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where we cover interesting and relevant news, insights, events, and more related to the health care industry and pMD. Most importantly, this blog is a fun, engaging way to learn about developments in an ever-changing field that is heavily influenced by technology.

POSTS BY TAG | Health Care


Image: New York Times/Craig Frazier

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Vitamin D deficiency is likely being over tested and over treated, according to a recent study in Maine. Vitamin D popularity began back in 2000 when medical journals began publishing studies of illnesses believed to be linked to vitamin D deficiency. As a consequence, healthy people who believe they have a deficiency are taking dangerous levels of supplemental doses.  Read More

•  A study published in JAMA this week found that value-based programs yield lower hospital readmission rates and significant cost savings. Researchers examined 2,837 U.S. hospitals between 2008 and 2015 and found that participation in 1 or more of Medicare’s value-based programs, including Meaningful Use, Accountable Care Organization, and the Bundled Payment for Care Initiative, was associated with greater reductions in 30-day readmission rates.  Read More

•  It’s now easier for physicians to get licensed in multiple states thanks to the new Interstate Medical Licensure compact, which launched last week. Qualified physicians can apply for licensing in 18 participating states. This agreement will ease the administrative burden for physicians who practice medicine in multiple states, including locum tenens doctors, doctors in metropolitan areas that include more than one state, and doctors who provide telemedicine services.  Read More

•  New analysis by the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority shows a rising number of medication errors that were attributed in some part to electronic health records and other technologies used to monitor and record patients’ treatment. Researches attributed the errors to system problems and/or user mistakes.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Luciano Lozano/Ikon Images/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Doctors are reimbursed for everything ranging from office visits to lab work to medical procedures. But what about the tasks that pull allocated time away from actual face-to-face visits? Data suggests that doctors are spending a significant amount of time on desktop medicine tasks. The data also highlights a reduction in time spent with patients and yet, physicians are not reimbursed for their EHR time.  Read More

•  Do you find yourself zoning out in the middle of one-on-one conversations? Do you procrastinate more often than not? There are, according to the World Health Organization, six simple questions that can reliably identify whether you have adult attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). It's important to note that the questions should be looked at in their totality, not individually. No single question stands out as an indicator of ADHD.  Read More

•  The federal government settled on an average rate increase of 0.45% for its finalized 2018 payment rates for Medicare Advantage (MA) plans. The rate announcement gives MA organizations the incentive to develop innovative provider network arrangements, encouraging enrollees to access high-quality healthcare services.  Read More

•  A report published Tuesday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 1 in 10 pregnant women in the continental U.S. with a confirmed Zika infection had a baby with serious birth defects or brain damage. There is also more evidence that birth defects were a bigger risk in women who were infected in the first trimester of pregnancy.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Mike Albans for Kaiser Health News

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  For many home health aides, health insurance coverage was hard to come by, mainly due to employers not offering such coverage or the inability to clock enough hours to be eligible. Cue the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which offered the state-federal low-income health insurance program. With the Trump administration's attempt at repealing the ACA and proposal for budget cuts, this lack of clarity is concerning to home-based care-givers whose paychecks rely heavily on Medicaid and Medicare and whose future health care coverage remains unclear.  Read More

•  The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating an increased rate of adverse cardiac events in patients with the dissolvable heart stent. The stent, called Absorb, is manufactured by Chicago-based Abbott Laboratories. The FDA and Abbott are working together to understand the cause of the adverse events and encourage physicians to follow the device's label instructions when selecting a target heart vessel.  Read More

•  Under President Trump's proposed budget cuts, funding for the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) may be eliminated. AHRQ is the lead federal agency involved with the improvement of safety and quality of the U.S. health care system. It also develops the resources and data for providers and consumers to help them make informed health decisions. Supporters of AHRQ believe the agency's role is misunderstood and that merging it with the National Institute of Health, as proposed by Trump's administration, would threaten its future.  Read More

•  On Tuesday, the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug to treat a severe form of multiple sclerosis. This disease leads to paralysis and cognitive decline. The drug will be sold under the brand name Ocrevus by Genentech.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  The Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) initiative to control how farmers can give antibiotics to livestock falls short in many areas.  According to the Government Accountability Office, the FDA initiative has not been collecting usage data that allows the program to know if efforts to curb the use of routine micro-doses of antibiotics, known as growth promoters, in livestock have been successful.  Read More

•  Thursday marked another blow to the GOP's efforts to pass the American Health Care Act. House Speaker Paul Ryan did not hold a floor vote as planned after President Donald Trump held meetings with conservative and moderate Republican caucuses, hoping to come to a deal. The House can lose no more than 21 votes for the bill to pass, however there's a likelihood of more than 25 members of the Freedom Caucus who plan to vote "no."  Read More

