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Updated: 3 hours 2 min ago

Top Provider Billing Mistakes Are Changing

3 hours 53 min ago

Rapidly advancing fields such as molecular diagnostics pose some of the newest challenges for providers, who must bill with precision or risk losing reimbursements.

Categories: Healthcare News

Hospitals Seeking Physician Alignment

3 hours 56 min ago

Healthcare leaders face challenges on multiple fronts as they try to redefine physician-hospital alignment for a value-based system that is just taking shape.

Categories: Healthcare News

What we've learned from four years of diving into dollars for docs

4 hours 6 min ago

On Tuesday, the federal government is expected to release details of payments to doctors by every pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturer in the country. The information is being made public under a provision of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The law mandates disclosure of payments to doctors, dentists, chiropractors, podiatrists and optometrists for things like promotional speaking, consulting, meals, educational items and research. It's not quite clear what the data will show — in part because the first batch will be incomplete, covering spending for only a few months at the end of 2013 — but we at ProPublica have some good guesses. That's because we have been detailing relationships between doctors and the pharmaceutical industry for the past four years as part of our Dollars for Docs project.

Categories: Healthcare News

Study: Cancer costs 'skyrocketed' despite drug cuts

4 hours 9 min ago

The cost of treating cancer has "skyrocketed" despite a 2003 law that sought to control Medicare drug costs, including the cost of chemotherapy, according to a new study. Research published Monday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology found that oncologists did not stop prescribing expensive cancer drugs even after Medicare cut the drugs' reimbursements in 2005. In fact, the aggregate cost of cancer care rose by as much as 60 percent between the passage of the law in 2003 and 2013, the study noted.

Categories: Healthcare News

Federal doctor ratings face accuracy, value questions

4 hours 11 min ago

Consumers searching this fall for the best doctor covered by their new public or private insurance plan won't get very far on a federal database designed to rate physician quality. The Affordable Care Act requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to provide physician quality data, but that database offers only the most basic information. It's so limited, health care experts say, as to be useless to many consumers. This comes as people shopping for insurance on the state or federal exchanges will find increasingly narrow networks of doctors and may be forced to find a new one. Many with employer-provided plans will face the same predicament.

Categories: Healthcare News

FDA pushes to improve medical device security

4 hours 12 min ago

When former VP Dick Cheney last year disclosed that doctors had disabled the wireless capabilities in his pacemaker because of hacker concerns, it hammered home the dangers posed by network-connected medical devices. Such concerns have finally prompted the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to convene a collaborative industry-wide effort to bolster medical device cyber security. As a first step, the FDA will host a workshop in Arlington, Va., next month during which it hopes to bring together medical device manufacturers, healthcare providers, biomedical engineers, IT systems administrators, health insurers, and others. The goal of the two-day event is to spur a discussion on the best ways to identify and mitigate cybersecurity vulnerabilities in commonly used medical devices.

Categories: Healthcare News

Feds give $14.9 million to MT for healthcare workforce development

4 hours 18 min ago

Health care education across Montana got a significant boost on Monday with the announcement that 15 colleges will receive a total of nearly $15 million in federal grants to help train students for health care jobs. "Montana's public and tribal two-year colleges are working together to build new pathways, partnerships and curriculum updates to serve our state's health care needs," said Montana Commissioner of Higher Education Clayton Christian. Announced by the U.S. Department of Labor, the Montana Health Creating Access to Rural Education (CARE) grant will be administered by Missoula College at the University of Montana. Funds will go to 15 two-year, community and tribal colleges, which will partner with 39 health care agencies to improve health care training and education.

Categories: Healthcare News

Health IT's future: 9 issues to watch

4 hours 19 min ago

They've forged a strong foundation, but technologists and health professionals have more to do to fulfill the vision of a cost-effective, consumer-oriented, patient-engaged industry. "Future systems will support clinicians and patients as they work together toward wellness," said Joe Frassica, chief medical informatics officer and chief technology officer/vice president for Philips Patient Care and Monitoring Solutions at Philips Healthcare. "These systems will provide increasingly personalized and real-time insights and advice for clinicians and patients and will come to be trusted partners in the care of patients."

Categories: Healthcare News

The rise of the MD/MBA degree

4 hours 21 min ago

For David Gellis, the spark came during a class in college on health policy in America. He had known he wanted to become a doctor, but he was looking for a way to contribute to systemic change in healthcare. His professor at the time was Donald Berwick, who later headed the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services and made a bid this year to be the Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts on a platform that includes single payer healthcare. Berwick's class inspired Gellis to think more about the business skills needed in healthcare. Gellis decided he wanted to apply business skills specifically to primary care, and he applied to Harvard Medical School and Harvard Business School simultaneously.

Categories: Healthcare News

Driving Down Claims Denials

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 07:25

Provider organizations are finding new ways to protect revenue from aggressive government audits and inefficient internal processes.

