April 25, 2014
Health Reform and Related Health Policy News

Enrollment in Health Plans under ACA Exceeds Projected Number of 7 Million

The White House announced on April 1 that 7.1 million Americans had enrolled in health plans under the Affordable Care Act ("ACA"). This number of enrollees exceeds the number of enrollees congressional budget analysts had first projected under the law, which budget analysts had downgraded the projected enrollees from 7 million to 6 million after healthcare.gov suffered widely publicized difficulties this past Fall. [More ...]

Congress Passes "Doc Fix" Law; Extends "Two-Midnight" Rule
The United States Senate approved a bill on March 31 to extend the current Medicare physician payment rates for an additional year (H.R. 4302). [More ...]

HHS Announces Risk Assessment Tool to Health Care Providers
The federal Department of Health and Human Services ("HHS") has announced the availability of a risk assessment tool that health care providers may use to conduct self-assessments of their compliance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 ("HIPAA"). [More ...]

One in Twenty-Five Battling Hospital-Acquired Infections
According to a recent survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in twenty-five hospitalized patients, or four percent of all hospital patients, is suffering from an infection acquired in a hospital or healthcare facility. [More ...]

Report Illuminates Drastic Differences in Hospital Safety and Mortality 
Consumer Reports magazine released safety ratings of 2,591 hospitals on March 27. Its analysis of government data – acquired from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ("CMS") – on hospital safety was a function of readmissions, overuse of CT scans, hospital-acquired infections, communication (i.e., explaining medication doses after discharge), and mortality. [More ...]

Supreme Court Declines to Hear Contraception Cases 
The U.S. Supreme Court declined to grant review of two cases brought by Roman Catholic-affiliated nonprofit groups based in Washington, D.C., including Catholic University. [More ...]

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Discloses Medicare Payments to Physicians
On April 9, HHS revealed to the public for the first time how much Medicare pays individuals and doctors for different services and procedures, releasing information on more than 880,000 individual doctors and other health professionals in all fifty states who participate in Medicare's Part B fee-for-service program, which covers physician fees and outpatient services. [More ...]

Medicare Now Available to Same-Sex Married Couples 
HHS announced on April 3 the Social Security Administration is now able to process applications for Medicare Part A and Part B Special Enrollment Periods, and reductions in Part B and premium Part A late enrollment penalties, for individuals in same-sex marriages. [More ...]