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HHS Proposes Policy to Boost Interoperability, Patient Access to Health Information

The Department of Health and Human Services has issued two new proposed rules designed to enhance interoperability across the health system, facilitate health data sharing and increase patient access to their health information. The long-awaited proposals were announced this week as the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) launched...
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ONC’s Strategy to Streamline HIT—AHA Gives Feedback

The amount of time that clinicians and healthcare organizations are required to spend fulfilling federal documentation requirements regarding patient care is often cited as a major cause of burnout and stress among healthcare professionals. In an effort to simplify these requirements and relieve the strain, the Office of the National Coordinator fo...
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Drug Prices and Shortages Taking a Toll on Hospitals: National Survey

Soaring drug prices and persistent drug shortages during 2015-2017 led one-fourth of United States hospitals to reduce staff to cope with the financial pressure, according to a study commissioned by the American Hospital Association (AHA), the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) and the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP).In thi...
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Think ‘Job-Person Fit’ to Deal With Physician Burnout

Physician burnout in a hospital, health system or medical practice is not a problem in and of itself, but should be seen as a red flag of other problems in the organization, according to social psychologist Christina Maslach, PhD, developer of the highly regarded and widely used Maslach Burnout Inventory™ (MBI).At a recent medical meeting, Dr. Masl...
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HHS OCR Calls for Comments to Update HIPAA Rules

Healthcare organizations and medical practices that have been working for years to comply with the privacy and security rules of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) undoubtedly have valuable thoughts and insights regarding how the rules could be tweaked and improved to reflect changes in the delivery of care since they w...
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Refresh Your Cybersecurity Practices in 2019: HHS Manual

Healthcare organizations have an excellent opportunity to recharge their commitment to safe, secure health information systems in the coming year by aligning their cybersecurity practices with best practices across the healthcare sector. A new publication from the Department of Health and Human Services is designed to help providers achieve this co...
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Coalition Calls for Federal Solution to Surprise Billing

A coalition of nine major organizations including the American Benefits Council, Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, Consumers Union, National Association of Health Underwriters and National Business Group on Health, has called for federal legislation to curb surprise billing—a situation that occurs, in many cases, when a patient receives care at a...
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2019 Physician Fee Schedule Aims to Reduce Clinician ‘Administrative Burden’

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has published the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) final rule detailing, among other things, changes to the Quality Payment Program for Year 3 (payment year 2021), changes to documentation requirements for E&M services, new policy regarding site-neutrality payment, reductions in the 340B dru...
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Medicare Advantage Proposed Rule Expands Telehealth Benefits

A proposed rule issued by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) would expand telemedicine services for Medicare Advantage (MA) plan enrollees while enhancing the methods used to scrutinize MA program integrity.Among other things, the proposals would implement provisions of the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018, which enables MA to expand...
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CMS Model to Care for New, Expectant Moms with Opioid Use Disorder

Overcoming obstacles to coordinated, integrated care for pregnant women and new mothers with opioid use disorder (OUD) is the thrust of a new model developed by the CMS Innovation Center that will join "care-delivery partners" with state Medicaid agencies as part of a federal multi-faceted strategy to tackle the opioid epidemic.The initiative, base...
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Are You Ready for the New Joint Commission Ambulatory Care Pain Standards?

In June of this year, The Joint Commission (TJC) released new and revised pain assessment and management standards for all TJC-accredited ambulatory care facilities, critical access hospitals and office-based surgery organizations. These standards are part of TJC's efforts to address disparities between the pain management standards the organizatio...
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Involve Doctors, Caregivers to Improve EHRs: Physician Survey

Health systems could be doing more to help physicians and other members of the care team derive optimal benefit from their electronic health records (EHRs) and other health information technologies, a new survey reports. Among the most important steps organizations can take to make more of their HIT investments are proactively soliciting input from...
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Five New CPT® Codes Support Billing for Telehealth, Remote Monitoring

The American Medical Association (AMA) has introduced new codes in the 2019 Current Procedural Terminology (CPT®) code set that would allow physicians to bill for some remote patient monitoring services and internet consultations.Acceptance of the new codes by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in the 2019 Physician Fee Schedule "...
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Size and Profitability Do Not Go Hand in Hand: Health System Study

A new report throws into question the common wisdom that scale enhances health system operations. The study, by consulting firm Navigant, found no correlation between higher revenues and better operating margins among 104 highly rated hospital systems during 2015-2017, following the expansion in insurance coverage that accompanied the Affordable Ca...
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Mapping the Road to Regulatory Relief

One way to reduce healthcare costs is to reduce the time and resources providers and clinicians are forced to spend complying with the plethora of government healthcare regulations. This is the stance of the American Hospital Association (AHA) and other industry groups, which assert that healthcare organizations and professionals could do a better ...
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Guide Helps Providers Shield Infusion Pumps from Cyberattacks

September 5, 2018The unprecedented connectivity of today's wireless infusion pumps with healthcare systems, networks and other medical devices enhances the efficiency and quality of care. However, that same connectivity exposes healthcare organizations and patients to a slew of new cybersecurity risks. These risks range from access and tampering by...
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Measure Healthcare Equity to Improve Quality: Health Affairs Study

​Healthcare has experienced a meteoric rise in the use of quality measures to determine payment through the Hospital Value-Based Purchasing Program (HVBP), the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and other programs. An article in Health Affairs argues that what are missing from these programs are measures and payment incentives tied to one ...
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OIG Review Finds $25.8M in Hospital Overpayments for IMRT Planning

A new Office of Inspector General (OIG) audit report indicates that Medicare made as much as $25.8 million in overpayments to hospitals for intensity-modulated radiation therapy (IMRT) planning services during 2013 through 2015.IMRT is an advanced radiation procedure used to treat difficult-to-reach tumors. Payment for the computer-based planning r...
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AHA Outlines Strategies to Stem Medicare Appeals Backlog

August 15, 2018As of June 2017, the Medicare appeals backlog stood at an astonishing 607,402 pending cases at the administrative law judge level. Estimates indicate that it will soar to 950,520 cases by the end of the 2021 fiscal year.To help tackle the overwhelming glut of appeals, a federal judge asked the American Hospital Association (AHA) this...
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Few Patients Use Price Comparison Tools: NBER Study

Despite the fact that most health insurance companies now provide a price transparency tool for beneficiaries, only a tiny minority of patients choose to shop for healthcare services or review provider prices before accessing services, a new study by the National Bureau of Economic Research has found.Researchers analyzed data from a large private i...
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