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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.

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Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The COVID-19 pandemic has redefined how health care is delivered as well as how people pay for it. On the delivery side, patients and doctors offices have embraced telehealth appointments; on the financial side, patients have turned to contactless payment modalities and phone apps to handle their balances. Digitalization can simplify the medical bill payment process and give patients more information, earlier on, about their financial responsibilities, experts say.  Read More

Care coordination and patient outreach is a proactive approach to care management that can drive positive outcomes such as reduced emergency department visits, decreased hospitalizations, and fewer hospital readmissions. A Tennessee-based physician group is successfully utilizing analytics to target patients who have been discharged from hospitals to fill gaps in care and manage transitions of care.  Read More

Ransomware attacks skyrocketed amid the pandemic when hospitals increased their use of remote work and moved more hospital data online. According to a new report, 560 healthcare organizations were victims of ransomware attacks in 2020, costing healthcare organizations $20.8 billion in downtime, double the amount it cost in 2019.   Read More

Large tech giants are jumping into a growing interoperability solutions market as new federal regulations spur the healthcare industry to open up and share medical records data. Google Cloud rolled out a new tool called the healthcare data engine, currently in private preview, that helps healthcare and life sciences organizations harmonize data from multiple sources, including medical records, claims, clinical trials and research data.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


If finalized, the Quality Payment Program (QPP) will undergo significant policy changes under the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) proposed rule. Most notably, the rule introduced the first seven Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) value pathways, which will be used to streamline MIPS reporting requirements in the future.  Read More

Healthcare workers already had a high rate of stress and burnout, but the COVID-19 pandemic has greatly exacerbated the problem. In response, HHS is using $103 million from the pandemic relief fund in an attempt to help reduce burnout and provide mental health services to U.S. healthcare workers.  Read More

According to a new study, nearly 90 percent of physicians reported that data interoperability should be a priority at their healthcare organization right now. With enhanced interoperability and streamlined patient data exchange, providers can bolster patient-centered care delivery for improved outcomes.  Read More

Less than a year after CMS finalized the three-year phaseout of the inpatient-only (IPO) list to be completed by 2024, the agency is looking to reverse course, according to the 2022 OPPS proposed rule. In addition, CMS says it intends to increase hospital compliance with its price transparency policies by increasing financial penalties for certain facilities.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The top revenue cycle key performance indicators (KPIs) are evolving as more organizations use automation to pinpoint high-value operations to improve revenue cycle management. Leaders have identified the number of days a claim sits in accounts receivable, the number of past due patient bills, and initial denials rates as top revenue cycle KPIs.  Read More

CMS released its annual proposed changes to the Physician Fee Schedule for 2022, which expands certain Medicare telehealth provisions, updates the payment rate for physician services, implements changes to the Quality Payment Program, among other updates.  Read More

The COVID-19 pandemic pushed people to embrace new avenues of care, and take greater control of their own health, according to a new study from CVS Health. Of those surveyed, more than 75% of people said the pandemic led them to pay more attention to their health overall, while 50% said they felt the stay-at-home orders under the pandemic helped them achieve their health goals.  Read More

After a spike at the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, telehealth use has stabilized at levels 38 times higher than before the pandemic. This strong continued uptake, along with favorable patient responses, and new investments in the technology will propel the growth of telehealth in 2021, according to a report. 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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Revenue cycle management optimization is a top priority for financial leaders coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic. Both volumes and revenues are trending towards pre-pandemic levels, which has put pressure on health care organizations to revamp their processes to ensure a smooth revenue cycle in the future. Here are three strategies provider organizations have executed in the past year for revenue cycle management optimization.  Read More

A major rule that bans surprise medical bills has also outlawed policies that let insurers retroactively deny emergency department claims. CMS has released an interim final rule that prohibits balance billing and includes several provisions requiring providers to notify patients of new consumer protections. But tucked into the 411-page regulation, the first in a series, is a provision that targets a controversial practice where insurers deny an ED claim if the diagnosis isn’t considered an emergency.  Read More

