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Mississippi: Last in most things health, first in telemedicine

on Tue, 03/03/2015 - 22:35

By David Pittman, Politico

Mississippi has a sickly reputation.

The Magnolia State ranks at or near the bottom in most health rankings. Worst infant mortality and most kids born with low birth weight. Second-to-highest rate of obesity and cancer deaths; second from the last in diabetes outcomes.

But the state is a leader in one aspect of health care: telemedicine. The state’s only academic hospital has remote connections with 165 sites, providing specialized services to some of the state’s most far-flung, medically deprived cities and towns.

CMS Announces Intent to Engage in Rulemaking for EHR Incentive Program Changes for 2015

on Mon, 02/02/2015 - 14:46

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) intends to engage in rulemaking this spring to help ensure providers continue to meet meaningful use requirements.  In response to input from health care providers and other stakeholders, CMS is considering the following changes to the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs:

  1. Shortening the 2015 reporting period to 90 days to address provider concerns about their ability to fully deploy 2014 Edition software

  2. Realigning hospital reporting periods to the calendar year to allow eligible hospitals more time to

2015 PQRS Payment Adjustment and Providers who Rendered Services at RHCs/FQHCs

on Wed, 01/28/2015 - 23:25


On November 10, 2014, CMS began distributing letters to Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) eligible professionals (EPs) regarding the 2015 PQRS negative payment adjustment. The letter indicated that either an individual EP or the group practice that registered for the 2013 PQRS group practice reporting option (GPRO) did not satisfactorily report 2013 PQRS quality measures in order to avoid the 2015 PQRS negative adjustment and, therefore; all of their 2015 Medicare Part B Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) reimbursements will be subject to a 1.5% reduction.

CMS has received questions

Top 10 issues for physicians to watch in 2015

on Mon, 01/05/2015 - 16:55

The year ahead promises many changes and challenges for the medical profession. From taking on regulatory burdens to improving health outcomes for patients, 10 of the top issues physicians should monitor in the year ahead encompass the broad spectrum of today’s medical practice.


1. The administrative load and competing regulatory programs. Studies show that one of the greatest frustrations to physicians is the time and expense they must devote to administrative and regulatory requirements, pulling time away from patient care without a direct benefit to care delivery or health outcomes.


Eligible Hospitals Must Attest By December 31 to Receive Incentive

on Wed, 12/10/2014 - 21:00

CMS reports the following, that if you are an eligible hospitals or critical access hospital (CAH), the last day you can register and attest to demonstrating meaningful use for the Medicare Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program 2014 reporting year is December 31, 2014. You must successfully attest by 11:59 p.m. ET on December 31, to receive an incentive payment for your 2014 participation.


CMS extended the deadline for eligible hospitals and CAHs to attest to meaningful use for the Medicare EHR Incentive Program to allow more time for providers to submit their meaningful use

Delta-Based Health Educator is Rural Health Champion

on Tue, 11/25/2014 - 17:09

Every day at South Delta Middle School in Anguilla, Tammy Fordham Bell tries to fill the gap in health-care services and education in a rural Delta county where there are no pediatricians.


The Leland native and Greenville resident drives from campus to campus in the South Delta school district to provide hands-on care to about 1,100 Sharkey County children. On any given day, Bell circulates among four campuses to provide abstinence education and give sports physicals. She counsels teens who are pregnant and ensures they get car seats if they can’t afford them.


She teaches personal

VA Releases Interim Final Rule on Expanded Access to Non-VA Care

on Wed, 11/05/2014 - 15:06

The Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA) has just released the interim final rule on the Expanded Access to Non-VA Care through the Veterans Choice Program. These are the interim implementing regulations for the Veterans Access, Choice, and Accountability Act of 2014 passed by Congress earlier this year. This rule sets out the methods by which veterans can access care outside of the established VA system, for example, rural veterans.

Read Final Rule

Speculation swirls around what happens if federal subsidies go away

on Thu, 10/30/2014 - 15:55

New language in contracts between the CMS and insurers operating on is grabbing attention, with some calling it an admission by the government that it might lose upcoming court battles dealing with insurance subsidies on the health portal and others saying the new wording is just a practical precaution.  The new language appears to allow insurers to stop offering their plans should federal premium subsidies disappear. A number of cases regarding the legality of the subsidies in states without their own exchanges are now working their way through the courts.

Read More

Let's Try Again: CDC issues stronger Ebola standards

on Tue, 10/21/2014 - 21:24

Conceding its previous Ebola safety protocols failed in Dallas, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued more robust standards aimed at better protecting workers who confront Ebola and other deadly infectious diseases.  CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said late Monday that the new guidelines were designed to increase the margins of safety for healthcare workers.