•  On Monday, an interim rule was released, delaying the expansion and implementation of major bundled payment initiatives. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services say the additional three-month delay will allow the agency more time to review and modify the policy, if necessary. The delay also calls into question whether the new White House Administration is committed to the programs.  Read More

•  Oral health has never been a priority with the aging population. One reason? Medicare does not provide dental care, except for certain medical conditions, and California's Medicaid only covers some services. However, the effort to bring more dental care to older adults is advancing across the nation. New clinics and technologies are popping up to help improve oral health for the aging, such as an app that tracks dentures, which frequently disappear in nursing homes.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Dr. Thomas Albini

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


•  Three women between the ages of 72 and 88 had lost most to all of their eyesight after participating in an unproven treatment where stem cells were injected into their eyes. The women later told doctors they thought they were participating in government-approved research after finding the study listed on a government website provided by the National Institutes of Health. Unfortunately, clinical trials do not need government approval to be listed the site.  Read More

•  In Trump's proposed health care budget, the Department of Health and Human Services should expect to see its budget slashed by more than $15 billion in 2018. The Department of Veterans Affairs, however, would see a $4.4 billion increase. The reduction takes funding away from the nation's foremost medical research agency as well as support programs for low-income individuals.  Read More

•  With the new 2017 Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) performance period underway, providers are left in the dark as to whether or not they must comply with program criteria. Providers that bill $30,000 or less in Medicare charges or give care to 100 or fewer beneficiaries are exempt from MIPS. The Medical Group Management Association is calling for immediate release of 2017 MIPS eligibility information to find out if clinicians are part of the nearly one-third that are eligible for exemption.  Read More

•  Researchers say that over-the-counter birth control pills would be safe for teens and that there is no evidence that adolescents are at greater risk from birth control pills than adult women. In fact, some of the potential negative side effects of oral contraception are less likely in younger adults, according to Krishna Upadhya, assistant professor of pediatrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.  Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Jean-Louis Wertz/University of Liege

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Wearable technology and data analytics are changing the face of employee health plans. As employee wellness becomes more and more a part of corporate culture, health insurers must now compete with wellness programs and more tech-heavy newcomers that offer the appeal of health gadgets and mobile apps. Looks like these established players need to "get with the program". Pun intended. Read More

• We all associate fevers with wasting away in our beds with aches, pains, and the yearning for chicken noodle soup. And yet, while fevers conjure negative sentiments, they're actually an ancient survival method in fighting infection. Studies involving sick carp recently brought to light a phenomenon called "behavioral fever", in which infected carp consciously move towards warmer water to fight infection, similar to how a fever fights infection in the human body. Read More

• On Wednesday, the Government Accountability Office released a report citing that doctors and hospitals failed to tell the Food and Drug Administration about cases in which a surgical tool, used to operate on the uterus, spread cancer around inside women's bodies. For 20 years, the power morcellator was used on patients to remove benign uterine tumors called fibroid. This tool can spray malignant cells around inside the abdomen and pelvis like seeds, worsening the disease. Read More

• Despite promises of replacing the Affordable Care Act within the first 100 days of his administration, Trump has yet to have an ACA replacement plan in place for this year. According to a Congressional Budget Office report released in January, repealing the ACA without a replacement could leave more than 30 million people uninsured by 2026. Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Image: Courtesy of Karen Kasmauski/USAID's flagship Maternal and Child Survival Program

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


• Scandal rocks the pharmaceutical industry once more as insulin drug-makers steal the spotlight from last year's Mylan's EpiPen fiasco. This time, three manufacturers are being named in a lawsuit accusing the three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their drugs, benefiting themselves and pharmacy benefit managers, and consequently resulting in dangerous situations for patients who are unable to afford the lifesaving drug. Read More

• Think you've got office drama? Well, this week, in the nation's office, Democrats decided to boycott Tuesday's Senate Finance Committee meeting to vote on the controversial nomination for head of the Department of Health and Human Services. When Democrats didn’t show up again on Wednesday, Republicans changed the rules so the committee could allow a vote to go ahead without them. That must have been one awkward Thursday morning in the office. Read More

• 'Stumped' takes on a new meaning with business students participating in Northwestern University's Kellogg School of Management competition. The challenge is to figure out the best way to convince health workers and new parents in Nigeria to apply a potentially life-saving antiseptic to the baby's umbilical cord stump.  Proper treatment and education on applying the antiseptic can reduce neonatal deaths by nearly 40 percent. Read More

• Imagine being completely aware of your surroundings but unable to interact or communicate with any of it. This is the sad reality for many patients with advanced forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, in which the brain loses the ability to control muscles, essentially becoming "locked-in". Scientists recently created a brain-computer interface used to read the thoughts of patients to basic yes-or-no questions by detecting the change in blood color due to changes in oxygen levels in response to certain questions being asked of the patient. Read More

Each Friday, Signor Goat reports the latest from the week in health care. Check back next Friday for your dose of our little medical corner of health care news. Brought to you by pMD, innovators in charge capture software.

