Amblitel News & Events

NEWS & EVENTS

Archive for January, 2013

Medicare Quality Reporting Penalty Expected to Strike Most Physicians

Added 01.29.13

Medicare’s top doctor, however, disputes the study commissioned by radiologists, saying additional new reporting options mean that most doctors will avoid reduced pay in 2015. Physicians could lose up to a total of $1.3 billion a year from their Medicare pay by not satisfactorily reporting quality measures to the program, researchers determined in an analysis of reporting trends. The loss would be the result of hundreds of thousands of physicians and other health professionals not participating in, or not meeting criteria for, the Medicare physician quality reporting system. Medicare payments will be cut 1.5% in 2015 — and 2% in 2016 and beyond — for every eligible physician who fails to meet PQRS requirements by sending quality data to the Centers for... more...

Surgical ‘Never Events’ Occur At Least 4,000 Times Annually

Added 01.29.13

Surgical “never events”— or occurrences that should never happen, such as operations on the wrong part of the body, or foreign objects left in the body after surgery — are happening at least 4,000 times per year, study results indicate. The study, conducted by Martin Makary, MD, MPH, and colleagues at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, revealed some startling results. The investigators estimate that surgeons in the United States leave a foreign object (for example, a sponge or towel) inside a patient's body after an operation 39 times a week, perform the wrong procedure on a patient 20 times a week, and operate on the wrong part of the body 20 times a week. Read the rest of this article from the... more...

Teva to Resume Propofol Production

Added 01.29.13

The welcome news should help alleviate shortages of the popular anesthetic. Teva Pharmaceutical Industries is reentering the propofol market after a nearly 3-year absence and should have product ready for distribution by the end of February, according to the American Society of Anesthesiologists. Teva stopped production of the short-acting anesthetic in 2010 after being embroiled in legal trouble following the hepatitis C Las Vegas outbreak caused by unsafe injection practices at several endoscopy centers, including the reuse of syringes to access vials of propofol and the reuse of those vials on subsequent patients. Read the rest of this article with links from Outpatient Surgery Magazine at: more...

Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) Payment Page of the CMS Website

Added 01.21.13

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) identifies and defines annually the Ambulatory Surgical Center (ASC) covered services  covered facility services that would be covered if furnished on an inpatient or outpatient basis in connection with a covered surgical procedure. Here's a link to the CMS website with these updated 2013 fees: more...

Obama Highlights Health Issues in Inaugural Speech

Added 01.21.13

WASHINGTON -- Healthcare received a couple of direct mentions from President Obama in his inauguration speech Monday, but he stood up for entitlement programs amid ongoing calls for changes. Read this article from MedPage Today at: more...

New Rule Protects Patient Privacy, Secures Health Information

Added 01.21.13

Enhanced standards improve privacy protections and security safeguards for consumer health data. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) moved forward today to strengthen the privacy and security protections for health information established under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (HIPAA). The final omnibus rule greatly enhances a patient’s privacy protections, provides individuals new rights to their health information, and strengthens the government’s ability to enforce the law. “Much has changed in health care since HIPAA was enacted over fifteen years ago,” said HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius. “The new rule will help protect patient privacy and safeguard patients’ health information in an ever expanding digital age.” The changes in the final rule-making provide the public with increased protection and... more...

MEDICARE FEE-FOR-SERVICE RECOVERY AUDIT PROGRAM MYTHS

Added 01.21.13

The CMS has published information on what they determine are myths surrounding the recovery Audit Program. Here's one: Myth: RACs deny every claim that they review. Fact: RACs identify underpayments and overpayments of claims paid under the Medicare program for services for which payment is made under Part A or B of tile XVII of the Social Security Act. This is accomplished through review of all claim and provider types and a review of claims/providers that have a high propensity for error based on the Comprehensive Error Rate Testing (CERT) program and other CMS analysis. Improper payments may result from: - Incorrect payment amounts - Non-covered services (including services that are not reasonable and necessary under section 1862(a)(1)(A) of the Social Security Act), - Incorrectly coded services... more...

Proposed Rule on the Disposal of Controlled Substances

Added 01.21.13

SUMMARY: This rule proposes requirements to govern the secure disposal of controlled substances by both DEA registrants and ultimate users. These regulations would implement the Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 (Pub. L. 111-273) by expanding the options available to collect controlled substances from ultimate users for purposes of disposal to include: Take-back events, mail-back programs, and collection receptacle locations. These proposed regulations contain specific language to continue to allow law enforcement agencies to voluntarily conduct take-back events, administer mail-back programs, and maintain collection receptacles. These regulations propose to allow authorized manufacturers, distributors, reverse distributors, and retail pharmacies to voluntarily administer mail-back programs and maintain collection receptacles. In addition, this proposed rule expands the authority of authorized retail pharmacies to voluntarily maintain collection... more...

Growth of ASCs Could Save Taxpayers Hundreds of Millions in Medicare Dollars by 2017

Added 01.17.13

As the number of surgery centers increases across the country, patients, payors and federal agencies may save significant dollars on healthcare, while still experiencing and promoting high-quality medical care, according to an ASCA report on study results from the American Journal of Gastroenterology (pdf). The research suggests that the growth of community-based ASCs could save taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars through Medicare alone over the next four years. Read the rest of this article and links to more information at Becker's ASC Review at: more...

CDC Warns of Unrecognized Fungal Infections

Added 01.17.13

Seemingly unaffected patients who were injected with contaminated methylprednisolone acetate (MPA) from the New England Compounding Center in Framingham, Mass., may be developing localized spinal or paraspinal infections, according to new information from the CDC based on diagnostic imaging. As a result, the CDC has issued a health alert. Read more from Outpatient Surgery Magazine at: more...