What We’re Reading: Medicare Pay Increases; Coffee and Irregular Heartbeat; Expiring COVID-19 Vaccines

A new CMS rule increases reimbursement for providers; coffee is linked to decreased risk of arrhythmia; the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine’s shelf life is extended.

CMS Rule Will Increase Provider Payments

Recently released Medicare payment rules for inpatient rehabilitation, inpatient psychiatric, hospice, and skilled nursing facilities will give providers a payment boost, Modern Healthcare reports. In 2022, inpatient rehabilitation facilities will receive a 1.9% pay boost, raising reimbursement by $130 million, whereas psychiatric facilities will get a 2% increase, and receive $80 million. Health equity measures are expected to be included in next year's payment rules.

Coffee Linked With Decreased Risk of Irregular Heartbeat

New research published in JAMA Internal Medicine revealed that neither habitual coffee consumption nor genetically mediated differences in caffeine metabolism was associated with an increased risk of cardiac arrhythmias, The Washington Post reports. Researchers assessed a total of 386,258 individuals and observed that during a mean follow-up of 4.5 years, 16,979 developed incident arrythmia. After adjusting for demographic characteristics, comorbidities, and other factors, analyses showed that each additional cup of coffee consumed was associated with a 3% lower risk of incident arrythmia.

With Vaccines at Risk of Expiring, FDA Extends Shelf Life

Amid a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the delta variant, officials are concerned that low vaccine uptake among some parts of the country will lead to a waste of the life-saving doses. As a result, the FDA announced an extension to the shelf life of the Johnson & Johnson (J&J) COVID-19 vaccine, according to the Associated Press. The J&J shots are now deemed safe and effective for up to 6 months when stored properly, marking an extension of 6 weeks from their previous expiration date. Federal officials have also shipped 8 million of the unused J&J doses to states, while Moderna’s and Pfizer’s vaccines face impending expiration dates.