- Legislation that requires hospice facilities to be inspected at least every three years cleared the U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate last week. Previously, inspections could take place as infrequently as every eight years, according to the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, which pushed for the legislation. A 2007 report by HHS' inspector general's office called for establishing federal guidelines that would dictate how frequently hospice facilities should be certified. The bill, known as the Improving Medicare Post-Acute Care Transformation Act of 2014, was sponsored by Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee.
Legislation requires hospice inspection every three years, and other briefs
- Newly enrolled Medicaid beneficiaries are receiving little to no guidance from states or managed-care plans regarding the scope of services they're eligible to receive, according to focus group findings prepared for the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission. As of August, 7.2 million people had signed up for Medicaid or the Children's Health Insurance Program since the insurance exchanges opened last October, according to the CMS.
- President Obama last Thursday signed an executive order directing the formation of a task force led jointly by the secretaries of Agriculture, Defense and HHS to carry out priorities detailed in the administration's new National Strategy on Combating Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria, also released last Thursday. The key goals of the strategy over the next five years include improving stewardship of existing antibiotics, devising methods to accelerate the development of new antibiotics, and strengthening the country's ability to detect resistant-bacteria infection outbreaks. An action plan is due from the task force by Feb. 15. As an added incentive, the Obama administration plans to award a $20 million prize for the development of rapid diagnostic tests for health providers to identify highly resistant bacterial infections at the point of care.
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