Washington Health Policy Week in Review

Washington Health Policy Week in Review is a weekly newsletter that offers selected stories from the daily newsletter CQ HealthBeat.

AMA, AARP Take Aim at Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans

The American Medical Association and AARP are continuing their campaign to convince Congress to cut Medicare Advantage payments, holding a briefing highlighting problems with Medicare private fee-for-service plans in rural America.

CMS Predicts $4 Billion Returned from Medicare Drug Plans

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) anticipates that the agency will collect $4 billion from Medicare Part D drug plan sponsors due to lower-than-expected drug costs in 2006, the first year of the Medicare drug program.

Errant Medicare Advantage Plans Struggled with Appeals Mechanism

Medicare Advantage plans slapped with "corrective action plans" because of rules violations have had difficulty meeting requirements for marketing, appeals, and grievance procedures and for giving proper notice that they are terminating hospital and other provider services, according to an analysis by the Gorman Health Group consulting firm.

Lucian Leape Discusses Steps to Achieve Flawless Patient Care

Team training, the use of trigger tools, and effective accountability systems are keys to attaining flawless patient care--and more people are recognizing this, according to Lucian Leape, one of the nation's leading figures in patient safety and an adjunct professor of health policy at the Harvard School of Public Health.

Medicaid Enrollment Drop Tied to Citizenship Documentation Rules

Enrollment in the Medicaid program dropped 0.5 percent in fiscal 2007, mainly because of an improving economy and new requirements to document citizenship, according to a survey of 50 state Medicaid programs. The authors of the study said they could not tell which of the two factors had the greater impact on enrollment, but said the new documentation rules were most often cited by state Medicaid directors as the reason for the decline--the first in nearly a decade.

Medicare Part B Monthly Premiums May Hit $100

The announcement by Medicare that 2008 monthly premiums for doctor and other Part B services would rise by their smallest amount since 2001 overlooked the likelihood of physician payment revisions later this year that could bring the premiums up to about $100.