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OIG Raps Federal Oversight of Compounded Drugs

Healthcare News - 14 hours 11 min ago

The Office of Inspector General recommends that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services consider requiring 55 practices that accreditors should use to oversee compounded sterile preparations.

Categories: Healthcare News

Business Roundup: CHS Enters Michigan, Humana Launches ACO

Healthcare News - 14 hours 17 min ago

Community Health Systems, Inc. has announced that it will purchase 80% equity in Metro Health. In Colorado, Humana and Boulder Community Health have announced the launch of an accountable care arrangement and population-health partnership.

Categories: Healthcare News

Grassley to hospitals: Explain why you're suing low-income patients

Healthcare News - 14 hours 28 min ago

Sen. Charles Grassley is calling out nonprofit hospitals who are suing poor patients over unpaid bills and says they could be breaking the law, according to a report by ProPublica and NPR. Grassley, R-Iowa, sent a letter, dated January 16, 2015, to Heartland Regional Medical Center, a nonprofit hospital in St. Joseph, Mo., that has garnished the wages of low-income patients who were unable to pay their medical bills. Citing the ProPublica and NPR report, Grassley said the hospital, which recently changed its name to Mosaic Life Care, had stretched the law to the breaking point. Grassley wrote that the hospital, "may not be meeting the requirements to be a nonprofit, tax-exempt hospital."

Categories: Healthcare News

Measles outbreak changes game for Bay Area hospitals

Healthcare News - 14 hours 29 min ago

With the Disneyland measles outbreak expected to grow in the coming weeks, Bay Area hospitals and doctors' offices are preparing for new cases and a flood of questions from patients worried about getting sick. Health care providers who have never seen a case of measles also are being trained on how to recognize the illness and what to do with patients who show up in clinics or emergency rooms with suspicious symptoms. "We don't typically see measles cases, and that's required a fair amount of education of our physicians, nurses, emergency departments, so they're prepared and know what to look for," said Dr. Stephen Parodi, director of hospital operations for Kaiser Northern California.

Categories: Healthcare News

Metro Health (MI) to sell 80% interest to TN healthcare giant

Healthcare News - 14 hours 33 min ago

Community Health Systems, Inc., a giant Tennessee health care firm with ties to the Cleveland Clinic, announced it has signed an agreement to buy an 80 percent interest in Metro Health of Wyoming. The agreement includes Metro Health's 208-bed hospital in Wyoming, outpatient centers and related assets and businesses, according to the announcement on Friday, Jan. 23. The purchase is subject to approval by Michigan Office of the Attorney General and a certificate of need review by the Michigan Department of Community Health. The state regulatory review process could take several months, Metro Health officials said.

Categories: Healthcare News

Financial challenges force NY rural hospitals to change ways

Healthcare News - 14 hours 38 min ago

Financially challenged rural hospitals are seeking out partnerships with larger medical centers or making difficult decisions about which services to scale back as they try to keep their doors open. It is a trend that accelerated in 2014 and is expected to continue this year in Western New York. Of the dozen rural hospitals in the region, nine have an affiliation agreement of some kind with a hospital system in Buffalo, Rochester or Erie, Pa., with two of the hospitals – United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia and Medina Memorial Hospital – forming the agreements in 2014.

Categories: Healthcare News

PA hospitals, government groups braced for fight over charities

Healthcare News - 14 hours 40 min ago

Voters next fall may be asked to help settle a squabble over hospitals and other charities that make so much money, some believe they should no longer be tax-exempt. Lawmakers on both sides of the issue suggest that the state should re-examine whether organizations that pay top executives six- or seven-figure salaries ought to be exempt from property taxes. The trade publication Modern Health Care estimated the average compensation for 147 chief executive officers at nonprofit hospitals across the country at $2.2 million a year. "Any organization with a CEO making $2 million a year can afford to help pay for police and fire protection," said state Sen. John Wozniak, D-Cambria County.

Categories: Healthcare News

Hospital aid policies can't rule out medical bills

Healthcare News - 14 hours 41 min ago

Michelle Brown says she regrets not securing better health coverage before becoming a mother at age 18. She was a full-time restaurant worker making minimum wage when she became pregnant. She had no health benefits. So she signed up for a financial lifeline through the state's Hospital Care Assurance Program, or HCAP. The program covered Brown's hospital bills when she gave birth to her daughter, Athena, in April 2012 at Mount Carmel West. But she was blindsided by a separate $3,060 bill from Consultant Anesthesiologists Inc., the anesthesiology practice that gave her epidurals during the delivery.

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Art is a powerful tool to help healing process in hospitals

Healthcare News - 14 hours 43 min ago

Down a long, antiseptic-looking corridor that leads to Diagnostic Testing at Englewood Hospital and Medical Center, patients in hospital gowns on gurneys are wheeled by a dazzling array of original artwork equaling that of some galleries. It's a strange juxtaposition. But as recent world events have proven, art's power cannot be underestimated. While it has mocked all that some hold sacred and inflamed the wrath of terrorists in Paris, here at home art is being used for another powerful purpose - to heal. The hope is that this eye-catching exhibit of floral designs, landscapes and abstract images at Englewood - and hospitals like it across the country - might just make patients' anxiety and pain a little easier to bear.

