CMS issues new answers to Meaningful Use FAQs; ONC weighs in on patents and Meaningful Use;

News From Around the Web

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has launched the first in a series of web pages focused on helping critical access hospitals and small rural hospitals obtain Meaningful Use by the end of 2014. The web pages include support tools, resources, and other information. Only 591 of such hospitals earned a Meaningful Use incentive payment in 2012. Website

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued three new answers to frequently asked questions about the Meaningful Use program, Health Data Management reports. The new answers clarify the status of certified electronic health record systems in certain situations involving eligible professionals attesting from outpatient locations, and attestation involving work performed at multiple locations. Article

> In a recent Health IT Buzz post, a trio of ONC officials weighed in on patents and Meaningful Use, recommending that providers review contracts related to the use of software that could infringe a patent, and carefully consider whether to challenge a patent. The officials also stated that ONC intends to work more closely with the U.S. Patient and Trademark Office, and will seek comment as to whether future regulatory requirements could implicate patents and other intellectual properly rights. Blog post

Health Finance News

> Newly proposed bipartisan legislation would modify Medicare recovery auditors (RACs), in part by placing a hard cap on the number of documents they can request from hospitals. The reintroduced Medicare Audit Improvement Act would cap Additional Document Requests (ADRs) to 2 percent of hospital claims with a maximum of 500 ADRs every 45 days, House Reps. Sam Graves (R-Mo.) and Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) announced March 19. Article

Provider News

> One in five physician practices likely violates the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). For example, many offices would be unable to accommodate a patient that is wheelchair bound. However, that failure could be seen as a violation of the ADA. Article

> Medicare, once again, has revised its formula for calculating penalties for hospitals with excessive readmissions, essentially correcting its previous correction. The new calculation reduces penalties for 1,246 hospitals and increases them for 226 organizations. A previous correction of the formula, issued at the end of September, increased penalties for 1,422 hospitals and reduced them for 55. Article

And Finally... I hope that ewoks and wookies can participate! Article