CMS wants to hear from CAHs on proposal to change reimbursement from 101 to 100%

From the NRHA:

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid wants to hear from Critical Access Hospitals on the President’s budget proposal to change CAH reimbursement from 101 to 100 percent and what that would mean to your facility and your community.

NRHA has provided the below sample letter for your review, but please take the time to personalize the letter to tell CMS about your community! We need the CAH community to share with CMS the impact the reduction would have on the ability to provide care to your local community.

NRHA asks that you outline the following issues in your letter.

  • Financial Impact– how would this affect hospital operations and the bottom line?
  • Access to Healthcare for Rural Communities – What services would be eliminated?  Would residents have to drive for essential healthcare services? Which services would be the hardest to sustain?
  • Transformation of Care – Potential elimination of work and programs that CAHs have or in the process of implementing to move to value based care, integration of services and so forth.  Would you have to eliminate current efforts to implement care coordination or patient centered medical homes or shared services initiatives?
  •  Unique Circumstances in your Rural Community – would CAHs have to eliminate community based programs that address population needs?

Please send in your letter by June 30 to partnership@cms.hhs.gov .   If you have any questions or need help drafting your letter please contact Erin Mahn Zumbrun at emahn@nrharural.org or Diane Calmus at dcalmus@nrharural.org. We would also love to see your letters so we can use your stories in our continued efforts on the Hill to let Congress know what the rural health programs means to communities throughout rural America.

Second untreatable superbug infection in US identified by researchers

From Becker’s:

Researchers have identified a patient in New York infected with a strain of E. coli containing the mcr-1 gene, which makes the bacteria highly resistant to even last-resort antibiotic treatments, Reuters reports. This is the second U.S. patient with the untreatable superbug infection, following a Pennsylvania patient first made public last month.

CPR outcomes may be better with heavier rescuers

From Reuters:

The odds of surviving a cardiac arrest are higher if the rescuer performing CPR is heavier in weight and has upper body strength, researchers say.

“Our results confirm that the heaviest people perform CPR better than those who are underweight,” they report in the American Journal of Emergency Medicine.

Can smartphones help improve heart attack treatment?

From Reuters:

Smartphones, social media and crowdsourcing all have the potential to help people get faster, better treatment for heart attacks and strokes, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Because they’re so widely available, these tools might be able to address some of the biggest challenges in emergency cardiac care, like patients’ failure to recognize symptoms and bystanders’ inability to help at the scene, the AHA said in a scientific statement published in Circulation.

“Stroke and heart attack are time-critical – outcomes are directly related in many cases to how quickly a patient’s symptoms were recognized and addressed,” said coauthor Dr. Raina Merchant, of the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine in Philadelphia.

Digital tools can reduce the time it takes to get therapy started, Merchant added by email.

Getting overdose antidote with painkillers may cut ER visits

From KRON:

Overdoses don’t happen just to heroin addicts — patients who legally use strong painkillers called opioids are at risk in the nation’s epidemic, too. A new study says when patients were prescribed an overdose antidote along with those medications, they made fewer painkiller-related visits to the emergency room.

Hospitals and first responders have long used the antidote naloxone to revive people who’ve stopped breathing because of an opioid overdose. Increasingly, take-home doses also are given to friends or family of people struggling with substance abuse to keep on hand in case of emergency.

Monday’s study went a step further — to see if the take-home antidote idea also could work for patients with chronic pain who may not realize they could accidentally get into trouble with prescription painkillers such as Oxycontin, Vicodin and others.

Opioid Update: Painkiller Misuse in U.S. Doubled in Decade

From Health Day:

More bad news from the U.S. drug wars: Misuse of prescription opioid painkillers by American adults more than doubled from the early 2000s to 2013, a new government study says.

Rates of addiction to powerful painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin also swelled during that time, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

“The increasing misuse of prescription opioid pain relievers poses a myriad of serious public health consequences,” said Dr. Nora Volkow, director of the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse, which contributed funding for the study. These consequences range from addiction and overdose deaths to use of heroin, an illicit opioid, she said.

Opioid overdose deaths by state

From Becker’s:

Opioid abuse — which has spurred a 20-year high in heroin use in the U.S. — has become a significant cause of death nationwide.

The most recent opioid overdose data from 2014, published by the Kaiser Family Foundation, indicates the situation is especially grim in some states, such as Ohio, which led the country in opioid overdoses in 2014. However, the data also shows the problem is not limited to one geographic region — opioid abuse is truly a national public health issue. According to the data, the nation counted 28,647 lives lost to opioid overdoses in 2014, including overdoses from natural, semisynthetic and synthetic opioids, methadone and heroin.

(Excerpts)

1. Ohio — 2,106
5. Illinois — 1,205
31. Minnesota — 318
36. Kansas— 173
39. Iowa — 158