The American Hospital association agrees in a letter to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius and the Attorney General Eric Holder that EMR-assisted cloning and upcoding should not be tolerated, but retorts that CMS has ignored its repeated recommendations to expand E/M (evaluation and management) codes to create a national standard for hospital ED and clinic services. My opinion: the election-sensitive, administration-friendly HHS’ers got blindsided by a Center for Public Integrity article that insinuated but didn’t prove that a shift to higher complexity codes means that EDs and physician practices are gaming the system to the tune of $11 billion, so given too little time between now and the November 6 election to actually do something useful (like identify and prosecute someone who’s actually guilty), HHS just went public with meaningless finger-wagging to make it appear that they’re on top of the situation. HHS keeps bragging on how great their fraud detection systems are (which they should be, given the hundreds of millions paid to fat cat contractors to develop them), yet they apparently trust journalists more than their own armies of bureaucrats to tell them they have a problem. The reimbursement system is even worse than the tax laws in being a confusing hodgepodge of rules that nobody, even CMS, really understands or can interpret consistently. Some providers are undoubtedly committing fraud and the 99% honest ones would love to see them shut down and punished. However, as with tax loopholes, there’s nothing illegal or immoral about taking the maximum benefit that the law allows. There’s a reason that crime syndicates are moving from drug dealing to Medicare fraud: payment is quick and rarely questioned, the money is great, and the risk of actually going to jail is almost zero.
From High Roller: “Re: QuadraMed. Quantum is just the first QuadraMed domino to fall. Franciscan Partners isn’t interested in holding on to the rest of the company forever, so it won’t be long before the other pieces are sold off. QuadraMed has a large enough client base, so they could milk their revenue stream for awhile. More likely, Franciscan will look to sell what’s left to someone like Allscripts who’d be interested in having a larger client base to sell into.”
HIStalk Announcements and Requests
Highlights from the last week on HIStalk Practice: patients want more online access to their health records but most doctors don’t offer the option. Lack of staff impacts EHR adoption, especially in smaller practices. Tips for using an EHR as a marketing tool and to increase patient satisfaction. Parents are more likely to fill children’s e-prescribed prescriptions than paper ones. Physicians are working fewer hours and seeing fewer patients than they were four years ago. I am looking for some MGMA picks. Thanks for reading.
Welcome to new HIStalk Platinum Sponsor Emdat, which offers hybrid clinical documentation and transcription solutions that improve the productivity and satisfaction of EHR-using physicians. Instead of pointing and clicking, physicians continue to use the most efficient method of documenting patient encounters – dictation. Emdat’s DaRT system automatically tags sections of transcription content (chief complaint, medical history, etc.) and then seamlessly auto-populates discrete information directly into the EHR just as though the physician entered it directly using structured documentation. Its Emdat Mobile solution not only allows physicians to document encounters on the go, but provides a more patient-friendly way to document during an encounter. Loyola University Health System uses it with Epic and says the setup was simple, reducing transcription turnaround time by 50% and allowed doctors to continue dictation, which they say is faster and better for patient care. Thanks to Emdat for supporting HIStalk.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
As reported earlier today, Nuance will acquire QuadraMed’s Quantim product line. You have to wonder if Nuance didn’t rush the announcement a bit following our Wednesday mention of the deal on Twitter and HIStalk: early Thursday morning Nuance posted these (now corrected) announcements referring to “QuadaMed” and “Quantrim.”
The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority approves a $150,000 grant for Health Catalyst, a business accelerator for companies creating health-related software, including life-sciences and HIT companies. Health Catalyst will nurture five startups a year by providing work space, mentoring, and seed funding.
Evergreen Health (WA) selects MEDSEEK’s ecoSmart Patient Precisioning solution for predictive analytics.
Adventist Health selects MedeAnalytics’ Patient Access Intelligence solution for point-of-service cash collection across its 16 hospitals.
Mark Burgess (Cerner) joins Allscripts as director of solutions management.
Fletcher Allen Health Care (VT) hires Adam P. Buckley, MD (Beth Israel Medical Center) to be the organization’s first CMIO.
Announcements and Implementations
Wake Forest Baptist Health (NC) goes live on Epic.
Wellcentive announces Advance Risk Manager, a predictive risk modeling system for population health management that allows providers to focus on patients with specific risk profiles.
The three largest health systems in St. Louis join the Missouri Health Connection HIE.
Government and Politics
Rep. Mike Honda (D-CA) will introduce a bill to set up an Office of Mobile Health at the FDA to provide recommendations on mobile health issues. The legislation also calls for the creation of a support program at the HHS to advise app developers on privacy regulations and for a low-interest loan program for physician offices to purchase new technology.
The West Health Institute is developing Sense4Baby, a wireless and portable fetal monitor for high-risk pregnancies in remote clinics. The system, which is being piloted in Mexico, sends the captured data over a cellular network to the patient’s physician.