A new study led by the Cleveland Clinic found that patient satisfaction with their virtual engagements with clinicians is comparable to in-person care. The average overall satisfaction score was 4.4 out of 5, with nearly 82% of respondents saying their virtual visit was as good as an in-person visit with a clinician. In fact, more than half of the respondents agreed that their virtual visit was better than an in-person one.  Read More

• CMS has unveiled a new value-based payment model seeking to reduce health disparities in end-stage renal disease. The model is part of CMS' proposed ESRD prospective payment system rule and would modify the current ESRD Treatment Choices Model's benchmarking and scoring methodology to try to incentivize dialysis providers to lower disparities in home dialysis and kidney transplant rates among patients from disadvantaged communities.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


After a year of significant disruption, U.S. physician groups are starting to see signs of financial recovery according to a new report from Kaufman Hall. Physician groups across the country continued to see key performance metrics return to near pre-pandemic levels in the first quarter of 2021, suggesting an end in sight to the volatility driven by COVID-19 that rocked practices throughout 2020.  Read More

Some experts argue that in order to achieve alternative payment models that improve care quality and yield lower costs, payers may need to implement patient-centered models designed by physicians. Moving away from a one-size-fits-all APM model and focusing on condition-based models that include a variety of inpatient and outpatient treatments and procedures can reduce barriers and improve costs and patient health outcomes.  Read More

Independent physicians are becoming increasingly rare in the United States. A new report revealed that hospitals and corporate entities, which include insurers or private equity groups, now own nearly half of the physician practices in this country and employ nearly 70% of U.S. physicians.  Read More

Physicians spend significant time performing nonpatient-facing tasks like documentation, that are necessary but ultimately take time away from one-to-one patient care. Technology solutions, such as those powered by artificial intelligence, can reduce the amount of time spent away from the patient, vastly improving both the patient and physician experience.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


The new CMS data interoperability rule will take effect on July 1st, which aims to free data from silos to promote interoperability between payers and providers. The mandate represents a step forward for patients being able to access insightful, actionable health care data in a timely fashion, so they can make better decisions about their health. Good health information exchange can also reduce the burden of certain administrative processes, such as prior authorization.  Read More

When looking at hospital-insurer contracts, researchers found that fixed-rate contracts correlate with lower costs and prices compared to discounted charges contracts. To evaluate the relationship between hospital-insurer contracts and hospital performance, the study looked at general acute care hospitals and noted the different types of contracts as well as outcomes such as prices, costs, charges, and length of stays.  Read More

While the covid-19 pandemic has taken an incredible toll, we’re starting to see a few positive side effects that could have lasting implications. The pandemic has given us a glimpse into the emergence of a new kind of patient, one that is more engaged and active, and who has the potential to drive improved care for decades to come.  Read More

Amazon's cloud division launched a health care accelerator to boost startups' growth in cloud technologies and enable early-stage companies to tap into AWS' technical and commercial expertise. The program will focus on technologies such as remote patient monitoring, data analytics, patient engagement, voice technology, and virtual care.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Providers widely anticipate telehealth use will grow after the pandemic. But for these solutions to be optimized and not just utilized, regulations must align. Barriers to optimizing telehealth solutions were abundant prior to the pandemic, but many regulatory flexibilities, including equal reimbursement and relaxed HIPAA regulations, allowed use of the technologies to take off.  Read More

The country’s largest physician organization is taking steps to rein in bureaucratic prior authorization requirements that can lead to delayed and disruptive treatment for patients. At a meeting this week, the American Medical Association’s (AMA) delegates adopted new policies specifically targeting peer-to-peer review of prior authorization decisions and the particular burden of prior authorization during a public health emergency.  Read More

After modest uptake for nearly three decades, hospital at home programs are now growing faster across the country due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has improved reimbursement for hospital at home services and opened up opportunities for virtual hospital at home programs. But, selecting appropriate patients is one of the keys to success for these programs to thrive.  Read More

Health care has remained a top target for cybercriminals and as attacks become increasingly more disruptive, many providers are still struggling to understand the threat landscape and just what security measures to prioritize. It’s become increasingly clear that there is no silver bullet technology to completely protect a health care organization. Providers must instead prioritize proactive policies and plans to better defend their networks.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Advancements made in the use of digital tools like telehealth, remote patient monitoring, and predictive analytics have been touted throughout the pandemic for helping health care organizations address the access challenges caused by months of limited in-person patient contact at many facilities. But it's critical that stakeholders ensure these innovations make life easier, not harder, for clinical and administrative workers.  Read More

