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Open Payments website reveals $3.5 billion paid to docs, hospitals
September 30, 2014
More than half a million U.S. physicians and 1,360 U.S. hospitals have financial relationships with medical device and drug companies, according to data released Tuesday under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act.

Oklahoma judge rules against Obamacare subsidies
September 30, 2014
In a legal setback for the Obama administration, a federal judge in Oklahoma ruled Tuesday that people in states that rely on the federal insurance exchange are not eligible for Obamacare premium subsidies to help them pay for coverage.

Epic Systems feeling heat over interoperability
October 01, 2014
Epic Systems' August decision to retain a Washington lobbyist was widely seen as a sign that the leading electronic health-record system vendor is feeling political heat based on the perceived lack of interoperability between its EHR systems and other systems.

Officials confirm first Ebola case diagnosed in U.S.
September 30, 2014
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden announced in a press conference late Tuesday that the first U.S. case of Ebola has been found in Texas, with tests positive on specimens from a patient now being cared for in a Dallas hospital.

Genentech's distribution change for cancer drugs upsets hospitals
September 30, 2014
Drugmaker Genentech is changing the way it ships three high-profile cancer drugs to hospitals, which are concerned that the new process will grossly inflate their already high costs and potentially affect patient care. Genentech contends the change is designed to ensure patient safety and access to...

CDC confirms Ebola case at Texas hospital
September 30, 2014
The first Ebola infection diagnosed in the U.S. has been confirmed in a patient getting treatment at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday.

Open Payments website launches
September 30, 2014
The federal government Tuesday launched a highly anticipated website detailing payments made by medical device and drug companies to physicians and teaching hospitals.

Ebola patient was initially released, Texas hospital admits
October 01, 2014
Hospital officials at the Dallas facility currently treating the first Ebola case diagnosed in the U.S. said Wednesday that the patient was initially released from the emergency department without being identified as a possible carrier for the virus.

CHI sees higher 2014 revenue, operating loss for the year
September 30, 2014
Expansion-minded Catholic Health Initiatives reported sharply higher revenue for its fiscal 2014 but also an operating loss as expenses and restructuring charges ate away at revenue gains.

UnitedHealth's Optum to buy MedSynergies
September 30, 2014
Optum, a consulting and analytics division of the country's largest health insurer, UnitedHealth Group, has agreed to acquire physician practice consulting firm MedSynergies.

Nurses need adequate training on new devices, healthcare tech
October 01, 2014
Nurses must be given adequate training on new products and devices as the work they do becomes more integrated with health information technology, nursing leaders and technology experts say. Also, care must be taken to make sure technology doesn't take too much attention away from the patient, they...

Reform Update: Managed Medicaid report sparks debate on state network adequacy remedies
September 30, 2014
Patient-rights advocates are hopeful that a recent HHS Office of the Inspector General's report will prompt the CMS to clamp down on states regarding the adequacy of managed Medicaid plan provider networks. But state officials adamantly say that more rules from Washington won't remedy such basic...

University of Pennsylvania Health System posts robust 2014 financials
October 01, 2014
University of Pennsylvania Health System, Philadelphia, one of the largest academic medical centers in the country, recorded massive gains in its revenue and surpluses last year, while keeping expenses in check.

Incentive-based contracts thriving in commercial insurance market
September 30, 2014
Health plans that cover two-thirds of commercially insured Americans used incentives this year to motivate hospitals and doctors to improve quality and manage costs, according to a new survey. Those contracts were responsible for 40% of insurers' medical spending.

More critical-access hospital closings likely
September 30, 2014
Amid ongoing federal scrutiny of the extra funding paid small hospitals to serve remote areas, the number of critical-access hospitals in the U.S. continued to fall over the past year, according to Modern Healthcare magazine's annual review of CMS data published in this week's By the Numbers list.

New ANA President Pam Cipriano on reform-era challenges
September 27, 2014
Pam Cipriano became president of the American Nurses Association in June.

AHIMA releases principles for new area: information governance
October 01, 2014
The American Health Information Management Association has launched a program to help its members become experts in the relatively new concept known as data governance of health information.

Reform Update: Capitated payments more acceptable to providers, survey finds
October 01, 2014
A survey of 39 health plans released this week adds to mounting evidence that hospitals and medical groups are getting comfortable with incentive-based payment structures that reward quality and lower costs. This new snapshot includes surprising evidence that a significant percentage are willing to...

Sunshine on teaching hospitals: The Top 10
October 01, 2014
The CMS' publication Tuesday of industry payments to healthcare providers included financial support for clinical research at teaching hospitals.

OSHA considers rule to protect healthcare workers from infectious diseases
October 01, 2014
The Occupational Safety and Health Administration plans to issue a public report before the end of the year with guidance on protecting healthcare workers from infectious diseases.

Fire that killed hospital CEO, wife ruled arson
October 01, 2014
A fire that killed the president of a major southern New Jersey hospital and his wife has been ruled arson.

