CMS extends comment period on MACRA; eClinicalWorks offers free interoperability;

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> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has extended the deadline for submission of suggestions on how the agency should implement the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), which replaced the sustainable growth rate formula and replaced it with a merit based incentive payment system (MIPS). The Meaningful Use program for physicians would be folded into MIPS as of 2018. The deadline, which had been Nov 2, is now Nov. 17. CMS also asked commenters to focus on issues that are higher priorities for CMS and noted that MIPS was its highest priority. Notice (.pdf)

> eClinicalWorks is now offering free interoperability with any hospital system using the Integrating the Healthcare Standards for on demand and real time exchange of Clinical Document Architecture data. This move provides data exchange between inpatient and ambulatory settings. Announcement

> Taking a page from the American Medical Association's playbook, electronic health record vendor athenahealth has created a website to enable doctors to share their frustrations with EHRs and offer suggestions for improvement. The website is also intended to help doctors influence healthcare IT policy. Website

Health Finance News

> Medical tourism continues to grow in the United States, and its expansion is serving both patients here and abroad. Americans are traveling abroad to save money on hip and knee procedures that are too pricey to undergo domestically, while wealthy Chinese patients are flocking to hospitals in New York and Florida to undergo their care--and pay full out-of-pocket prices. Article

> Hospital prices grew at a seasonally adjusted 0.2 percent from August to September, the lowest increase since 1998, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Altogether, hospital prices grew 3.3 percent between September 2014 and September of this year, although that data has not been adjusted due to seasonal fluctuations. Article

Health Insurance News   

> Faced with the news that two more consumer operated and oriented health plans (CO-OPs) are shutting down, some CO-OPs and small insurers have formed a coalition to push for changes to the Affordable Care Act that they say are making it difficult for them to succeed. Article   

> The federal government may seem to be setting a low bar with its plan to have 10 million people enrolled in Affordable Care Act plans by the end of 2015, but the number comes from careful calculations--both practical and political. Article

And Finally... This is probably one crying baby the other passengers didn't mind. Article