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What businesses can expect this tax season

What businesses can expect this tax season

The tax man cometh – and just exactly what that means this year depends on your ...

Gold’s Gym to open in former Nordstrom space at Westfield Vancouver Mall

Gold’s Gym to open in former Nordstrom space at Westfield Vancouver Mall

Westfield Vancouver today announced the addition of Gold’s Gym, scheduled to ope...

State, local marijuana retail stores suddenly

State, local marijuana retail stores suddenly "flush with product"

Washington’s recreational marijuana business has been up and running for about s...

Top tech trends for 2015

Top tech trends for 2015

Remember when a cloud was just a puff of white or gray in the sky? A file was ma...

Port commissioners approve Northwest Packing Co. lease extension

Port commissioners approve Northwest Packing Co. lease extension

Fruit processor Northwest Packing Co. will continue to call Southwest Washington...

Trust reveals plan for Academy renovations

Trust reveals plan for Academy renovations

Although officially it won’t be a done deal until late January when escrow close...

Accounting & Finance

What businesses can expect this tax season

What businesses can expect this tax season

The tax man cometh – and just exactly what that means this year depends on your business. For some, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will bring significant ramifications. For others, capitalization and repair rules are going to be a major concern. For businesses and CPAs alike, IRS response times could cause problems. In the following paragraphs, local CPAs share their expertise with VBJ readers to h...

Education & Workforce Development

Clark College expanding new Economic & Community Development Program

Clark College expanding new Economic & Community Development Program

While managing variables of supply and demand have been part of business culture for centuries, the concept has often been lost in terms of staffing and personnel development. Clark College’s Economic and Community Development Program (formerly Corporate and Continuing Education) looks to change that.

“The program really grew out of our contract learning projects. We saw a need and opportunity to...

News Briefs

Riverview, Heritage Bank report quarterly earnings

Vancouver-based Riverview Bancorp Inc. reported this week an income of $1.1 million, or $0.05 per diluted share, in the third fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2014. This compares to an income of $801,000, or $0.04 per diluted share, in the third quarter of 2013.

Spotlight

Feasting on success

Feasting on success

Scarcely out of the shadow of their second year, Harvest owner Chef Tim McCusker has opened his second Camas-based restaurant, Feast@316. Considering 90 percent of new restaurants do not see their first anniversary, the renowned restaurant consultant is banking on his track record of culinary success.

Launching on New Year’s Eve, Feast@316, a steak and seafood house located in downtown Camas, ope...

Hospitals to lose ‘never event’ reimbursement

Starting Oct. 1, hospitals throughout the country will stop receiving Medicare reimbursement for so-called “never events,” such as pressure sores and falls. And many private insurers such as Aetne Inc. and WellPoint Inc. are incorporating similar restrictions in their contracts with hospitals.

Starting Oct. 1, hospitals throughout the country will stop receiving Medicare reimbursement for so-called “never events,” such as pressure sores and falls. And many private insurers such as Aetne Inc. and WellPoint Inc. are incorporating similar restrictions in their contracts with hospitals.

Hospitals receive Medicare reimbursement under the Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System, and the amount of reimbursement is based on the diagnosis-related group that describes a patient’s treatment. Under the upcoming change, hospitals will not receive additional reimbursement for certain secondary illnesses caused by the hospital, or that occurred while a patient is in the hospital.

For example, if a patient is admitted for knee replacement surgery, the hospital is paid a set amount for that treatment. However, if the patient develops a pressure sore at the hospital following knee replacement surgery, the hospital will not be paid for treatment of the pressure sore.

The concept of never events was developed by the National Quality Forum and the Leapfrog Group. The National Qualify Forum, a nonprofit group that was created to develop a national strategy for healthcare quality measurement, has a list of 28 never events. And the Leapfrog Group, a national coalition of major employers and health plans, gives recognition to hospitals that take responsibility for never events, including waiving the costs associated with the event, apologizing and reporting the event.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency that administers the Medicare and the Medicaid programs, has identified eight never events. They include objects left in patients during surgery, air embolism, blood incompatibility, catheter-associated urinary tract infection, vascular catheter-associated infection, pressure sores, certain surgical site infections and hospital-acquired injuries such as fractures, dislocations, intracranial injuries, burns and crushing injuries.

One of the goals of restricting never-event reimbursement is to improve patient care, but the mandate given to CMS was to identify conditions that had a high cost or occurred frequently so as to lower Medicare payments.

Many of the conditions described above, like leaving an object in a patient during surgery, would clearly be the result of negligence. However, some never events, like the development of pressure sores, can be clinically unavoidable based on a patient’s condition. Other never events, like falls, can occur regardless of the amount of care planning and supervision of the patient.

Because the determination as to payment will be based on whether the secondary illness developed in the hospital, hospitals will be required to do a more thorough job of screening patients when they are admitted. They also will be required to report the occurrence of the never events themselves.

In testimony to the House Committee on Ways and Means on Feb. 14, 2008, acting CMS Administrator Kerry Weems, proposed that hospitals failing to report never events be subject to a 2 percent annual reduction in their reimbursement levels. And major insurers have begun to include never event provisions in their new contracts with hospitals. The new contract language requires reporting the occurrence of the never event, and prevents payment to the hospital by the insurance company and the hospital from billing the patient directly.

The effects of these rule changes may be seen throughout the hospital industry.

Care will likely improve – money is a serious cudgel – but hospitals will act more defensively with respect to never events, which will probably increase costs due to more paperwork and tests. And plaintiffs who have suffered an injury will likely argue that because the injury is classified as a never event, the hospital is liable, regardless of whether the injury was unavoidable – which will probably increase malpractice insurance costs.

One can expect this trend to continue, and for CMS and insurers to expand the list of never events and to apply similar payment restrictions to other providers, such as skilled nursing homes and physicians.

 

Aaron Besen is an of-counsel attorney at the Vancouver office of Bullivant Houser Bailey PC, where he represents long-term care providers, landlords to these providers and related businesses. He can be reached at 360-737-2300 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Opinion

Focus Column

Cashing in: How to plan for business succession in a recovering economy

Cashing in: How to plan for business succession in a recovering economy

When it comes to retirement in the United States, nothing hurt business owners more than the financial crisis of 2008.

R...

Now is the time for apprenticeships

Now is the time for apprenticeships

There is much talk of the “skills gap” – the widening space between the technical skills that employers need and the ski...

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