mantilla. "We are honored and feel blessed to have this opportunity to serve."

To learn more, please visit
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