RACs recouped $3B for Medicare in 2013
September 29, 2014
Medicare's recovery auditors returned more than $3 billion into the program's coffers last year, a new government report shows. And providers that appealed those audits won less than 1 in 5 tries. While the RAC trade group cheered the report, it isn't quelling provider criticism of the RAC program.

When the tiny hospital can't survive: Free-standing EDs with primary care seen as new rural model
September 27, 2014
Free-standing emergency departments have the potential to give rural populations access to care in areas where hospitals close. But many experts say that approach needs to be part of a broader solution that mixes emergency care with beefed-up primary and preventive care.

ONC roadmap on interoperability being unveiled Oct. 15, DeSalvo says
September 30, 2014
A first draft of a federal roadmap to interoperability of health IT systems will be released in mid-October, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, told American Health Information Management Association members Monday.

Systems serving low-income patients struggle under readmissions penalties
September 30, 2014
Hospitals with limited resources continue to struggle as they try to implement programs that drive down readmission rates, and federal penalties could potentially make matters worse, write the authors of a report published in the Joint Commission's Journal on Quality and Patient Safety.

FDA cites Hospira for drug manufacturing violations
October 01, 2014
Drugmaker Hospira said Wednesday that it received a warning letter from the Food and Drug Administration regarding poor manufacturing quality at one of its facilities in Australia.

Pace of digital health funding slows in Q3
October 01, 2014
About $700 million in venture funding flowed into the digital health sector during the third quarter, a report from prominent digital health accelerator Rock Health found. That represents a decline in the pace of growth in funding.

N.Y. hospitals consider their collective fate
October 01, 2014
After some 18 months of negotiations with the federal government, New York state has received permission from regulators to implement a vast revamping of its healthcare delivery system in a bid to lower Medicaid costs. Now the state is at the starting point of a complex overhaul that involves...

Spotlight to shine on physician payments
September 27, 2014
While the Sunshine Act was intended to help patients understand potential conflicts of interest in their care, some stakeholders fear the data may be used by government investigators and insurers tracking doctors' prescribing, surgical and other practice patterns.

No new patients allowed in New Hampshire hospital after report
October 01, 2014
A New Hampshire hospital that treats brain injuries has been stopped from accepting new patients under a directive from Gov. Maggie Hassan, following a report from a disabilities rights group accusing it of abuse and neglect.

Reform Update: Doc groups concerned over looming Medicare penalties tied to quality reporting
September 29, 2014
Medicare will begin docking physicians' pay next year if they decline to report on quality measures under the voluntary Physician Quality Reporting System launched in 2007. Providers, however, remain confused and frustrated by its framework.

Medicare's Pioneer program down to 19 ACOs after three more exit
September 25, 2014
Three more accountable care organizations dropped out of Medicare's Pioneer program, which was designed to test the payment and delivery model with a small group of elite providers deemed best prepared to handle the operational demands and financial risks.

Calls for repealing Obamacare will fade after this election cycle, pundits predict
September 30, 2014
This is the last election cycle in which Republicans will try to reap political advantage by promising to repeal Obamacare, agreed Dr. Avik Roy, a conservative healthcare policy expert, and Chris Jennings, who played a key role on healthcare issues in two Democratic administrations. The pair spoke...

Trunfio to retire from Atlantic Health System in New Jersey
October 01, 2014
Atlantic Health System CEO Joseph Trunfio plans to retire but will stay on until the Morristown, N.J.-based organization finds his successor over the coming months, the system announced this week.

CMS expects Medicare Advantage 2015 premiums to be flat for most enrollees
September 18, 2014
The average monthly premium for Medicare Advantage plans in 2015 will be $33.90—an increase of $2.94, or 9.5%, over the current year. But as a result of more individuals seeking out lower-cost plans, the CMS estimates that the average premium hike will actually be $1.30 per month. And the...

Critical-access hospitals by state: 2014
September 27, 2014
A list of critical-access hospitals by state, ranked by the number of CAHs as of Sept. 19, 2014. Source: Flex Monitoring Team. Published Sept. 29, 2014, p. 30.

Reform Update: Doctors order unnecessary tests without even realizing it
September 15, 2014
Physicians order unnecessary tests and procedures to inoculate themselves from legal liability more than they realize, according to a new survey of physicians at several hospitals in one Massachusetts health system.

RACs' effectiveness exaggerated
October 01, 2014
Regarding “RACs recouped $3B for Medicare in 2013”: I am a healthcare statistician who works very closely with pre- and post-audit compliance risk and mitigation issues. I would strongly disagree with the validity of the 18.1% reversal rate claimed by the recovery audit contractor trade...

Abstract world of healthcare IT gains human dimension at AHIMA
September 30, 2014
A pair of emotionally charged presentations turned all the often-jargon-filled talk about IT, computing power and medical records into very human stories Monday during the opening session of the American Health Information Management Association's 86th annual convention and exhibition in San...

Mentally ill shouldn't be treated in ERs: civil rights panel
September 30, 2014
Hospital emergency departments need to do more to identify and transfer mentally ill patients to appropriate facilities for care, a new government report says, but it falls short of recommending how healthcare providers can address a continuing shortage of available inpatient beds in mental health...

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