Volume IV, Issue 21

May 22, 2017
New Senate bill aims to boost Medicaid addiction treatment access
Maria Castellucci, in a May 18, 2017 Modern Healthcare post , reports (login/complimentary subscription required) :

A bipartisan group of <U.S.> senators on Wednesday introduced a bill that would allow more substance abuse treatment center to receive  Medicaid payments.

According to the author:

The legislation would enable treatment facilities with up to 40 beds to be reimbursed by Medicaid for 60 consecutive days of inpatient services. If passed, the bill would modify the  Medicaid Institutions for Mental Disease law, which currently only allows Medicaid coverage for facilities with less than 16 beds... This law, which was enacted in 1965, was intended to discourage the long-term institutionalization of those with mental illness. But the  Senate sponsors of the bill say the rule is now an outdated barrier to treatment.
Study: Physician Shortage May Not Exist
An article posted to JAMA on 5.16.17, entitled Reassessing the Data on Whether a Physician Shortage Exists and authored by Emily Gudbranson, BA, Aaron Glickman, BA and Ezekiel J. Emanuel, MD, PhD, details the prevailing belief that the country has a shortage of doctors:

For decades, experts have bemoaned a lack of sufficient primary care physicians in the United States. These fears came to a head during debate over the  Affordable Care Act (ACA), when critics suggested that the millions of U.S. residents gaining coverage under the ACA would further exacerbate the existing physician shortage. A 2011  American College of Surgeons report asserted that "even before [this] health care reform, the nation was headed for serious physician shortages and reform has only made it worse." According to the updated report of the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), released March 14, 2017, the AAMC still predicts a shortage of between 40,800 to 104,900 physicians by 2030.

Their research calls into question the conventional wisdom that the U.S. faces a physician shortage. "Does the United States have enough physicians?-Yes," according to the article's authors.
Physician-owned hospital bill introduced in Senate
According to a press release posted to Lankford.Senate.gov on 5.16.17:

Senator  James Lankford (R-OK) today released the
Patient Access to Higher Quality Health Care Act of 2017, which lifts the ban on the creation and expansion of physician-owned hospitals and allows these hospitals to participate in  Medicare and  Medicaid .

According to the press release:

Seventy-five percent of all physician-owned hospitals have earned three or more stars in  CMS Hospital Stars Program ; 40 percent of them have earned five stars. Seven of the top 10 hospitals receiving quality bonuses in the new federal  Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program in 2015 were physician-owned hospitals.



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