Contracting News

Hinton named chair-elect designate of AHA for 2014
American Hospital Association (AHA) (Chicago, IL) named James Hinton as its new chair-elect designate for 2014. Hinton currently serves as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services (Albuquerque, NM), a post he’s held since 1995. Hinton will assume the title from Dr. Benjamin Chu, president of Kaiser Permanente Southern California Region (Pasadena, CA). Chu will take over as board chair in January 2013 and replace Teri Fontenot, president and CEO of Woman’s Hospital (Baton Rouge, LA), who is now serving as chairperson.

Three healthcare organizations select Paragon HIS
Pacific Health Corp (Tustin, CA) selected the Paragon hospital information system (HIS) from McKesson Corp (San Francisco, CA) for its four hospitals. Hospital leaders cited the depth and breadth of Paragon’s fully integrated financial and clinical system, as well as lower total cost of ownership as the reasons for choosing Paragon. Physicians for Healthy Hospitals (PHH) (Hemet, CA) also selected Paragon to support multiple facilities cost-effectively. PHH will use Paragon HIS on its path to meaningful use and beyond without the need to employ a team of consultants. Optim Orthopedics (Statesboro, GA), a multi-facility orthopedic specialty system, expects Paragon to enable the sharing of clinical and financial information across its facilities and offer a consolidated view of its performance.

Proposed bill would cut public health funding, end AHRQ
A drafted budget bill for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) (Washington, DC) proposes to cut public health funding and end the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) (Rockville, MD). The legislation provides $68.3 billion for HHS in 2013 and defunds the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The bill also aims to terminate the AHRQ effective October 1, 2013. The measure still requires approval from the full committee. Among other endeavors, AHRQ funds support University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center’s (Albuquerque, NM) Project ECHO, which remotely connects urban medical center disease experts with rural general practitioners and community health workers to care for the chronically ill; and Boston Medical Center’s (Boston, MA) Project RED, which has re-engineered workflows to improve patient safety and decrease readmissions. The American Public Health Association (Washington, DC) was critical of the legislation and its cuts to programs that include HRSA (Health Resources and Services Administration) (Rockville, MD) and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) (Rockville, MD).

Medicare announces 89 new ACOs opened for business as of July 1, 2012
CMS (Baltimore, MD) announced that 89 Accountable Care Organizations opened for business on July 1, 2012 in 40 states and Washington, DC and will serve 1.2 million Medicare beneficiaries. Another 400 provider groups have filed notice that they will apply to be in the next wave of shared savings ACOs that become operational on Jan. 1, 2013. With the 89, this brings to 154 the total number of provider groups in the voluntary Medicare shared savings initiatives. That includes 32 ACOs in the Pioneer ACO Model named in December 2011 by CMS, and six Physician Group Practice Transition Demonstration organizations that began in January 2011. By some projections, these initiatives could save the Medicare trust fund up to $940 million over four years. The 89 new ACOs were selected from an applicant pool of more than 150 providers. From here forward, ACO applications will be accepted annually.