Patient experience consulting and surveying firm Press Ganey got a big leg up after the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) approved it to administer the Primary Care First (PCF) Patient Experience of Care Surveys. CMS developed PCF as a means to improve clinical quality and patient experience, as well as cut down on healthcare costs, within the primary care setting.  Read More

Amid significant backlash from providers, UnitedHealthcare is delaying its new emergency department coverage policy, which would allow the insurer to retroactively deny ED claims it determines are non-emergent. The policy was set to take effect July 1 in fully insured commercial plans but will be pushed back until at least the end of the national public health emergency period for COVID-19.  Read More

A recent report found that 70% of acute care hospitals allowed inpatients to access their health data using a mobile phone or other software applications in 2019, which represents a more than 50% jump from 2018. Similarly, in 2019 75% of hospitals enabled inpatients to view their more detailed clinical notes in their patient portal, an increase of more than 30% from 2018, as federal regulations continue to incentivize data sharing.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


Even before COVID-19, 250-bed hospitals lost $4.7–$11 million per year from mid–revenue cycle leakage. Now, pandemic-fueled volume losses and razor-thin margins mean hospitals can no longer afford to lose out on that earned revenue. Educated guesses and imprecise, stopgap efforts aren't enough. Revenue cycles need precise strategies to identify exactly where leakage occurs and implement solid processes to stop leakage before it starts.  Read More

Health care organizations have a responsibility to create an environment where patients feel like it's safe to raise their hand if something has gone wrong. But, why aren't they speaking up? According to a recent study, the reasons vary from wanting to simply put the event behind them to not believing it will do any good. Hospitals and health systems have placed an emphasis recently on getting patients and families to speak up when they've experienced medical harm such as a misdiagnosis.  Read More

• According to some health care leaders, the pandemic has reinforced the reality of racial disparities in the U.S. health system, but that story remains difficult to see in the data, which is still inconsistently collected and reported across the country. This week, a coalition of researchers and advocates launched a tool they hope will fill some of those gaps. The Health Equity Tracker is a portal that collects, analyzes, and makes visible data on some of the inequities entrenched in U.S. medicine.  Read More

In the past few years, big tech companies and retail pharmacy chains have scaled up their consumer-minded healthcare offerings. These efforts, from companies such as Amazon, Walmart, and CVS, promise to improve affordability and convenience for patients. However, it's unclear whether these consumer-minded healthcare pushes have made it easier for Americans to access the care they need and stay healthy.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.

Here's The Latest in Health Care:


To recover from COVID-19’s financial downturn and to improve patient outcomes, health care organizations are prioritizing health IT and EHR optimization. According to a recent survey, EHR optimization is a big-ticket item for most CIOs in 2021, with nearly 60 percent saying that getting the most out of existing IT purchases, like EHR systems, is their health care organization’s biggest financial goal post-COVID-19.  Read More

The root causes of nursing burnout are varied, as are potential solutions for it, but given that nurses are frequently responsible for clinical documentation, it's perhaps not surprising that reducing documentation burden is frequently cited as a key strategy for fighting burnout. Whether it's through automating pieces of documentation or by taking an outside-the-box look at workflows, fighting burnout associated with EHR should be a high priority for health care organizations this year.  Read More

CMS announced it will be reweighting the cost performance category under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) from 15 percent to zero percent for the 2020 performance period to provide additional COVID-19 relief and account for the lack of reliable data. Those points will be redistributed to other categories and will impact reimbursements paid out to eligible clinicians in 2022.  Read More

Consumers might assume their health care providers are securely maintained, HIPAA-guarded fortresses. They might also expect to be made aware if and when those protections were breached, especially by criminals, but that is not necessarily the case. Without more security and transparency, health care organizations run the risk of damaging one of health care’s most valuable assets — patient trust.  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, medical billing revenue cycle management, telehealthsecure messaging, clinical communication, and care navigation software.