EHR use is top OIG management challenge; Former Epic employee sues for overtime pay

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> The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Office of Inspector General has highlighted protecting the privacy, security and integrity of electronic health records as one of its top management challenges for 2014. The agency flags security breaches and medical identity theft involving EHRs as areas of particular concern. It also warns that HHS, in focusing on Meaningful Use, developing certification criteria and incentive payments has given less attention to risks of fraud stemming from EHR use. Brief

> A former employee of EHR vendor Epic has filed a class action lawsuit against the company, claiming that it denied eligible staff overtime, according to the Wisconsin State Journal. Epic claims that it paid its workers legally and that the employees in question were not entitled to overtime because the computer-related jobs at issue were characterized as held by salaried professionals. Article

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a reminder to eligible professionals (EPs) about payment adjustments. EPs who first demonstrated Meaningful Use in 2011 or 2012 must demonstrate Meaningful Use for a full year in 2013 to avoid a payment adjustment in 2015. If an EP first began demonstrating Meaningful Use in 2013, the EP must demonstrate Meaningful Use for a 90 day reporting period in 2013. Website

Health Finance News

> Nonprofit hospitals across the country aren't giving back to their communities in a ratio that fairly matches their tax exemptions, which add up to more than $12 billion annually, the New York Times reported. The Times cites a study in The New England Journal of Medicine, which found hospitals spent about 7.5 percent of operating costs on charity care and community benefits, with some spending less than 1 percent and others about 20 percent, according to the article. Article

> The ratings service Standard & Poor's apparently plans to revise its criteria for judging the creditworthiness of individual non-profit hospitals--a change that could cause a lot of hospital rankings to plunge, Becker's Hospital Review reported. S&P plans to apply the same criteria for municipal ratings to hospitals, according to a request for comments it recently issued. Factors such as market position would account for as much as 50 percent of the final ratings, with economic fundamentals, governance and management receiving relatively less weight. It will break the hospital's market position into several components, including payer mix, medical staff and technology and information systems use. Article

Health Insurance News

> As federal and state officials work to fix the user experience on health insurance exchanges, some back-end problems remain, including ensuring consumers actually purchase health plans, InformationWeek reported. Even for optimized commercial websites, between 60 percent and 80 percent of visitors don't complete their transactions at checkout, according to Qubit, a company specializing in website optimization for retailers. Article

> Forty-five percent of employers polled in November said they'll consider or use a private health insurance exchange before 2018 for their full-time employees, according to a new online survey from the Private Exchange Evaluation Collaborative (PEEC). That represents a gain of 12 percentage points in employer consideration of private exchanges from national survey results in August. But obstacles remain to private exchange adoption, including questions about long-term stability and whether these exchanges will let employers tailor their benefit offerings, the study found. Article

And Finally... Sometimes it's just nice to report a happy ending. Article