CMS extends MU attestation deadline; EHR research finds Neanderthal connection to modern humans;

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> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has extended the attestation deadline for the Medicare and Medicaid Meaningful Use Incentive programs for the 2015 reporting year to March 11. The original deadline had been Feb. 29. Eligible professionals may select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90-day period from Jan. 1, 2015 through Dec. 31, 2015. Eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals can select an EHR reporting period of any continuous 90 days from Oct. 1, 2014, the start of the federal fiscal year, through Dec. 31, 2015. Website  

> Researchers have used electronic health record phenotype data to identify Neanderthal alleles in modern humans, indicating the ability to use EHRs for evolutionary analyses, according to a study published in Science. The alleles include those for conditions such as depression, skin problems stemming from sun exposure, and mood disorders. Study

Health Finance News 

> A new study by an advocacy group for safety-net hospitals say that participants in the 340B drug discount program spend less per patient under Medicare Part B for drugs than hospitals outside of 340B, while still caring for a population of sicker patients. Article

> A hospital-backed lawsuit intended to compel the federal government to review denials of Medicare claims has been given new life. The American Hospital Association filed the suit in 2014 to try and clear a backlog of recovery audit contractor (RAC) appeals at the administrative law court level. Article

Health Insurance News   

> At a cost of roughly $300 billion, the federal government will subsidize most health insurance premiums in 2016, so a new report from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) sheds some light on how federal subsidies, federal regulations and actions by insurers affect these premiums. Article   

> Hundreds of thousands of Americans have lost their subsidies or policies under the Affordable Care Act because of paperwork problems, and advocates fear those issues could undermine the success of the ACA. Article

And Finally... It really pays to do your homework before launching a protest. Article