AAHAM eNewswatch
June. 8, 2011

AMA calls on CMS to revise ACO proposal, issue interim final rule
American Medical Association
The American Medical Association has submitted comments to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services on its proposed rule on Medicare Accountable Care Organizations. The AMA supports developing and testing ACOs as one of an array of payment and delivery innovations, but it has urged CMS to make significant changes to the proposed rule to allow all interested physicians to lead and participate.More

Hospitals push to reduce 4.4 million preventable re-admissions a year
The Wall Street Journal
Can a virtual nurse named Louise help keep patients from landing back in the hospital after they are discharged? The animated character on a computer screen, who explains medical instructions, is one of several new strategies hospitals are using to help patients make the transition to home. It's part of a push to reduce the 4.4 million hospital stays that are a result of potentially preventable re-admissions, which add more than $30 billion a year to the nation's healthcare tab.More

6 things to know about the HIPAA disclosures proposed rule
HealthLeaders Media
HIPAA experts say the major take-away from the HIPAA Privacy Rule disclosures proposed rule published May 31 in the Federal Register is the need to revisit existing auditing methods for disclosures of protected health information. But let's take a closer look.More

Hospitals turning to nocturnists to improve care
The Washington Post
Being in a hospital at night or over a weekend can be hazardous to your health, and even has a name: "The weekend effect." A raft of studies has documented higher rates of death, complications and medical errors affecting patients treated at night or on weekends. To bridge the chasm between the day and night shifts, hospitals are hiring a new breed of subspecialist called a "nocturnist" — an experienced doctor who works overnight taking care of patients outside the emergency room.More

Mystery shoppers would compare wait times to see doctors
American Medical News
The Department of Health and Human Services plans to assess how long patients typically must wait to see primary care physicians by secretly surveying practices using so-called mystery shoppers. The department has proposed using people posing as potential new patients to help gauge the availability of primary care physicians. HHS hopes the effort will help determine whether primary care doctors accept new privately insured patients more or less readily than they take on new Medicare or Medicaid patients. The department also wants to gauge the timeliness of available primary care services, and find out why certain availability may be limited.More

Hospital discharge instructions boost patient satisfaction
FierceHealthcare
Patients' satisfaction with hospital care rose 1.6 percent, according to a new HealthGrades report. Based on data from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services of nearly 3,800 hospitals from April 2009 to March 2010, the report showed 81 percent of patients said they were most satisfied at the time of hospital discharge because they received instructions.More

Can covered entities take advantage of the cloud and still comply with HIPAA?
iHealthBeat
Cloud computing offers significant efficiencies by outsourcing IT systems, along with the management and administration of those systems. This might include, for example, having data stored, processed and managed by the cloud computing provider. Although privacy and security issues affect any cloud user, the highly regulated healthcare industry should remain cautiously optimistic when weighing the financial benefits of the cloud against the potential compliance risks.More

Doctors tell government panel EHR tales of woe
Government Health IT via Healthcare IT News
The cost, physician practice size, and lack of technical resources still present barriers for small healthcare providers in adopting electronic health records and participating in the meaningful use incentive program.More

Medicare to open its claims data
Health Data Management
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has issued a proposed rule to make available standardized extracts of Medicare claims data to measure the performance of providers and suppliers. The rule, covering Medicare Parts A, B and D, is mandated under the Affordable Care Act. Qualified entities may receive the data for the sole purpose of evaluating providers and suppliers and to generate specified public reports, according to the proposed rule. The entities must pay a fee equal to the cost of making the data available, and must combine it with claims data from other sources when conducting evaluations.More