Improving physician behavior probably ranks somewhat lower on hospital priority lists these days than getting ready to avoid penalties for early readmissions, which are mandated by the Affordable Care Act. A study by IMA Consulting says that many hospitals are still not prepared to deal with this. The study cites the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services in stating that “nearly half of all general acute care hospitals are at risk of payment reductions.” The penalties are slated to go into effect Oct. 1.
The Supreme Court’s upholding of health reform ensures, at least until November, that adults up to age 26 may stay on their parents’ policies. But UnitedHealthcare, Humana, and Aetna weren’t taking any chances. Before the ruling, they said that they would continue the policy no matter what happens with health reform.
States’ Medicaid ACO efforts are at an early stage, as officials grapple with “relatively lengthy planning and implementation processes,” says an issue paper by the Kaiser Family Foundation. “While Medicaid ACOs are a strategy to more directly engage providers and provider communities in improving care, cost-containment is also a significant motivating factor for many states.”