States Fail To Make Health Care Prices Transparent To Consumers

March 25, 2014

Forty-five of 50 states – 90 percent – fail to adequately make price information available to their consumers even as the Affordable Care Act, employers and insurance companies push for greater transparency, according to a new analysis.

In their “Report Card on State Price Transparency Laws,” the nonprofit Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute and Catalyst for Payment Reform, gave 45 states a failing grade with the highest grades awarded to Maine and Massachusetts, which each received a “B.” No states received an “A.” States with high grades generally share information about inpati

via States Fail To Make Health Care Prices Transparent To Consumers.


Repurposing Closed Hospitals as For-Profit Medical Malls – NYTimes.com

March 6, 2014

New Jersey has been losing hospitals for more than two decades; 26 have closed in that time, many in poor, urban neighborhoods that are left with an empty shell where a hospital once stood.

But in recent years, a few developers have purchased some of these abandoned structures, reopening them as private medical complexes that offer many of the services the hospitals once provided.

via Repurposing Closed Hospitals as For-Profit Medical Malls – NYTimes.com.


Big data: Pinpointing ICD-10 risk to maximize conversion | Government Health IT

February 23, 2014

Examining the same categories, Baptist conducted a financial analysis of two years worth of 835 and 847 data across 3 inpatient and 2 oupatient facilities, involving more than 1 million claims. “The amount of data we had was far more impactful when you actually slice and dice it,” said revenue cycle director Jeri Pack, adding that it found the most commonly used ICD-9 diagnosis codes will “explode” 5 times and procedure codes 20 times when ICD-10 takes hold, representing a $1.1 million reimbursement variation.

via Big data: Pinpointing ICD-10 risk to maximize conversion | Government Health IT.


Nursing Homes Are Exposed to Hacker Attacks – WSJ.com

February 18, 2014

Health-care organizations increasingly are having trouble protecting data because medical equipment, such as dialysis and imaging machines, can be serviced through the Internet. That often is so the machines’ software can be administered or updated remotely. There also are many more entry points where cybercriminals potentially can enter a health-care facility to try to access electronic medical records or billing systems, which have credit-card data.

The push to digitize medical records means that a treasure trove of data is online for hackers to target.

Armed with administrator passwords, for example, it would be easy to gain entry into the network of a health-care facility and install malicious software designed to capture passwords to the medical-records database, said John Pescatore, a director at the SANS Institute, a cybersecurity research and educational organization. He didn’t given any example in which such a breach had occurred….

Medical records sell for about $60 apiece on the black market, while credit-card information typically goes for about $20, said Sam Glines, the CEO of NorseCorp. Medical records are “more valuable because you can do more with it, including Medicare fraud and prescription fraud,” he said.

“The bad guys in the cyberuniverse have definitely set their sights on health-care records,” said Larry Ponemon, chairman of the Ponemon Institute, a privacy and data-protection research firm.

via Nursing Homes Are Exposed to Hacker Attacks – WSJ.com.


The Cost of Implementing ICD‐10 for Physician Practices

February 17, 2014

The Cost of ImplementingICD‐10forPhysicianPractices–Updating the 2008 Nachimson Advisors Study: AReportto theAmerican Medical Association (February 12, 2014)

Typical Small Practice: $56,639 ‐ $226,105  

Typical Medium Practice: $213,364 ‐ $824,735  

Typical Large Practice: $2,017,151 ‐ $8,018,364  

Full report.

 

 


Dimitri Linde: I Gave Away a Kidney. Would You Sell One? – WSJ.com

February 6, 2014

Two policies would address the shortfall of kidneys in the U.S.: instituting a priority-scoring system for donors and their kin and paying donors.

Israel pioneered the former in 2012. Prioritizing organ allocation by donor status—a system that economist Alex Tabarrok termed “no give, no take”—incentivized people to register as organ donors. It also removed a hurdle to living donation: The incentive to abstain because of a hypothetical (What if my son needs a kidney?) went away since the policy guarantees that a donor’s kin will be prioritized in the event that they need a transplant. The results? Both living and deceased donations have gone up, and the number of people who have died on the waitlist fell by 30% between 2010 and 2013.

To obviate the kidney shortage, we should heed the recommendation of Nobel Prize-winning economist Gary Becker and others by making it legal to compensate donors. Currently, the National Organ Transplant Act bans the “sale” of any human organs in the U.S. Those who oppose compensation object to its ramifications for donors and society. They argue that the poor will be exploited, and that people should give out of the goodness of their hearts.

But these lofty sentiments ignore the fact that 18 transplant candidates die each day. As the legal scholar Richard Epstein has put it: “Only a bioethicist could prefer a world in which we have 1,000 altruists per annum and over 6,500 excess deaths over one in which we have no altruists and no excess deaths.”

via Dimitri Linde: I Gave Away a Kidney. Would You Sell One? – WSJ.com.


New Rule Gives Patients Direct Access to Lab Results – WSJ.com

February 4, 2014

Clinical laboratories must give patients access to their own lab-test results upon request, without going through the physician who ordered them, according to a new federal rule announced Monday by the Department of Health and Human Services.

The rule, first proposed in 2011, is part of an Obama administration effort to give patients more control over their own health information.

\”Information like lab results can empower patients to track their health progress, make decisions with their health-care professionals and adhere to important treatment plans,\” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

The final rule amends two existing federal laws, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, known as HIPAA, and the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments, or CLIA, which regulates most of the clinical testing labs in the U.S.

via New Rule Gives Patients Direct Access to Lab Results – WSJ.com.


Brendan P. Foht: Is 13-Year-Old Jahi McMath Alive or Dead? – WSJ.com

January 3, 2014

To Nailah Winkfield, Jahi\’s mother, the insistence by doctors that her child has already died clashes with her belief that, in God\’s eyes, as long as her child\’s heart is beating, Jahi is still alive. As family members search for another facility to care for her, they have also pursued a legal battle to stop doctors from removing the ventilator that keeps her breathing. The family argues that the hospital\’s decision to declare Jahi dead is a violation of Ms. Winkfield\’s religious freedom.

via Brendan P. Foht: Is 13-Year-Old Jahi McMath Alive or Dead? – WSJ.com.


Don’t ban compensation for bone-marrow donors – Health – AEI

December 3, 2013

We write to comment on the October 2, 2013 proposal to amend 42 C.F.R. §121.13 with respect to compensation for donors of peripheral bone marrow stem cells. Because the notice of proposed rulemaking fails to offer an adequate justification for the proposed regulation, which would likely reduce the availability of life-saving bone marrow transplants, we respectfully recommend that the proposal be withdrawn.

via Don’t ban compensation for bone-marrow donors – Health – AEI.


Making Hospital Prices Matter – Forbes

October 31, 2013

In North Carolina, for example, the state legislature recently passed a law requiring hospitals to make several kinds of price information available, including the average amount they settle for when billing uninsured patients, and the average amount they charge to the largest insurers in the state. Massachusetts and New Hampshire have passed price transparency legislation of their own, legislation that was given a grade of A by The Healthcare Incentives Improvement Institute. I expect more states to pass similar legislation, meaning companies like OpsCost will soon have a larger number of numbers to plug into their user-friendly websites.

via Making Hospital Prices Matter – Forbes.


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