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Medicare Spending Cuts and Hospital Productivity Gains

In this column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman and guest co-author Dana Goldman examine hospital productivity gains, and what they may mean for hospitals’ ability to absorb spending reductions.

Medicare Spending Cuts and Hospital Productivity Gains

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman and guest co-author Dana Goldman examine hospital productivity gains, and what they may mean for hospitals’ ability to absorb spending reductions. All previous columns by Drew Altman are available online.

Reading the Stars: Nursing Home Quality Star Ratings, Nationally and by State

This issue brief presents national and state-level analysis of nursing homes based on the Five-Star Quality Rating System, recently updated by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to help consumers compare nursing homes when selecting one for themselves or their family members. The issue brief finds that more than one-third (36%) of the nation’s 15,500 nursing homes certified by Medicare or Medicaid received relatively low ratings of 1 or 2 stars (out of a possible 5 stars). In 11 states, at least 40 percent of nursing homes in the state have 1- or 2-star ratings. In 23 states, however, at least half of the nursing homes have 4- or 5- star ratings. This issue brief discusses relevant policy considerations regarding nursing home quality—a serious issue in light of the vulnerability of the nursing home population and recent reports of problems arising from inadequate staffing, fire safety hazards, and substandard care.

Poverty Among Seniors: An Updated Analysis of National and State Level Poverty Rates Under the Official and Supplemental Poverty Measures

This brief presents data on poverty rates among seniors, as context for understanding the implications of potential changes to federal and state programs that help to bolster financial security among older adults. The analysis presents national and state-level poverty rates among people ages 65 and older, based on two measures from the U.S. Census Bureau, using data from the 2014 Current Population Survey (CPS): the official poverty measure and the Supplemental Poverty Measure.

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.