CMS reminds EPs about Oct. 3 reporting deadline; ONC encourages use of patient generated health data;

News From Around the Web

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has created a website for providers about patient generated health data (PGHD). The material includes why PGHD is important, the role that health IT plays in enabling its use, concerns about it--such as increased liability and burden on provider workflow--and ONC's approach to PGHD. Website

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a news alert for eligible professionals (EPs) who have not yet participated in the Medicare Meaningful Use incentive program. The alert reminds EPs that Oct. 3, 2014, is the last day for first year Medicare EP participants to begin a 2014 reporting period. If they participate starting then, they have the opportunity to earn an incentive payment for 2014 and, if they qualify, for 2015 and 2016, as well. If not, they risk the downward Medicare payment adjustment, unless they had applied and qualified for a hardship exemption. Website

> Surescripts has expanded its electronic prior authorization offering to four national pharmacy benefit managers and six health IT vendors. Providers now will be able to use the EHR-integrated solution to submit electronic prior authorization requests for 70 percent of patients representing 210 million lives. Announcement

Health Finance News

> The desire to better coordinate the delivery of healthcare services may also drive up the cost of that care. Many hospitals try to better coordinate care by merging with one another, or acquiring medical practices, even though data suggests it has a negligible impact on quality and outcomes.  However, such an act also gives providers more clout in dictating prices. Article

> A new report by the Brookings Institution questions previous studies that delve into the vast differences in healthcare spending in different regions of the country. The study questions the previous assumptions set by the ongoing Dartmouth Atlas study, which had concluded that variations in Medicare expenditures were due to differences in the way doctors practiced medicine based on large swathes of geography. Article

Health Insurance News

> Aetna and the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association are joining forces with some of the biggest companies to urge the entire business community to embrace wellness programs as a way to lower healthcare costs and boost employee health. In addition to the insurers, executives from Coca-Cola, Johnson & Johnson, Verizon and several other companies are coming together as part of a new coalition called the CEO Council on Health and Innovation, according to a statement from the group. Article

> There have been a lot of changes to Medicare Advantage plans of late--UnitedHealth dropped providers in Alabama, Humana lost a big provider contract and MVP Health Care is discontinuing two of its plans. UnitedHealth is dropping more doctors from its Medicare Advantage network; this time the insurer is focusing on the Alabama market. Article

And Finally... But where will his holiness fly it? Article