Feds ban Medicare Providers, Hospital Ratings Coming, “Value Index” proven ineffective

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Weekly Medicare Round-Up for July 26th

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For the first time in history the federal government has banned certain types of Medicare providers in some cities. All home healthcare agencies are banned in some areas of Miami-Dade county as well as the Chicagoland area. In addition, all ambulance companies have been banned in eight counties in the Houston area. These bans are designed to prevent fraudulent Medicare claims and make it impossible for these companies and agencies to access taxpayer money. Read the full story here.

Medicare is considering implementing a star rating system for hospitals, based upon over 100 metrics. These star ratings would make it easier for consumers to identify hospitals with high quality care vs. those who are in need of improvement. The ratings would appear on Medicare’s “hospital compare” website. Read more here.

The National Academy of Sciences has conducted a three year study showing adjustments to payments for healthcare providers in regions that provide high quality care at a lower cost would be a bad idea. The panel stated the value index would “reward inefficient providers in low-cost regions and punish more efficient providers in high-cost regions.” Read more here.