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 .   If you have any questions or need help drafting your letter please contact Erin Mahn Zumbrun at or Diane Calmus at 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.


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

How telemedicine is transforming health care

From Fox News Health:

After years of big promises, telemedicine is finally living up to its potential.

Driven by faster internet connections, ubiquitous smartphones and changing insurance standards, more health providers are turning to electronic communications to do their jobs—and it’s upending the delivery of health care.

Doctors are linking up with patients by phone, email and webcam. They’re also consulting with each other electronically—sometimes to make split-second decisions on heart attacks and strokes. Patients, meanwhile, are using new devices to relay their blood pressure, heart rate and other vital signs to their doctors so they can manage chronic conditions at home.

MedyMatch, Capital Health to develop artificial intelligence for the emergency room

From Fierce Medical Devices:

Stealthy MedyMatch emerged in February with plans to improve emergency room care using cognitive analysis and artificial intelligence. Now, in its first collaboration with a U.S. hospital, the company is developing its first real-time decision-support tool using data from New Jersey-based Capital Health.

Under the agreement, Capital Health will supply Israel-based MedyMatch with anonymized data to help it develop the tool, which will target stroke patients. It will analyze medical images and provide the ER radiologist with information to help him or her determine the course of treatment. It combines “deep vision, advanced cognitive analytics and artificial intelligence” to analyze images and identify anomalies that may be invisible to the human eye. The company plans to partner with several more U.S. hospitals to improve stroke patient outcomes.

Six California hospitals collaborate to improve ED care for patients

From Becker’s:

Six hospitals located in the eastern region of the San Francisco Bay Area, also known as the East Bay, have created a care collaborative to harnesses emergency department data to improve care for the area’s sickest and most vulnerable patients.

Ultimately, the goal of the initiative is to facilitate collaborative, cost-effective treatment for patients who turn to EDs as the first point of care, sometimes as frequently as three times per week or more. As part of the collaborative, these hospitals have agreed to use a secure data system to share patient health records, care plans and other important care information between EDs in real time.