The Seattle Times covers Caradigm, the Microsoft-GE joint venture whose headquarters opened this week in Bellevue,WA. Positive comments from Providence about Amalga are included, along with less enthusiastic ones from Swedish CMIO Tom Wood, who says he’s not sure how they can add a layer on top of EMRs without a lot of cooperation.
UMass Memorial Health Care (MA) will eliminate 140 positions, some of them in IT, in seeking $80 million in cost reductions.
John Reynolds, the former CEO of Hospital for Special Surgery (NY), is arrested for racketeering, charged with soliciting kickbacks from prospective vendors and extorting $300,000 from a hospital employee in return for arranging an annual bonus.
Weird News Andy wonders how this is possible. A women who is “internally decapitated” when her skull is torn from her spine in a car accident not only survives, but is basically back to normal.
Here’s a new video from St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, featuring patients, employees, and celebrities singing “Hey, Jude” to highlight National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Some of those featured are Jennifer Aniston, Betty White, Robin Williams, and Michael Jordan.
Two-thirds of CHIME members report staff shortages and are in most need of more specialists to implement and support clinical applications.
A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association concludes that CPOE was the main challenge among hospitals failing to achieve MU in the program’s first year.
- TELUS Health brings its TELUSHealth.com portal live to showcase its solutions that link Canadian patients to their providers.
- Elsevier unveils its EduCode Clinical Documentation Improvement eLearning curriculum for ICD-10 at next week’s AHIMA meeting.
- New York eHealth Collaborative spotlights five health IT champions at the NYeC gala October 15.
- Muhannad Samaan, MD of Aultman Inpatient Medicine discusses how Ingenious Med’s charge capture software improved patient hand-off and communications.
- Software Magazine ranks Macadamian #435 on its Software 500 list, which is based on revenues of the world’s largest software and services suppliers.
- Sandlot Solutions releases a report on using data and analytics to improve healthcare delivery.
- Skylight Healthcare Systems integrates its Service Recovery process with Vocera’s communication devices.
- Optum launches its Optum ICD-10 Core Education program.
- TI combines its DM8148 system on-a-chip with Imprivata OneSign to provide out-of-the-box strong user authentication into any software application.
- McKesson expands its Intelligent Coding portfolio to include observation services.
- First Databank executives Keith Fisher, MS and Patrick Lupinetti, JD will present educational sessions at next month’s AMCP 2012 Educational Conference.
- Vitera Healthcare Solutions reports record attendance at this month’s VIBE conference in Orlando.
- 3M Health Information Systems adds 18 physician education modules to its Web-based curriculum to address ICD-10 readiness.
EPtalk by Dr. Jayne
Don’t forget — October 3 is the last day for Eligible Professionals to begin their 90-day reporting period for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program, aka Meaningful Use. One of my buddies in the consulting business has been sharing e-mails he is receiving from providers. Today’s special: “I would like to be Meaningful Use but do not know to begin. I need the money. Please send tips for me to start?” I guess that’s someone’s idea of a consulting RFP.
An American Medical News article lists common EHR blunders. I’ve seen all of these in various forms across practices from small to large. Topping the list: lack of infrastructure, lack of workflow assessment, lack of training, lack of buy-in, failure to communicate with patients about delays during the transition, and failure to appropriately integrate the computer into the patient-physician relationship.
News flash: Nearly one-third of US medical school students who initially planned to enter primary care ended up switching to a more lucrative specialty. Surveys of students in New York show that “medical students who anticipated high levels of debt upon graduation and placed a premium on high income were more likely to enter a high-paying medical specialty.” Really.
In similar news, the US medical schools that still don’t have Family Medicine departments are starting to get with the program. Some of these schools are big name and I know all too well what it’s like to attend one. Now we just need to get all medical schools to incorporate informatics into their programs. Let’s teach budding doctors (and nurses, and everyone else) how to leverage technology to better care for patients rather than fighting it or trying to undermine it. Although the new generation seems tech savvy, I see too many students trying to short-cut their documentation.
Mashable lists “10 Office Technologies on Their Way Out.” The list of items they predict will vanish in the next five years includes obvious items like fax machines, tape recorders, and the Rolodex. I’m not sure about desktop computers, cubicles, and standard working hours. There are a lot of entrenched management types out there who will resist. Although I won’t miss formal business attire, which includes pantyhose (#7), I’d like to lobby to keep fashionable shoes part of the equation. If I see one more pair of flip-flops in the office, I just might scream.
The Greater Atlanta area is a hotbed of health IT vendors, so I hope that none of you were recipients of the free kittens given away in the parking lot of the McDonough Walmart. Apparently they were rabid.
As Mr. H mentioned earlier this week, HIMSS registration is open and the room supplies are dwindling. I’m glad he gave me a reminder. I booked tonight, yet wasn’t able to get my preferred hotel or even my preferred dates. I’m leaving a day early, but that’s probably OK since I have to take vacation to attend this year. My hospital no longer has a conference budget or paid professional development days, so I’m not complaining about spending one less night in an overpriced hotel. Plus, I was able to snag a super-cheap plane ticket so I can afford some hot new shoes for Histalkapalooza.