According to a new World Health Organization (WHO) report, antibiotic-resistant bacteria now reach every part of the world, which could translate to more deaths from even minor infections. The WHO examined seven common bacteria that cause serious infections and found high levels of resistance all over the world. There was also significant gaps in tracking drug resistance.
Antibiotic resistance means that people can be sicker longer, with an increased risk of death, driving up the cost of healthcare.The WHO report also acknowledges the rise in deadly fungal infections.
The WHO recommends enhancing infection prevention and control at hospitals, prescribing antibiotics only when needed, and prescribing the correct antibiotics to treat illnesses.
According to long term care experts, skilled nursing providers remain confused about Medicare changes related to Jimmo v. Sebelius, and beneficiaries are not aware that their therapy may be eligible for coverage.
Under the Jimmo settlement, the CMS were required to distribute educational materials to skilled nursing providers. The CMS has recently posted online resources and updated the Medicare manual.
The Jimmo settlement requires Medicare to reimburse for medically necessary skilled care, even if it is only to maintain a patient’s condition. Before thesettlement, Medicare only covered skilled care if it could lead to the improvement of a beneficiary’s condition.
The Connecticut state House has given final approval to a bill that would give nurse practitioners (NPs) the ability to practice independently of doctors after they work at least three years in collaboration with a physician. The Malloy administration proposed the measure and is expected to sign it.
Currently, NPs can prescribe medication, treat patients, and run their own practice-if they have a collaborative agreement with a licensed physician. Supporters of the bill believe it is a feasible way to expand access to primary care, as demand is only expected to grow. Critics argue that the bill could lower the standard of care and that physicians have more extensive training, which better equips them to treat patients with complex health needs.
Figures show that Connecticut has a high supply of primary care doctors, but also an aging physician population.
According to CMS, providers will not have to wait much longer for the new ICD-10 implementation date. CMS is scheduled to perform limited end-to-end testing in July, but that date may change. The delay will give CMS “a more robust group of providers to test with because more providers will be ready to test.”
The Obama administration is making dramatic cuts to home health services for seniors, cutting reimbursements by 14% over the next four years. Critics argue that the cuts will shrink the health care sector and leave over a million seniors without access to health services. In addition, they argue that these deep Medicare cuts will impact home health professionals, the very people whom home health patients depend on. The administration has acknowledged that “approximately 40% of the more than 11,000 home health agencies would be losing money by 2017.” Currently, there are over 1.2 million Americans working in the home health sector, 90% of whom are women.
In Washington state, health insurers and hospitals have united to fight Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler about his proposed new rule for insurance-provider networks. Kreidler proposed the rule after hearing complaints that consumers were not prepared for the narrower networks in insurance plans offered under the ACA. These networks excluded some of Washington’s most prominent hospitals and medical centers, limiting consumers access to providers they expected to use.
The new rule will make it easier for consumers to find which hospital and providers are in the network for a plan they are considering buying. In addition, the rule has a number of requirements to ensure that networks have sufficient numbers and types of providers and facilities so that patients can access them without any delay.
Kreidler hopes to implement the rule as soon as this week to make the May 1 deadline for insurer plans for 2015 coverage. Insurers are complaining that they do not have enough time to comply; providers believe the rule adds costs with no gain in access to quality health care.