Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:
• Medicare Chief Marilyn Tavenner announced her resignation from the position today. Tavenner, a former nurse and hospital administrator, signed the cybersecurity clearance for HealthCare.gov and was a key player in the website’s 2013 go-live. She will step down at the end of February, and her deputy Andy Slavitt will take over as acting Medicare Administrator. Source
• The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Office for Civil Rights (OCR) has yet to resume their performance of HIPAA compliance audits after last holding pilot audits in 2012. Early last year, OCR announced they planned to begin audits in Fall 2014, but later pushed back the audits indefinitely due to a delay in document collection technology. On January 13, 2015, OCR director Jocelyn Samuels revealed there is still no timeline in place for resuming the HIPAA audits, but they are planned for sometime this year. Source
• The U.S. Renal Data System (USRSD) just released an annual report that showed newly-diagnosed cases of End-Stage Renal Disease (ESRD) have been declining annually since 2010. Although the overall prevalence of ESRD continues to be high nationally, trends in the past 5-10 years indicate a plateau and subsequent decline of new cases of ESRD. The USRSD wrote that the decline in new cases implies improvements in prevention as well as longer survival rates for patients with ESRD. Source
• Forbes’ most recent job report shows that in 2014, the health care sector added 311,000 jobs, over 50% more than the 203,000 added in 2013. Forbes attributes this growth to a large infusion of money into the health care economy, particularly from the Affordable Care Act. The ACA contributed to a large upsurgence in insured patients, which in turn led to a reduction of bad debt and an increase in revenue for hospitals. Source
On The Front Lines:
After a net gain last week, Apple lost 0.08 percent of the market share to Android this week. Apple users may be holding out for the new features rumored to be available in the iPhone 6S/6S+, which could include an improved camera with optical zoom, an iPhone 6S Mini with a 4” screen, and an A9 processor that offers up to 20 percent more power. Even though the 6S likely won’t be available for another six months, we’re looking forward to its release!
Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care alongside the front lines of the iOS-Android wars among pMD's charge capture physician users. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news.