Hospital Study Finds Medicaid Expansion Would Have Multiple Benefits

More food for thought as Governor Tom Corbett prepares to meet next week (April 2nd) with the U. S. Secretary of Health and Human Services to discuss Medicaid expansion.  The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania has released a study that shows expanding Medicaid coverage in Pennsylvania will boost economic activity by at least 3.2 billion a year while reducing the state’s uninsured rate from over 12 percent to around 5%.

Paula Bussard, Vice President of Policy and Regulatory Services, says the positive effects would outweigh additional costs.  She says the argument against expansion may not have considered all of the economic benefits, including a reduction in the costs of uncompensated care.  But the study conducted by RAND Health indicates the benefits would have a long term cost with uneven regional results.

Governor Corbett has rejected the expansion so far over concerns about the additional costs to Pennsylvania, but he has left the door open if the state is granted some flexibility by the federal government in managing the program.

Bussard says there are a number of options the state could seek, including the ability to keep children on CHIP, the Children’s Health Improvement Program., as opposed to transferring them into Medicaid.


New PHC4 Report Shows Hospital Acquired Infections Continue to Decline

A new report from the Pennsylvania Health Care Cost Containment Council shows the number of hospital acquired infections and deaths continued to decline in 2010.   The infection rate declined by nearly 6% and the death rate was down over 3 percent in 2010.

People with hospital acquired infections are still readmitted at a higher rate for complications than people who do not get infections.  But Roger Baumgarten, communications director of the Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania, says they are pleased with the report. He says it gets them closer to the goal of eliminating hospital acquired infections.

Baumgarten says the numbers are going in the right direction. He says hospitals are learning more each year and the medical field is learning more  about how infections are transmitted.

He says the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has a network that allows hospitals to report infections.  He says the data is used by the PHC4, the Department of Health and the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority to continue helping hospitals improve their infection numbers. 

Baumgarten says Pennsylvania was the first state to implement a reporting system and has many programs in place to address hospital acquired infections.  He says prevention is a matter of hospital best practices and patient education.

The most common infections are surgery site and urinary tract infections.