Deadline for hospitals to join MU program looms; Novant connects to federal HIE;

News From Around the Web

> North Carolina based Novant Health has joined the eHealth Exchange, the federal level health information exchange (HIE), to share data electronically with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The VA is already connected to the eHealth Exchange. Veterans need to opt in to the HIE and provide authorization before their data is to be shared. Announcement

> Providers in St. Louis, worried about the measles outbreak, have turned to their electronic health records to identify children who have not been fully vaccinated. About 1,900 children lacking a vaccination have so far been identified. It took the IT staff at one hospital only 72 hours to flag the children in need of immunization, making a formerly arduous task much easier. Article

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a news alert reminding eligible hospitals that they must start participating in the Medicare Meaningful Use program in 2015 in order to earn incentive payments. To earn the incentive, they need to begin 90-day reporting no later than April 1 and attest by July 1. Hospitals that miss this deadline can still earn a 2015 incentive payment and avoid the 2017 payment adjustment if they begin their reporting period by July 1 and attest by Nov. 30, but will be subject to the 2016 penalty unless they obtain a hardship exception. Website

Health Finance News

> Many providers discharge Medicare patients based on when it is most lucrative to do so rather than improved patient condition. Medicare offers long-term care facilities smaller payments for shorter stays, and pays them a lump sum meant to pay for long-term treatment once they reach a threshold. Article  

> Hospital boards often take on the big tasks of fundraising, finance and hiring and firing chief executive officers, but many take a hands-off approach to quality issues. Directors of not-for-profit hospital boards are usually recruited based on their fundraising prowess, while for-profit institutions seek directors with expertise in finance and compliance. As a result, hospital governance may be squandering an opportunity to improve clinical performance. Article  

Health Insurance News

> As the official deadline for open enrollment closed Feb. 15 at midnight, there was both good news and bad news. The good news was that 11.4 million consumers purchased health coverage this year, the Obama administration announced Tuesday. The bad news was that continued to have back-end issues. Article

And Finally... Talk about truth in advertising! Article