Delaware REC first to reach goal; CMS issues guide on Stage 2 MU;

News From Around the Web

> The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has released a new timeline to help providers comply with the Meaningful Use incentive program. For example, Sept 30 marks the end of the fiscal year and the last day of the 2013 Meaningful Use Program year. Hospitals will have until Nov. 30 to attest that they have demonstrated Meaningful Use in that year. Timeline

> Quality Insights of Delaware - Regional Extension Center has become the first REC in the U.S. to meet its milestone goal of helping more than 1,000 providers meaningfully use their electronic health record systems. Announcement

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a new guide to help eligible professionals understand Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use Incentive Program. The 47-page guide includes an explanation of the program, the requirements of Stage 2, and how the clinical quality measures change. Guide (.pdf)

Health Finance News

> Hospitals are expected to play a key part in the enrollment of millions of Americans in state and federally operated health insurance exchanges. Many inpatient providers have started up telephone hotlines or are engaged in extensive community outreach to get out the word on the insurance exchanges. However, consumer advocates have raised concerns that hospitals might steer patients to coverage that would guarantee them the best payments and not necessarily provide what is best for each enrollee. Article

> The hospital and healthcare system municipal bond market has been particularly weak in recent months, but the situation is far worse for facilities in states that are not expanding Medicaid, Bloomberg reported.  According to Bloomberg, healthcare-related municipal bonds have lost 6 percent over the last 90 days, but it's even worse among the 21 states that have declined to expand their Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act. Article

Provider News

> In an example of the adage, "you get what you pay for," new research shows that practices that invest in becoming patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs) do have higher operating costs, but they also report higher total medical revenue (per patient).  According to the Medical Group Management Association's Cost Survey for Primary Care Practices: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data, the increased costs associated with medical homes are largely driven by the expanded staffing requirements of team-based care. Article

> A Congressional proposal to repeal the much-hated Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and replace it with a system that rewards providers for high-quality care would cost the federal government $175 billion by 2023, according to the Congressional Budget Office. Taking into account the effect of the automatic 0.5 percent annual update that would begin in 2014, CBO estimates enacting the Quality Update Incentive Program and alternative payment model mechanisms would increase direct spending by about $112 billion over the 2019-2023 period. Article

And Finally... Hey, we don't get extra vacation just for sitting in front of a computer. Article