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Morning headlines: Friday, August 26, 2011

(via Wikimedia Commons/Bluelion)
Barnes-Jewish Hospital faces up to a 3 percent reduction in Medicare payments for higher-than-average readmission rates.

Barnes-Jewish could lose millions in Medicare payments

One of Missouri's largest hospitals could face a cut in Medicare payments because too many Medicare patients are being readmitted soon after discharge.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch  reports that Barnes-Jewish is one of just three hospitals in the country to perform worse than the national average in readmissions within 30 days for heart attacks, heart failure and pneumonia, for each of the last three years.

Medicare, the government plan for people older than 65, plans to penalize hospitals that have higher-than-average readmission rates starting next year. Barnes-Jewish could face up to a 3 percent reduction in Medicare payments - millions of dollars.

Barnes-Jewish Chief Medical Officer Dr. John Lynch says reducing readmissions is an important goal. But he says hospitals should not be punished for treating underserved populations.

Mo. businesses shipping an increasing amount of products to other countries

Gov. Jay Nixon says the state's international exports were up 13 percent through the first half of 2011. That comes on top of a 35 percent growth in exports during 2010.

Nixon has been highlighting Missouri's export figures while traveling the state promoting a business incentive plan on the agenda for a special legislative session in September.

One prominent part of that legislation would authorize up to $360 million of tax incentives for companies handling or shipping goods internationally through the St. Louis airport. The proposal also would create new incentives for science and technology companies while scaling back or eliminating some of Missouri's existing tax breaks for building developers and low-income seniors who rent homes.

Mo. sets aside tax credits for mentally ill

Missouri will direct tens of millions of dollars of tax credits to build housing for the mentally ill, physically disabled and youths leaving the foster care system. The Missouri Housing Development Commission approved yesterday a plan that sets aside one-third of its tax credits for housing units that serve people with special needs. The plan was supported by State Treasurer Clint Zweife who says Missouri has about 24,000 homeless people.




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