Here's What You May or May Not Have Missed This Week:


• The Office of the National Coordinator (ONC) released a five-year health IT strategic plan that focuses strongly on interoperability. It also emphasizes patient engagement and the expansion of IT to long-term care and the mentally ill and other areas of health care that have been without it. Source

• Medical school students staged a nationwide protest against police brutality by means of a white coat "die-in." Students for a National Health Program backed the protests, stating "We as medical students feel that this is an important time for medical institutions to respond to violence and race-related trauma that affect our communities and the patients we serve." Source

• CMS submitted a rule to require all hospitals across the country to recognize gay marriage. It's an important proposal (pun intended) for same-sex spouses to be afforded equal rights in medical facilities that accept Medicare. Source

On The Front Lines:


In the Apple-Android device wars among pMD's charge capture physician users, Apple has fallen even further with six straight weeks of lost market share. What will it take for Apple to reverse this sinking trend?


FINAL RESULTS:


iOS: 90.41%
Android: 9.59%

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.

Considered by locals as the best kept secret around, the Florida panhandle and Alabama Gulf coast beaches are the best in the country. Oops, I guess that secret is out of the bag now… The Alabama Medical Group Management Association (AL MGMA) summer conference attendees get to witness that beauty first hand.

Every year, the AL MGMA hosts a summer conference in Sandestin, Fla. The AL MGMA exists as a forum to allow health care professionals to exchange information and ideas and better network to lead their respective practices and organizations. The AL MGMA did a great job hosting the conference, which was primarily attended by administrators, consultants, and vendors.

I attended the conference earlier this month representing pMD as a health care vendor and supporter of the AL MGMA. We help give back to these communities by supporting their conferences, and it provides an opportunity for us to have face to face interaction to learn what is on the minds of health care professionals and how we may be able to help them with charge capture. While I unfortunately didn't have much of an opportunity to enjoy the beautiful beaches, the conference reminded me of a huge family reunion and the importance of staying in touch with others in the industry. The MGMA network in the state of Alabama is a close, family-oriented group – call it “southern hospitality.”

Over the last ten years, focusing on helping practices improve efficiencies through charge capture has allowed me the privilege to meet a lot of great people. At the conference, I put faces to names that I've worked with for years but have never met in person, and I saw other faces that I hadn't seen in over a decade. I enjoy helping others solve problems, and it was great to witness the community of attendees working together to exchange thoughts and best in class solutions and ideas. As health care continues to change at a rapid pace, it's important to learn from your peers' experiences so that you can help lead your organization to be the best it can be. This conference reminded me of the importance of supporting organizations like the local MGMA so practices can continue operating at a high level of proficiency and focus on delivering better care to patients.

I made a couple of new friends, Dwayne and Michelle, from the AAPC that were exhibiting next to me. The AL MGMA hosted a tailgating “lawn party” one evening as a social gathering. You weren’t allowed into the party without these fantastic glow necklaces!

“Work hard, play hard!” The summer conference at the AL MGMA has a laid back environment that allows attendees to learn a lot while having fun doing it. Picture from an AL MGMA attendee. MGMA Alabama Facebook
Finally, and as expected, the announcement medical practices have been waiting for since spring came today. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a rule this afternoon to finalize the new ICD-10 deadline for October 1, 2015. Shortly after, CMS stated in a press release that this change “allows providers, insurance companies and others in the health care industry time to ramp up their operations to ensure their systems and business processes are ready to go on Oct. 1, 2015.”

The deadline was pushed back on March 31 of this year when the U.S. Senate voted on legislation that included a one-year delay to ICD-10. This delay came as a relief to many medical practices that required additional time and resources to implement an effective ICD-10 plan by the mandatory transition date. Even with the one year extension now formally in effect, medical practices are continuing to press on with their ICD-10 implementation strategies. With a good mobile charge capture system in place the ICD-10 transition is smoother and easier, making the countdown to the new disease classification system less daunting.

Marilyn Tanner, Administrator of CMS, contends that the "ICD-10 codes will provide better support for patient care, and improve disease management, quality measurement and analytics.”

Source: CMS.gov