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Health Groups Make the Case for Unique Device Identifiers in EHRs

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 14:14

In a letter sent this week to HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell, 10 health care groups argued that language should be included in upcoming rules on the meaningful use and electronic health record certification programs that requires providers to include data on medical devices implanted in patients in EHRs. Healthcare IT News et al.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Survey: Physicians See Benefits, Drawbacks in EHR System Switches

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 14:05

A recent survey finds that nearly 60% of family physicians who recently changed electronic health record systems thought the switch increased functionality and helped them to meet meaningful use requirements. However, just 43% of those doctors said they were happy with the switch. FierceEMR, Family Practice Management.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Report: State Innovation Models Plan To Invest in Health IT Tools

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 13:13

A new Accenture report finds that most states participating in CMS’ State Innovation Models initiative plan to invest more in health IT tools and services. For example, 19 states plan to expand the use of telehealth, while 15 plan to increase access to patient-facing digital tools, such as patient portals. MobiHealthNews.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Open Payments Website Riddled With Errors, Analysis Finds

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 12:20

CMS’ physician payment database contains several errors about drugmakers’ payments, such as misspelled drug names and multiple subsidiaries recording payments for the same drug. A CMS official says the agency does not confirm the data that companies submit but fixes errors as they are identified. ProPublica/New York Times‘ “The Upshot.”

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Health IT Business News Roundup for the Week of January 23, 2015

Making Sense of Meaningful Use - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 11:36

Anthem has awarded a $500 million contract to IBM to provide operational services for the insurer’s data server and storage infrastructure. Michael James McCoy has been named chief health information officer at the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT.

Categories: Making Sense of Meaningful Use

Congressman to AMA: Offer SGR Solutions Not Complaints

Healthcare News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:16

The American Medical Association is doing a disservice by not weighing in on how to pay for repealing the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula for physician reimbursement under Medicare, a member of Congress said Thursday. From MedPage Today.

Categories: Healthcare News

Observation Status Appeal Advances in Federal Court

Healthcare News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 08:11

A federal Court of Appeals panel has rejected the Obama administration's contention that hospital admission-status decisions are mainly in the hands of physicians and beyond the authority of Medicare.

Categories: Healthcare News

1,700 hospitals win quality bonuses from Medicare, but most will never collect

Healthcare News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:51

Medicare is giving bonuses to a majority of hospitals that it graded on quality, but many of those rewards will be wiped out by penalties the government has issued for other shortcomings, federal data show. As required by the 2010 health law, the government is taking performance into account when paying hospitals, one of the biggest changes in Medicare's 50-year-history. This year 1,700 hospitals – 55 percent of those graded – earned higher payments for providing comparatively good care in the federal government's most comprehensive review of quality. The government measured criteria such as patient satisfaction, lower death rates and how much patients cost Medicare.

Categories: Healthcare News

6 reasons why doctors are so afraid of measles

Healthcare News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:47

Measles is one of the most infectious diseases known to humanity. Now, it's spread in Disneyland, a theme park visited by millions from all over the world, any of whom could have carried the potentially deadly virus back home. The first case in Arizona was reported Thursday. Here are six reasons doctors are afraid of measles: 1. It floats in the air — and stays there for hours after the sick person has left. Remember all the rumors about Ebola, most of which turned out not to be true? They are true for measles. It&'s an airborne virus that lingers in the air. Now think about all those long lines in crowded, enclosed spaces at a place like Disneyland. People infected with measles are contagious for around nine days.

Categories: Healthcare News

Data on payments from drugmakers to doctors is marred by error

Healthcare News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:45

You'd think drug and medical device makers would know how to spell the names of their own products. But when companies submitted data to the federal government last year on their payments to doctors, some got the product names wrong. Forest Laboratories misspelled its depression drug, Fetzima, as "Fetziima" 953 times — in more than one-third of all the reports on the drug. Medical device company Amedica Corp. sometimes called its Preference screw system "Preferance." Amid much anticipation and after a lengthy delay, the government in September unveiled its Open Payments database, saying it would bring transparency to relationships between physicians and the drug and medical device industries.

Categories: Healthcare News

Incentives proposed for care providers who work in rural areas

Healthcare News - Fri, 01/23/2015 - 07:41

More health care providers could be encouraged to work in underserved areas of Washington state under a pair of bills to be introduced in Olympia next week that would help those providers pay back their student loans. Senate Bill 5010 and House Bill 1080, which have bipartisan sponsors and are supported by a number of Washington state health organizations, would restore and increase a currently underfunded state loan repayment program for health professionals working in rural areas. The legislation would give the incentive to a wide range of health care professionals to work in state- and federally designated areas that are considered underserved. Many of these rural areas are in Eastern Washington.

Categories: Healthcare News