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  NAHC Report: Issue# 2706, 7/17/2015
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OSHA Issues Revised Instruction for Inspectors Related to TB Exposures
CMS Releases Star Ratings on Home Health Compare
For Your Information: Major Players in Passing Medicare and Medicaid Legislation
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OSHA Issues Revised Instruction for Inspectors Related to TB Exposures

The Occupation Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)  has issued Instructions for  general enforcement policies and procedures to be followed when conducting inspections and issuing citations related to occupational exposure to tuberculosis (TB). The Instruction reflects guidance from the updated Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report: “Guidelines for Preventing the Transmission of Mycobacterium tuberculosisin Health-Care Settings, 2005.

In the document, OSHA reviews the background and current state of TB surveillance and control in the United States: 

“Since 1953, with the cooperation of state and local health departments, the CDC has collected information on newly-reported cases of TB in the United States. According to the CDC, a resurgence of TB in the mid-1980s was marked by several years of increasing case counts. The number of reported TB cases peaked in 1992. Case counts began decreasing again in 1993, and 2013 marked the twenty-first year of decline in the total number of TB cases reported in the United States since the peak of the resurgence. In total, 9,582 TB cases were reported in the United States in 2013, and approximately 4% of those cases were among healthcare workers (CDC Fact Sheet, Trends in Tuberculosis, 2013). This represents a rate of 3.0 cases per 100,000 persons, the lowest recorded rate since
national reporting began in 1953.”

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CMS Releases Star Ratings on Home Health Compare

On Thursday, July 16, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) published the first round of star ratings on the Home Health Compare web site.

“Adding star ratings to Home Health Compare is another step forward in our continuing efforts to empower consumers by providing more information to help them make health care decisions, while also encouraging providers to strive for higher levels of quality,” said Dr. Patrick Conway, Acting Principal Deputy Administrator for CMS and Deputy Administrator for Innovation and Quality.

Ratings are based on agencies’ relative performance on 9 of the 29 quality measures including:

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Major Players in Passing Medicare and Medicaid Legislation

To celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the enactment of Medicare and Medicaid legislation on July 30, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice is recognizing a different individual who played an important role in passing the legislation throughout July.

Russell Billiu Long is the only US Senator whose mother and father also served in the US Senate. Not to mention his uncle and cousin served in the US House. During his 39 years as US Senator, Long used his power and fierce determination to support proposals that worked for the public good. “I am not seeking to pass legislation to favor my personal interests. Instead, I am support legislation which I believe to be good for all Americans, and resisting proposals which would be harmful to the state which I have the honor to represent.” Long was a member of the Senate Finance Committee, where he fought for liberalizing benefits for Social Security pensioners and for securing necessary welfare payment increases for the elderly, the blind, the disabled, and dependent children. He supported and was a strong advocate for the Medicare bill, working to achieve its passage. Throughout his distinguished career, he never took his time in Congress for granted: “I’ve always had that ambition to serve here and I’ve been watching this Congress for more than 50 years, as one who hoped to serve here and then as one who served in these halls in Washington.”

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