Editor’s note: Each Wednesday, Talk Business & Politics provides “Health Beat,” a round-up health-related topics.
NONPROFIT HOSPITAL PERFORMANCE TO DECLINE IN FUTURE DUE TO HEALTHCARE REFORM, FITCH RATINGS SAY
The nonprofit hospital and health care sector’s median operating performance for fiscal 2015 improved across the board. However, operating performance for the sector is expected to be more volatile in fiscal 2016 and beyond as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) further implements value-based reimbursement models and overall reimbursement rates compress, Fitch Ratings forecasted.
The rise in margins is based on improved cost efficiencies, higher numbers of patients with insurance coverage, and greater focus on revenue cycle improvement and fee collections. The sector is also increasing both clinical and nonclinical efficiencies.
Despite growth in the number of high-deductible health plans, management teams have become more adept at managing increased seasonality of patient volumes. In addition, Fitch said deferred pressures from healthcare reform will emerge.
“Operating performance is more likely to be challenged in 2016 and beyond due to labor and wage pressures for clinical staff, as well as the increasing need to employ and/or align clinicians to meet the requirements of population health management,” the Chicago-based credit ratings service said.
CDC: FALLS ARE TOP CAUSE OF INJURY, DEATH AMONG OLDER ADULTS
Every second of every day in the United States an older adult falls, making falls the number one cause of injuries and deaths from injury among older Americans. In 2014 alone, older Americans experienced 29 million falls causing seven million injuries and costing an estimated $31 billion in annual Medicare costs, according to a new report published by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new numbers are being released in conjunction with the 9th Falls Prevention Awareness Day, sponsored by the National Council on Aging (NCOA). The observance addresses the growing public health issue and promotes evidence-based prevention programs and strategies to reduce the more than 27,000 fall deaths in older adults each year.
With more than 10,000 older Americans turning 65 each day, the number of fall-related injuries and deaths is expected to surge, resulting in cost increases unless preventive measures are taken. For more information about Administration on Community Living falls prevention programs, click here.
HHS RELEASES 50-YEAR PROGRESS REPORT SINCE ‘WAR ON POVERTY’ BEGAN UNDER PRESIDENT JOHNSON IN 1964
The Department of Health and Human Services is releasing a report demonstrating the increasing impact of safety net programs in lifting families and children out of poverty, while also documenting the need for more progress.
The report shows that the programs started as part of President Johnson’s War on Poverty, together with safety net programs introduced later, substantially reduce the level of poverty in the United States by providing food and housing assistance, child support for families, health care coverage, direct economic support, and benefits that enable work.
Among the findings, the report shows that the share of Americans lifted out of poverty each year by government programs and policies has increased tenfold since the 1960s.