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Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS)

Latest Headlines

Latest Headlines

Senator questions CMS on King-Harbor

High-profile troubles at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital are bringing the wrath of Congress down on CMS. Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) has written a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Leslie Norwalk demanding to know how CMS will make sure that the hospital meets Medicare standards in the future. The facility, formerly known as King-Drew, has faced scrutiny over alleged care lapses for some time now. In its prior incarnation as King-Drew, the hospital had lost …

SPOTLIGHT: Closing troubled LA hospital isn't the answer

Operational problems at Los Angeles-based Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital--some of which seem to have led to the death of a patient in its emergency department lobby--have grabbed national headlines of late. Without a doubt, the hospital faces some substantial obstacles. But closing the facility could create worse problems for the city's poor, suggests Thomas Scully, a former CMS administrator who previously helped the city with a $1.8 billion health system bailout. Editorial

King-Harbor ousts medical chief, considers closure

The fallout continued this week at Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which is struggling to cope with entrenched management and personnel problems. This week, the hospital's chief medical officer was replaced, following the highly-publicized death of a patient waiting for attention in the hospital's ED. Dr. Roger Peeks, who was brought in to overhaul the troubled hospital's medical operations, has been placed on "ordered absence" by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors and …

Study: Uninsured cancer patients diagnosed later

Even when other factors like age and gender are factored out, it seems that under- and uninsured patients with cancer are likely to be diagnosed at a later stage in their disease than patients with private insurance, according to a new pair of studies published in the journal Cancer. The studies, which looked at the breast cancer and oral cancer, found that the availability and type of health insurance could predict the severity of the illness at the point when it was diagnosed. …

Bill would open Medicare data to research

A bill making the rounds in the U.S. Senate would open up Medicare data to private organizations that want to use it for research and analysis. The bill, sponsored by Sens. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and Judd Gregg (R-NJ), would make claims, enrollment, survey, assessment and other available to private groups hoping to measure care quality, efficiency and effectiveness. Other stakeholders would then have the right to request reports from the research organizations. The research organizations …

King-Harbor could lose federal funding after ED crisis

CMS has run out of patience with Martin Luther King Jr.-Harbor Hospital, which it says has put emergency room patients in "immediate jeopardy" of harm or death. The hospital, formerly known as King/Drew, was already on bad terms with CMS, which had threatened to take away the hospital's federal funding certification after serious care problems emerged. This is part of a larger pattern for King-Harbor, which has been cited more than a dozen times for care problems over the past three and a …

Feds study care effectiveness, practice patterns

The House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee is holding a hearing next week on the need to study variations in care practices. The stated purpose of the hearing is to consider funding new research on the comparative effectiveness of various treatments and procedures paid for under Medicare. However, such research would doubtless be used aggressively by private health plans, which are equally interested in seeing that their reimbursement policies make sense. Rep. Pete Stark (D), who chairs …

AMA fights physician Medicare cuts

The American Medical Association has begun its latest no-holds-barred campaign to make Congress cancel a scheduled Medicare reimbursement cut. As part of its campaign, AMA is publicizing the results of its survey of 9,000 physicians, which found that more than half would to limit the number of Medicare patients they accept if the planned 10 percent cut is implemented. (Sure, there's a bit of grandstanding going on here--but the pain is real, too.) Patients aren't the only ones who would …

Study:Medicare P4P doesn't boost hospital quality

While Medicare's new pay-for-performance program may have some effect on hospital quality, the financial incentives don't have any bigger impact than a hospital's voluntary improvement efforts, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association. The study, which looked at data from 54 hospitals in the Medicare P4P program, found that most improved on some important criteria during the test, for example by prescribing aspirin more frequently for …

Humana fights for VA medical dollars

It may be starting as a small division, but it could become something big quickly. Hoping to get its piece of the agency's massive budget, Humana has created a unit which will help the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs care for veterans who are eligible for its benefits. Humana already gets roughly three quarters of its premium revenue from government sources, largely from CMS. Now it wants more government income. To jump start the new division, Humana Veterans Healthcare Services, it …