Over 30 million people will gain coverage, and health spending will grow slightly faster than projected under prior law — at an annual rate of 6.3 percent, rather than 6.1 percent, a Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) report said. The government report, appearing in the Journal of Health Affairs, by the office of the chief Medicare actuary, undermines the claims of the law’s fiercest critics and some of its biggest champions.
Last year, on October 1, 2008, Medicare adopted a policy that refuses to pay hospitals' extra costs to treat 10 hospital-acquired infections and injuries, with the goal of cutting costs and saving lives. In a recent study, the Wall Street Journal reports that the government will not be saving much from this year-old policy.
A public-private alliance known as the Commercial Aviation Safety Team (CAST) is noted as having greatly improved aviation safety. A similar alliance among health care stakeholders could reduce medication and device errors and wrong-site surgeries, renowned patient safety expert Peter Pronovost and coauthors say in an article published April 7 on the Health Affairs Web site (subscription required). Pronovost is a professor in the Department of Anesthesiology and Critical Care Medicine at the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.
A study in the November/ December Health Affairsshows that although many quality reporting services, often in the form of Web sites, have been established to help consumers choose a hospital based on quality measures, they all use different metrics and rankings to determine quality, reports American Medical News. The study compared the quality rankings of nine Boston-area hospitals from five different quality ranking Web sites: HealthGrades, Medicare's Hospital Compare, the Leapfrog Group, U.S. News & World Report's "America's Best Hospitals," and Massachusetts Healthcare Quality and Cost.