Rural hospitals support wage index reform

From Modern Healthcare:

Hospital and health system executives and practitioners were largely supportive of the CMS’ proposed changes to the wage index that they say has disproportionately impacted rural providers.

Hospital presidents and concerned employees, predominantly from rural areas, claim in some of more than 2,000 public comments that the “fundamentally flawed” system the CMS uses to set hospital payments has led to hospital closures. They hope that the agency’s plan in October to raise the index for low-wage hospitals at the expense of decreasing it for high-wage hospitals will close a wide payment disparity.

North Carolina rural hospitals loan program passes Senate

From the AP:

Struggling North Carolina rural hospitals could get taxpayer-funded loans to help them stay open while they downsize or reshape services in legislation getting bipartisan support in the state Senate.

The chamber voted overwhelmingly on Tuesday for the measure that would create a Rural Health Care Stabilization Fund.

Telemedicine makes slow progress in bridging urban, rural counties

From Journal Now:

Telemedicine services have grown in North Carolina, in large part through partnerships with urban health-care systems, such as Novant Health Inc. and Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, and rural hospitals.

Those services typically include: emergency care or behavioral health services to a patient via video conference; monitoring a patient’s blood pressure or medication adherence remotely; providing consultation to another physician on a difficult or rarely seen condition.

However, DHHS said more than 250,000 N.C. households, including many within the Appalachian region, cannot access these services because they lack broadband infrastructure and the technology and tools to use it.

The Triad and North Carolina have been successful in attracting federal and state grants aimed at improving telehealth technology.

However, progress has been limited in the state legislature by the Senate’s reluctance to vote on telemedicine funding bills that have had overwhelming bipartisan support in the House.

Rate of Pediatric Emergency Department Use After ACA Implementation

From Medical Bag:

An analysis of pediatric emergency department visits indicates that implementation of the Affordable Care Act did not change the rate of these visits, and the increase in visits was independent of insurance coverage, according to a study published in Pediatrics.

In this cross-sectional, retrospective study, demographic and census data were obtained from the American Community Survey and information on emergency department visits was obtained from the Nationwide Emergency Department Sample. The Affordable Care Act became fully implemented in 2014, so that year was used as the cut-off point.

In 2013, the pediatric uninsurance rate was 7.1% and fell to 4.5% in 2016. The number of pediatric emergency department visits was 129,899,936 between 2009 and 2013 and 80,602,176 between 2014 and 2016. The rate of emergency department visits in 2009 was not significantly different from the rate in 2014 (incidence rate ratio [IRR], 0.97; 95% CI, 0.85-1.12; P =.71).

Patients less likely to recognize women as attending physicians

From Becker’s:

Female attending physicians are less likely to be recognized as physicians than their male counterparts, signaling that gender bias is still pervasive in the healthcare industry, according to a study published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

For the study, researchers surveyed 150 adult patients at an urban teaching hospital in Miami Beach, Fla., after encounters with a nurse, resident or attending physician in the emergency department. The survey asked patients to identify the role of healthcare professionals on their care team.

Overall, patients correctly identified male residents or attendings as physicians 76 percent of the time, compared to 71 percent for female residents and attendings.

However, correct recognition of female attending physicians was far lower (58.1 percent) than that of male attending physicians (75.7 percent).

American Medical Students Less Likely To Choose To Become Primary Care Doctors

From Kaiser Health News:

Despite hospital systems and health officials calling out the need for more primary care doctors, graduates of U.S. medical schools are becoming less likely to choose to specialize in one of those fields.

A record-high number of primary care positions was offered in the 2019 National Resident Matching Program — known to doctors as “the Match.” It determines where a medical student will study in their chosen specialty after graduation. But this year, the percentage of primary care positions filled by fourth-year medical students was the lowest on record.

50 states ranked by amount of rural health clinics

From Becker’s:

Missouri contains the most Medicare-certified rural health clinics in the U.S. with 369 clinics, according to a ranking from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

The ranking is based on 2018 data from CMS’ Certification and Survey Provider Enhanced Reporting database.

In total, there are 4,528 Medicare-certified rural health clinics in the U.S., according to the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Here’s how each state stacks up:

Note: The list includes ties and results in a numerical listing of 45.

1. Missouri — 369 Medicare-certified rural health clinics
2. Texas — 306
3. California — 282
4. Kentucky — 250
5. Illinois — 241
6. Iowa — 190