Cerner-Siemens deal gets FTC approval; RECs surpass goals;

News From Around the Web

> The Federal Trade Commission has granted antitrust approval of Cerner's plan to acquire Siemens Health Services. Cerner is buying the Siemens unit for $1.3 billion in cash. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015. Announcement

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a new frequently asked question (FAQ) about electronic health records, dealing with measure 2 of the summary of care objective for Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use incentive program. The agency also has updated seven existing FAQs addressing a range of issues, including the timing of incentive payments and questions regarding core sets and denominators. Website

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has reported that the regional extension centers (RECs) have surpassed their goals and now support more than 100,000 providers to demonstrate Stage 1 of Meaningful Use. Ninety-three percent of the RECs are expected to be sustainable at the end of ONC's initial investment, which ends this year. Blog post

Health Finance News

> In a healthcare environment where small hospitals increasingly have no choice but to affiliate with larger facilities and chains, the new primary consideration is often which network to join. Article

> Hospitals fully fund more than one-third of all continuing medical education (CME), but some wonder whether they get their money's worth.  Hospitals fund about 35 percent of all CME and about 38 percent of all CME hours, totaling nearly $1 billion a year, according to a new report by the Physician Leadership Forum, which is part of the American Hospital Association. Article  

Health Insurance News

> In a changing healthcare industry, employers are rethinking the way they provide coverage to their employees--namely, they are shifting more costs onto workers. The trend of employers moving their employees to a private exchange continues to grow--according to a national survey from Mercer this year, a quarter of employers polled plan to switch to a private exchange this year, while 45 percent consider doing so in five years. Many employers cite cost control as a main deciding factor when making the switch. Article

> The future of the health insurance industry is not just in flux--in many ways, it's a mystery. Of course, insurers will not cease to exist--but they'll likely be providing health insurance in a different way than they do now, as a result of pressure from Wall Street and the marketplace in general, writes Wendell Potter, a senior analyst at The Center for Public Integrity and former head of corporate communications at Cigna. Article

And Finally... Looks like she bit off a little bit more than she could chew. Article