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February 2018
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CMS grants exceptions for quality reporting to ASCs in Harvey’s path

Editor's Notes The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will grant exceptions for quality reporting requirements for ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) located in the path of Hurricane Harvey, the September 1 ASCA News reports. ASCs in affected counties and parishes in Texas and Louisiana will get exceptions without having…

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By: Judy Mathias
September 6, 2017
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Price transparency tool did not reduce spending for California public employees, retirees

Editor's Note Offering a price transparency tool to California public employees and retirees that focused on services such as lab tests, office visits, and advanced imaging services did not lower spending, this study finds. Only 12% of employees used it in the first 15 months after it was introduced, and…

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By: Judy Mathias
September 5, 2017
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California county goes surgery shopping

Editor's Note California's Santa Barbara County and other government employers are joining private employers in shopping for lower-cost bundled surgical care, even if it means going out of town, the September 1 Kaiser Health News reports. The voluntary program that includes incentives such as waived copays and deductibles as well…

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By: Judy Mathias
September 5, 2017
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Costs vary widely for common surgical procedures

Editor's Note There is wide cost variation for five common surgical procedures in the US, this study finds. Cost observed-to-expected ratios ranged widely: 14.9-fold for colectomy 5.5-fold for coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) 12.5-fold for lung resection 10.6-fold for total knee arthroplasty 28.0-fold for cesarean section. High-cost hospitals were more…

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By: Judy Mathias
August 30, 2017
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Flooding from Harvey prompts HHS to declare public health emergency

Editor's Note Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, MD, has declared a public health emergency because of flooding and lingering rain in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, the August 28 Healthcare Finance News reports. This declaration gives healthcare providers in Texas and Louisianian greater flexibility in treating people displaced by the…

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By: Judy Mathias
August 29, 2017
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Payment variation in CABG episodes of care can affect bundled payments

Editor's Note Wide variation was found in 90-day coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) episode payments for Medicare and private payer patients in this study. The differences were driven by increased use of evaluation and management services, higher utilization of inpatient rehabilitation, and patients with multiple readmissions. In the analysis of…

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By: Judy Mathias
August 25, 2017
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Voluntary bundled-payment models shifting to outpatient procedures

Editor's Note Though the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is rolling back mandatory bundled-payment programs, it is expected to release more voluntary, outpatient-focused programs, which shifts power from hospitals to physicians, the August 21 Healthcare Finance News reports. Physician-focused does not require a hospitalization, which creates a complete…

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By: Judy Mathias
August 24, 2017
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ECRI Institute releases free white paper on value analysis

Editor's Note The ECRI Institute on August 23 announced a new free white paper, “Value Analysis: Best Practices for Navigating the Evidence Maze,” to help value analysis committees bring an objective, systematic approach to the decision-making process for health technologies and interventions. The white paper includes three case studies that…

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By: Judy Mathias
August 23, 2017
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Ransomware attacks: How to protect your medical device systems

Ransomware is a form of computer malware used to make data, software, and information technology (IT) assets unavailable to users. It uses encryption of data to hold systems hostage with an associated ransom demand, often in Bitcoin (a virtual currency that is difficult to trace). This encryption is used to…

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By: OR Manager
August 22, 2017
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More than 800 ICD-10 code changes coming

Editor's Note ChartLogic (Salt Lake City) is reporting that as of August 9, 2017, a total of  419 ICD-10 codes were added, 273 codes were revised, and 123 codes were being deleted, according to the August 15 Becker’s Hospital CFO Report. The changes are slated for implementation on October 1,…

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By: Judy Mathias
August 21, 2017
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