Good Medicine Doesn’t Always Taste Good

One of the first healthcare lessons we learn as children is that good medicine doesn’t necessarily taste good.  In fact, sometimes the best medicine tastes pretty bad. That lesson is brought to mind by last week’s Modern Healthcare article observing that many of CMS’s “five-star hospitals” scored low …

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New CMS Ruling on DSH Appeals for FY 2004 and Earlier

It’s a measure of the backlog in DSH (for Disproportionate Share Hospital) payment appeals that CMS is still issuing rulings for appeals applicable to treatment of patients before October 1, 2004. On April 24 CMS issued Ruling No. CMS-1498-R2, addressing the nettlesome issue of how to treat certain …

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The Enemy of My Enemy Is My Friend

We don’t normally think of American Hospital Association and the Federation of American Hospitals as friends.  After all, the AHA represents nonprofits, while the FAH represents for-profits.  But in recent days something has brought them together: their mutual opposition to the physician-owned hospitals’ …

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Black Tuesday Falls on a Friday for Nation’s Nursing Homes

If you think of CMS quality ratings as the Dow Jones index, then last Friday, February 20, was the equivalent of Black Tuesday, October 29, 1929, the day the stock market collapsed.  Why?  Because on February 20 quality rankings dropped for a whopping 63% of the nation’s nursing homes. Did care at …

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Ministry Motivation Costs Hospital $59 Million

Sometimes doing the right thing for the right reason can be costly.  Last week it cost nonprofit Via Christi Regional Medical Center $59 million. In 1995 two Wichita hospitals, St. Francis and St. Joseph, consolidated to create Via Christi.  For the two decades since then, Via Christi—as successor of St. …

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CMS Announces 20 Repairs to RAC Program

Ever face the choice between trading in your old car or paying for multiple repairs?  CMS faced that kind of choice with its Recovery Audit Contractor (RAC) program.  Under the RAC program, contract auditors audit hospitals and other providers.  Guess how they’re paid?  They get a percentage of all the money …

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