VA outreach program spends millions to advertise on Facebook; Hospital Compare website could go to a star-based rankings system;

News From Around the Web

> "Make the Connection," an outreach campaign developed by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs to help returning veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder locate VA services, spent $2 million on Facebook advertising last year, Nextgov reports. The campaign plans to spend $1 million on advertising on the social networking site this year, as well. Article

Health Finance News

> Hospitals are lobbying Congress to maintain the current federally-based mortgage insurance system for inpatient facilities. According to a letter that American Hospital Association Executive Vice President Rick Pollack sent to Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), chair of the House Financial Services Committee, the AHA opposes pending legislation in the House of Representatives that would repeal the Section 242 program, which has been in effect since 1968. The program has insured more than 400 hospital construction projects in 43 states over the past 45 years. Article

> Hospitals charge nearly four times, on average, what they accept as Medicare reimbursement, making it nearly impossible for patients to compare providers, according to a new study. In a blog post for Health Affairs, David Muhlestein, director of research at Leavitt Partners, reveals the conclusions of his study, which examined the characteristics of hospitals that have higher-than-average and lower-than-average charges compared with what they are actually reimbursed. Article

Provider News

> Hospitals may soon compete for coveted five-star ratings under a new Medicare proposal. The proposed rating system will be designed to make it easier for patients to compare hospitals against gold standards. The star ratings will appear on the Hospital Compare website and be based on some of the 100 quality measures already published by the agency. Article

And Finally… Um, no thanks. Article