New Website to Post Payments to Doctors From Health Industry

By Ankita Rao, Kaiser Health News Blog For the first time, the government will make information about financial relationships between doctors, teaching hospitals and drug manufacturers publicly available. To comply with a provision in the Affordable Care Act, drug and device manufacturers, along with group purchasing organizations, will have to disclose all of their payments and other compensation to physicians and teaching hospitals. Those who don’t comply could be fined. The information will be gathered beginning in August and disclosed by Sept. 30, …

Do Medicare Advantage Plans Skim Off The Healthiest?

By Jordan Rau, Senior Correspondent, Kaiser Health News New research finds that many seniors who switch from their HMO-style Medicare Advantage plan to traditional Medicare have higher levels of significant health problems, fueling concerns that the private plans cater to more profitable, healthy beneficiaries but don’t provide the most attractive care for the very ill. More than 13 million people, a quarter of all Medicare beneficiaries, are enrolled in these private plans. Enrollment has been growing, in part because the …

Nursing Homes Overbilled Medicare By $1.5 Billion, Feds Say

By Jenni Bergal, Kaiser Health News At a time when the nursing home industry is lobbying Congress to avoid cuts in Medicare payments, a federal watchdog agency is reporting that taxpayers overpaid nursing homes $1.5 billion. The study released this week by the inspector general’s office of the Department of Health and Human Services concluded that nursing homes billed about a quarter of claims incorrectly in 2009 – the year it studied. Most of those claims were “upcoded,” which means …

Medicare Trying to Nudge Seniors Out of Plans With Low Ratings

By Susan Jaffe for Kaiser Health News, in collaboration with USA Today Medicare officials are trying a novel approach during this open enrollment season to gently nudge a half million beneficiaries out of 26 private drug and medical plans that have performed poorly over the past three years. It begins with letters informing seniors they are enrolled in a plan that received low ratings. “We encourage you to compare this plan to other options in your area and decide if …

The Takeaway: Nursing Home Care Improving-Mostly

Nursing home care in the United States is improving … except where it’s worst. An analysis of federal nursing home ratings by USA Today found that as most nursing homes improved, those given the lowest, one-star rating didn’t improve at all over the past three years.