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Archive for July, 2012

In the Wake of the SCOTUS’s Affordable Care Act Decision: What’s Next for Health Care Providers?

July 23, 2012 Leave a comment

Health care providers are now faced with the task of adopting and complying with ACA provisions and associated regulations. These provisions include grants, new voluntary programs, payment reductions for poor quality performance, and increased fraud and abuse enforcement. The changes to the health care system found in the ACA are diverse and impact many sectors. There are many new and proposed regulations and a number of upcoming deadlines to be aware of.

See on www.ober.com

ABC Action News I-Team: Independent study shows Florida doctors continue to mark up drugs for hurt workers

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

A new study released Thursday, July 19, 2012, gives more ammunition to Florida business owners trying to get state legislators to close a legal loophole that they say allows physicians to gouge them when treating injured workers.

The ABC Action News I-Team exposed the problem — and the political money that appears to be keeping the loophole wide open — in a report last February. A bill designed to close the loophole died again during this year’s legislative session in Tallahassee.

The new study by the Workers Compensation Research Institute found that 62 percent of all prescription drug spending in Florida for injured workers was paid to physicians who dispensed medications from their offices — not to pharmacies, which typically charge much less for the same pills.

The cost discrepancy hits employers who must pay physicians the higher prices. Critics of the loophole say the larger workers compensation premiums may limit the ability of Florida employers to hire more workers to boost the state’s sluggish economy.

See on abcactionnews.com.

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Gov. Rick Scott ranks Florida counties’ health departments – Tampa Bay Times

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Another arm of state government can be added to the growing list of agencies ranked at the behest of Gov. Rick Scott.

Through a public record request, the Times/Herald has obtained a copy of a report that rates the performance of the state’s 67 county health departments. 

Indian River County, with a raw score of 58 points out of 69, is at the top of the list. Liberty County’s 23 points is the lowest. Hillsborough County ranked below the average score of 47, and was next-to-last among major metro counties.

The Department of Health, which came up with the ranking system at Scott’s request, says the document completed in December is still a work in progress. The report includes health data, as well as the result of customer satisfaction and employee surveys. It also factors in financial stability and leadership effectiveness.

See on www.tampabay.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

HHS: Hospitals ignoring requirements to report errors

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Hospitals are ignoring state regulations that require them to report cases in which medical care harmed a patient, making it almost impossible for health care providers to identify and fix preventable problems, a report to be released today by the Department of Health and Human Services inspector general shows.

Researchers say the hospitals’ failure to report problems isn’t a sign of a coverup but rather the staffs’ ignorance of the regulations and what they need to report.

Hope for the future lies in electronic health records, Adler says, because “we may be able to prevent events, we may be able to ameliorate events, and (electronic records) may become your surveillance system.”

Incentives included in the 2010 federal health care law to encourage more hospitals to use electronic records may change how errors are tracked and addressed, say researchers of the inspector general’s study.

The health care system is “right on the cusp” of identifying “safety issues just as they happen,” said David Classen, a University of Utah associate professor of medicine and infectious disease.

See on www.usatoday.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

AHCA, therapist fight over notes | Top Story | Health News Florida

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Florida’s Agency for Health Care Administration has been trying to shut down Hillandale Assisted Living, a home for mentally disabled adults, for over a year — ever since The Miami Herald reported its long record of abuse and neglect.

But the Pasco County assisted-living facility (ALF) has demanded a full evidentiary hearing. The resulting legal battle has a Tampa mental-health counselor pinned in the middle.

Joanna Theiss Mulder, who counsels residents of Hillandale and other ALFs, has been ordered to testify and turn over her patient records under an AHCA subpoena. Mulder refuses.

In court papers filed on Wednesday, Mulder argued that it would actually violate the law for her to release any records without her patients’ consent.

The patients named on Muller’s subpoena “specifically object to AHCA’s effort to access their records as an invasion of their privacy,” said the papers filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court.

The irony is that both AHCA’s attorney and Mulder see themselves as protectors of the mentally-ill clients who live at Hillandale, judging from their legal arguments.

See on healthnewsflorida.org

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Kaiser’s Health Reform Quiz — Test your knowledge of the law

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

The health reform law promises to deliver big changes in the U.S. health care system. But, as with other sweeping pieces of legislation, it can be hard to get the real facts about what it does. And it is all too easy for misinformation about the law to spread.

Take the Kaiser’s Foundation’s short, 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of the law, and then find out how you compare to the rest of the country, as represented by the findings of the Kaiser Family Foundation’s monthly Health Tracking Poll.

See on healthreform.kff.org

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

Patients seek Internet information to start dialogue with physicians about their care – amednews.com

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Richard Kravitz, M.D. co-wrote a study that appeared online May 16 in the Journal of Health Communication that he hopes will help other physicians become more at ease when dealing with Internet-searching patients.

One of the most important things doctors should know, he said, is that patients aren’t going online because they don’t trust their physician or are skeptical of their diagnosis. They are searching the Internet to become more engaged in their care.

Dr. Kravitz said patients, especially those with rare conditions, can be a good source of new information for physicians. But while patients may be proficient at finding material online, the doctor’s role is to help them sort through it and assess whether it’s credible, he said.

