March 11, 2024
Providers | Tea Leaves
  • Medically complex older patients who received care through a provider’s hospital-at-home program had “low” rates of mortality and readmission, according to recently published research data. The national review of thousands of Medicare fee-for-service Part A claims was headed by researchers from Harvard Medical School and Mass General Brigham (MGB), the latter of which has been all-in on growing its own hospital-at-home program. MGB and other proponents of the care model have pointed to the reduced costs and warm reception from patients as reasons for the government to make its Acute Hospital Care at Home Waiver permanent, which is set to expire at the end of the year. (Article here)
  • CVS is shutting down dozens of pharmacies inside Target stores with closures starting in February. The closings are part of CVS’ plan to “realign our national retail footprint and reduce store and pharmacy density,” company spokesperson Amy Thibault said. The closings are based on the company’s “evaluation of changes in population, consumer buying patterns, and future health needs to ensure we have the right pharmacy format in the right locations for patients,” Thibault said. Pharmacy chains have struggled to boost profits in recent years, squeezed by drug pricing and lower foot traffic as the pandemic waned. Last year CVS said it would cut costs and thousands of jobs as it remakes its business as a healthcare-service company. (Articles here and here)
  • Congress should raise Medicare payments for doctors and hospitals and give additional pay increases to safety-net providers next year, independent advisers to Congress recommended Thursday. The recommendations from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC) come as doctors urge Congress to reverse a 3.4 percent cut to their 2024 Medicare rates, which they say will make it harder to practice medicine. MedPAC members voted to recommend a 1.3 percent increase to the scheduled Medicare rates for doctors and other providers paid through the physician fee schedule in 2025, which is half of the projected increase in inflation for medical practice costs. (Article here)