CMS issues guidance on MU payment adjustments affecting eligible professionals; Doc sues after EHRs lost in the 'cloud';

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> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a reminder to eligible professionals regarding the Meaningful Use payment adjustments slated to begin Jan. 1, 2015. A professional's program participation start year will affect how the adjustments will be applied. The adjustments don't apply to professionals participating only in the Medicaid incentive program. Tip sheet (.pdf)

> A Pittsburgh internist has sued his medical billing company on the grounds that the company lost some of his patients' electronic health records in the "cloud." He is asking for more than $100,000 in lost revenue. The company evidently ran into trouble during software maintenance and the back up systems were not operating. Article

> The National Patient Safety Foundation has released an educational module for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and quality professionals keeping patients safe when using electronic health records and other health IT. The program addresses the fundamentals and the challenges involved. The program, which costs $30, also provides for continuing medical education credit. Website

Health Finance News

> Towns or regions with only one hospital face potential devastation if that facility should close, according to U.S. News & World Report. Residents in rural areas who lack good health coverage could exacerbate such closures, given that only 35 percent of the nation's hospitals are in rural areas. "Unfortunately, health care remains a commodity that's bought and sold on the open market and it's primarily up to hospitals to determine what the market will bear, There's reason for concern that the trend will escalate," Brian Smedley, Ph.D., a health policy expert with the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, said. Article

> Although Americans seeking individual commercial policies have had trouble navigating the federally operated website and even some of the state health insurance exchanges, those seeking Medicaid coverage are experiencing opposite fortunes. According to StateLine, at least 1.5 million individuals have enrolled in Medicaid in the 19 states that have disclosed enrollment data. Aggressive outreach and pre-qualification programs account for much of the early successes. In Illinois, for example, 100,000 Chicago-area residents who have received expanded Medicaid benefits since 2011 under a federal demonstration project were automatically enrolled. Article

Health Insurance News

> As the federal health insurance exchange continues to falter amid technical problems, companies are continuing to launch their own private exchanges that could eventually compete alongside the public marketplaces. For example, employee benefits advisory company United Benefit Advisors just launched its Benefits Passport private exchange available in Rhode Island. The new marketplace will offer health plans from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Tufts Health Plan and UnitedHealth to large group employers starting in January, reported GoLocalProv. Article

> Many Americans are willing to undergo medical tests and lifestyle monitoring by insurers in exchange for lower premiums, according to a recent Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll, even if that means releasing genetic information or letting insurers track their exercise sessions. Harris polled 2,033 adults online and found 49 percent were "very willing" to take genetic tests to measure their risks of developing cancer and other illnesses if their health plan provided a financial incentive. But only 28 percent said they'd attend a health class or keep a diet and exercise log. Article

And Finally... Now the kids have a new excuse to avoid that piano. Article