“Doctors should try to relax about this and just engage in conversations with patients about the information they bring in, some of which will be truthful and relevant, and others won’t be,” Dr. Kravitz said. “We can’t do anything else except to have a candid dialogue about it.”

See on www.ama-assn.org

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Finding a Consultant to Help a Physician’s Practice with EHR Selection, Implementation — www.physicianspractice.com

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Here are some of the ways a consultant can help you get your EHR picked out and implemented seamlessly.

1. You and your office can meet with a single person, at a single time, and give them your list of wants, needs, concerns, and special considerations.

2. Your consultant can contact and sort through the 100s of EHR companies out there and determine a concise list that serves your needs and specialty most appropriately. Your consultant can even handle all of the necessary preliminary software demos and meetings single handedly.

3. Consultants will arrange for you to view and choose from a minimal list of companies/systems.

4. A consultant will stay by your side and negotiate pricing, warranty, tech support, and arrange implementation and assist you and your staff in getting everything started and converted.

5. Have I mentioned one point of contact instead of 2 to 3 per company you speak with?

6. Consultants provide assistance in implementation. They will hold your hand (or your nurse’s hand) until you are ready to take the training wheels off.

See on member.ubmmedica.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Five Strategies to Survive as a Physician Under the ACA — www.physicianspractice.com

July 20, 2012 Leave a comment

Recent surveys about physicians leaving practice or going out of business in droves were done in the heat of the moment of the Supreme Court ruling. Nonetheless, they signify a long-term concern, uncertainty, and fear, and there is good reason for all three.

Everyone in the practice and allied health world should take the title of the legislation seriously — The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). It does not say physician protection nor does it say it will be affordable for you. Most practices will suffer serious consequences, or fail without proper planning.

The safest course of action is to presume the ACA will continue either in whole or in part. Any replacement is a blank page, and either way, physicians will be negatively affected.

Here are five things you must do to protect your practice:

1. Get involved.

2. If you are a primary-care physician, take care in becoming dependent on Medicaid even though they will be paying Medicare rates.

3. If you are not a primary-care physician, act now to develop and implement strategies to manage your payer mix.

4. Improve your quality of service.

5. Cut every ounce of fat in your operation and invest the savings in quality, image and marketing to keep and add as many privately insured patients as possible.

See on member.ubmmedica.com

For an aggregation of other articles on Hot Topics in Healthcare Law, go to my magazine on Scoop.it – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law and Regulation and my newspaper on Paper.li – Hot Topics in Healthcare Law.

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Hospitals Reaping Financial Benefits of Telehealth – HealthLeaders Media

July 19, 2012 Leave a comment

Telemedicine, or telehealth, is the practice of patient caregiving through virtual office visits and virtual rounding. It encompasses the use of various information technologies and clinical applications that capture medically significant data, diagnoses, and consults. Numerous technologies are used in telehealth ranging from standard telephone connections, video conferencing, robotics, healthcare kiosks, PC webcams, iPads, and smartphones.

The passing of the years has softened resistance by patients to using this approach. Patients are now willing to forego an in-person visit with the doctor in order to get the care they need swiftly, without having to travel, and in some instances at a lower cost. Moreover, the reimbursement environment is changing. 

“Telemedicine can lower healthcare costs by reducing avoidable hospital visits and providing regular access to care in remote parts of the state, and it’s more convenient for patients,” says Georgia Partnership for TeleHealth CEO Paula Guy. The nonprofit telehealth provider works with more than 350 partners and 175 specialists and other healthcare providers and has handled some 40,000 patient encounters as of 2011.

Before GPT was started in 2005, the Georgia southeastern public health district realized it had a problem: Children with special needs in rural areas were having difficulty getting access to specialty care. It was decided that telehealth could address the care deficit but the state didn’t want to wait for providers to establish telehealth programs. At the time, Georgia payers weren’t reimbursing for telehealth so providers lacked the incentive to shell out the capital for the technology-driven systems needed. Instead, the public health district secured two federal grants.

We were able to bring all the players together into one coordinated telehealth network,” says Guy.

GPT operates a Web-based system that allows doctors and nurses to schedule visits, and it provides marketing, education, and training on telehealth; plus the system permits providers to electronically share medical records and other data.  The undertaking has been so successful that GPT is working to duplicate the program in Alabama, Florida, and other states, she says.

Once it was established, Guy explains, the statewide telehealth network helped young and old alike. In 2010, for instance, in rural Nashville, Ga., 44 children arrived at the emergency department with asthma-related illnesses. So, as of 2011, school-based telemedicine clinics were added to area schools and last year only one child landed in the hospital ED, she explains.

Children with chronic conditions may not get the specialty care needed, but through these clinics they can be routinely checked by specialists—ensuring better continuity of care while also helping parents avoid work absences.

GPT has also placed telehealth into nursing homes.

See on www.healthleadersmedia.com

For an aggregation of other articles on improving healthcare, go to my internet magazine Scoop.it! Changing Health for the Better.

Categories: Improving Healthcare
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