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Governors Push to Expand Role of PAs, Telemedicine

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 07:21

The American Medical Association says it supports the National Governors Association's recommendations, which "closely align with AMA's policy supporting healthcare teams that draw on telemedicine and the unique strengths of physicians and physician assistants."

Categories: Healthcare News

Why Open Payments Irks Physicians

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:50

Making physician payment data public without providing the purpose of those payments to patients or to other doctors may "breed distrust," says a past president of the San Diego County Medical Society.

Categories: Healthcare News

For many new Medicaid enrollees, care is hard to find, report says

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:43

Enrollment in Medicaid is surging as a result of the Affordable Care Act, but the Obama administration and state officials have done little to ensure that new beneficiaries have access to doctors after they get their Medicaid cards, federal investigators say in a new report. The report, to be issued this week by the inspector general at the Department of Health and Human Services, says state standards for access to care vary widely and are rarely enforced. As a result, it says, Medicaid patients often find that they must wait for months or travel long distances to see a doctor.

Categories: Healthcare News

Accountability slow to reach rural hospitals

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:37

Crawford Memorial Hospital, in rural Robinson, Ill., is the only hospital for miles around. Just like elsewhere, Crawford's doctors deliver babies, perform routine operations and see thousands of patients in the emergency room. But Crawford, along with one-quarter of the hospitals around the country, is being left out of some of the biggest shifts in American health care initiated by the Affordable Care Act. These changes are aimed at bringing accountability to hospitals by linking Medicare payments to the quality of their care. They also are encouraging hospitals to monitor patients' health so doctors and nurses can intervene before problems become acute.

Categories: Healthcare News

SC finalizes 'transformation plan' to help rural hospitals

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:36

Lake City Community Hospital and a dozen more rural hospitals in South Carolina that are struggling to stay open may soon forge partnerships with healthier facilities to ensure their survival. Butch McCutcheon, Lake City Community Hospital's chief executive, said McLeod Health and the Carolinas Hospital System, both about 25 miles north of Lake City in Florence, have expressed interest in running the hospital or hiring its physicians. "We're not planning on closing, but we are looking at different models," McCutcheon said Thursday. "It's all just in the discussion process. It's all been going on for six months."

Categories: Healthcare News

Judge to decide fate of Miss-Lou healthcare

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:30

Six months after filing bankruptcy and more than 54 years after opening its doors, Natchez Regional Medical Center's future will rest in one man's hands Monday – but the saga for the hospital creditors will linger for years. U.S. Bankruptcy Court chief judge for the Southern District of Mississippi, the Honorable Neil P. Olack will preside over a confirmation hearing beginning at 9 a.m. at the U.S. Courthouse on Pearl Street in Natchez. For creditors the bankrupt hospitals still owes, repayment may still be up to two years away and even then may only repay half of what is due.

Categories: Healthcare News

HIMSS analytics sees progress in hospitals' advanced EHR adoption

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:28

After a period of stagnation in electronic health record adoption in 2013, hospitals in the first and second quarters of 2014 have taken steps to advance health IT efforts, according to the latest HIMSS Analytics data, EHR Intelligence reports. HIMSS Analytics is the research arm of the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society. HIMSS Analytics uses an eight-stage EMR Adoption Model to track the progress of hospitals and health systems in implementing EHRs. Although the top tier of the model is the seventh stage, hospitals generally can qualify for Stage 1 meaningful use incentives at the fourth stage of EMRAM.

Categories: Healthcare News

Siouxland healthcare providers make adjustments to fix doctor shortage

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:26

Few rural doctors pay home visits anymore, as the practice has become a liability. And when physicians aren't seeing patients at the clinic, they're bogged down in paperwork. Iowa ranks 44th in the nation in direct-patient-care physicians per capita. According to County Health Rankings & Roadmaps data, for every primary care provider in the state there are 1,381 individuals. The state is dead last in the number of obstetricians, gynecologists and emergency medicine physicians compared with the other states and the District of Columbia. Brian Monsma, Mercy Medical Center-Sioux City's vice president of network development, said hospital research shows patients living in rural Siouxland drive 10 miles on average to get to a clinic.

Categories: Healthcare News

Local PA hospitals dread Oct. 1 as flu shots remain on delay

Mon, 09/29/2014 - 06:24

Certain patients may have to wait a little longer before getting a flu shot. The manufacturer hasn't given a reason for a shipping delay, but hospital administrators say they will be monitoring supplies very closely until more doses arrive. The flu vaccine will combat more strains of the virus and healthcare providers are ready to make sure everyone that wants a flu shot gets one. "We start to vaccinate from October through April," said Christine Zwickel, the director of pharmacy at Easton Hospital. This year providers like Easton Hospital have hit a little snag in those plans.

Categories: Healthcare News

Telemetry Overuse Cost Health System $4.8 Million in One Year

Fri, 09/26/2014 - 06:51

Even when patients are on telemetry monitoring according to appropriate guidelines, "there are very few things they tell us that we can't find out in other ways," researcher says.

Categories: Healthcare News