Archive for the ‘Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ Category

Guidelines for Safe Work Practices in Human and Animal Medical Diagnostic Laboratories

March 15, 2012 Comments off

Guidelines for Safe Work Practices in Human and Animal Medical Diagnostic Laboratories
Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Prevention of injuries and occupational infections in U.S. laboratories has been a concern for many years. CDC and the National Institutes of Health addressed the topic in their publication Biosafety in Microbiological and Biomedical Laboratories, now in its 5th edition (BMBL-5). BMBL-5, however, was not designed to address the day-to-day operations of diagnostic laboratories in human and animal medicine. In 2008, CDC convened a Blue Ribbon Panel of laboratory representatives from a variety of agencies, laboratory organizations, and facilities to review laboratory biosafety in diagnostic laboratories. The members of this panel recommended that biosafety guidelines be developed to address the unique operational needs of the diagnostic laboratory community and that they be science based and made available broadly. These guidelines promote a culture of safety and include recommendations that supplement BMBL-5 by addressing the unique needs of the diagnostic laboratory. They are not requirements but recommendations that represent current science and sound judgment that can foster a safe working environment for all laboratorians.

Throughout these guidelines, quality laboratory science is reinforced by a common-sense approach to biosafety in day-to-day activities. Because many of the same diagnostic techniques are used in human and animal diagnostic laboratories, the text is presented with this in mind. All functions of the human and animal diagnostic laboratory — microbiology, chemistry, hematology, and pathology with autopsy and necropsy guidance — are addressed. A specific section for veterinary diagnostic laboratories addresses the veterinary issues not shared by other human laboratory departments. Recommendations for all laboratories include use of Class IIA2 biological safety cabinets that are inspected annually; frequent hand washing; use of appropriate disinfectants, including 1:10 dilutions of household bleach; dependence on risk assessments for many activities; development of written safety protocols that address the risks of chemicals in the laboratory; the need for negative airflow into the laboratory; areas of the laboratory in which use of gloves is optional or is recommended; and the national need for a central site for surveillance and nonpunitive reporting of laboratory incidents/exposures, injuries, and infections.

CMS Proposes 2013 Payment and Policy Updates for Medicare Drug and Health Plans to Ensure Choice and Improve Quality

February 24, 2012 Comments off
Source:  Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (HHS)
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today announced proposed payment and policy guidance for Medicare Advantage (Part C) and Medicare prescription drug (Part D) plans for 2013 that will help continue the trend of lower premiums and stable or improved benefits that beneficiaries in these programs have experienced over the last two years. The preliminary trend factors included in the proposed guidance reflect an estimated annual growth rate of 2.47 percent, which will sustain a strong Medicare Advantage landscape for 2013.  Earlier this month, CMS announced that Medicare Advantage premiums had dropped 7 percent over the past year while enrollments increased by about 10 percent. The guidance announced today is a proposed draft and CMS is accepting public comment.
The 2013 Advance Notice and the draft Call Letter, released today, will maintain access to Medicare Advantage (MA) plans as an affordable option for people with Medicare and ensure drug and health plan sponsors are accountable to America’s senior and disabled beneficiaries for improved quality of care and stable cost-sharing for the coming year.

Growth in U.S. health spending remained slow in 2010

January 14, 2012 Comments off

Growth in U.S. health spending remained slow in 2010
Source: Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services

U.S. health care spending experienced historically low rates of growth in 2009 and 2010 according to the annual report of national health expenditures (NHE) published in the January issue of the journal Health Affairs.

Analysts at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) report in the article that the increase in spending for 2009 represents the lowest rate of increase in the entire 51 year history of the NHE. The low rate of growth, the data show, reflects lower utilization in health care than in previous years. The report notes that U.S. health care spending grew only 3.9 percent in 2010, reaching $2.6 trillion or $8,402 per person, just 0.1 percentage point faster than in 2009.

In 2010, as health spending growth remained low, growth in U.S. economy as reflected in gross domestic product (GDP) (4.2 percent) rebounded. As such in 2010, the health spending share of the overall economy was unchanged at 17.9 percent. In the past, this share has increased, rising over time from 5.2 percent in 1960.

+ Highlights (PDF)
+ Full Report (via Health Affairs)


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