AHRQ creates dashboard on Meaningful Use; Clinic blames closure, in part, on EHR implementation delays;

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> A North Carolina clinic serving mainly Medicaid and uninsured patients is shutting down in part due to delays in the use of its new electronic health record system, WFDD.org has reported. The delays caused the clinic to lose between 15,000 and 20,000 patient visits, most of which would have been covered by Medicaid and which would have allowed the clinic to provide staffing. Article

 >The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality has created a new Meaningful Use dashboard to provide hospitals and physicians with additional information about the incentive program. The website enables providers to compare clinical quality measures and value sets, access additional resources, and submit help requests. Website

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released four new answers to frequently asked questions about the Meaningful Use program, Health Data Management reported. The FAQs cover information on Stage 2 transitions of care, computerized provider order entry, certification and corrections to a clinical quality measure. Article

Health Finance News

> Requests for medical records from Medicare recovery auditors (RACs) are up 47 percent since 2012's fourth quarter, according to an American Hospital Association survey of more than 12,000 hospitals. The survey found during the second quarter of 2013, complex audit denials by Medicare RACs rose 58 percent, with two-thirds of hospitals reporting the most expensive RAC requests are medical necessity denials. Article

> Rural healthcare delivery will be hit hardest in states that opt against expanding the Medicaid program, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. Most states with large urban populations have already agreed to expand Medicaid, leaving rural regions to bear the brunt of the impact of not expanding the program. "The truth is, this will be really important money for rural hospitals, rural health providers, rural communities," said Tim McBride, an economist with the Rural Policy Research Institute. A recent HHS Office of Inspector General recommendation that critical access qualification criteria be changed would likely compound the financial issues for rural facilities, McBride said. Article

Provider News

> The pressure on medical practices to cope with rising operating costs is not just one of perception, but based on real, staggering numbers. In fact, the cost of operating a practice, as measured by the Medicare Economic Index (MEI), surged 27 percent from 2002 to 2012, according to a report (.pdf) from the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPac). Meanwhile, Medicare spending for physician services per beneficiary increased 72.4 percent, according to MedPac, amid a 9 percent increase in Medicare payment rates. Article

> A new study has revealed that the pay gap between men and women in medicine has now grown to more than $56,000 a year. According to researchers Anupam Jena, M.D., Ph.D., of Harvard, and colleagues, healthcare is one of the few industries in which women's earnings are trailing men's more than ever before. Article

And Finally... Funny how there are no reports of Hyundais or Kias melting. Article