CMS issues guidance on MU payment adjustments; 1,000 rural, critical access hospitals successfully attest to Meaningful Use;

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> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued guidance on how payment adjustments will affect eligible hospitals. The tip sheet outlines the amount of the adjustment that would be applied based on when an eligible hospital began participating in the Meaningful Use program and addresses how the payment adjustments can be avoided. Tip sheet (.pdf)

> More than 1,000 critical access and rural hospitals have attested to Meaningful Use, passing the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's goal of 65 percent participation, according to a new Health IT Buzz blog post. Mat Kendall, director of the Office of Provider Adoption Support, and Leila Samy, a rural health IT coordinator, noted that these hospitals are subject to unique obstacles that make it harder for them to meet the Meaningful Use requirements, such as low patient volume, lack of connectivity and "constrained" financial resources. Blog post

> Insurer WellPoint has achieved Common Security Framework Certified status from the Health Information Trust Alliance to better protect patient data in health information exchanges and elsewhere. The company is the largest health benefits plan to attain such status. Announcement

Health Finance News

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services delayed implementation of a rule that defines observation care cases, citing complaints by the hospital industry that the rules were often confusing. The rule, which was supposed to take effect on Oct. 1, has been moved back to at least Jan. 1. Article

> The price Texas will pay by refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act is a heavy one: $79 billion in federal funds over the next decade, most of which will go to the state's hospitals. That number was disclosed by U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who has been making frequent visits to the Lone Star State in recent weeks to try and drum up political support for expanding Medicaid. Article

Provider News

> Doctors who provided the wrong diagnoses for a set of vignettes were almost equally confident as those who were correct, suggesting that overconfidence can be a dangerous problem, according to a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. For the study, researchers from Baylor College of Medicine (BCM) presented 118 physicians from throughout the United States with four validated cases of varying difficulty and asked them to rate their confidence in their diagnostic accuracy. Article

> Across the country, some physicians are paid roughly double what other doctors are paid for the same services, but there's no real reason to explain the variations, according to a new study published in Health Affairs. For the study, researchers analyzed more than 40 million claims filed in 2007 for nearly a dozen types of service ranging from five-minute check-ups to comprehensive exams, with the most common being a 15-minute, problem-focused exam with an established patient. Article

And Finally... This ignorance would be funny if it weren't so sad. Post