EHR whisteblowers to get $186,000 in back pay; Billing company can't deceive consumers with its online portal;

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> Computer Sciences Corp. has been ordered to pay back wages of $186,000 to two former Hanford employees that according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration were laid off in violation of whistleblower laws, according to the Tri-City Herald. The employees had reported a defective electronic health record system that was not accurately tracking medical restrictions, creating the potential for workers to be exposed to beryllium. Article

> Billing company Payments MD, LLC and its former chief executive officer have settled Federal Trade Commission allegations that they misled consumers who signed up for an online billing portal by failing to inform them that the company would also seek medical information on them from pharmacies, labs and insurance companies. They deceptively sought consent by altering the registration process to include permission for the data collection. They will destroy all such information, are banned from deceiving consumers, and required to obtain clear consent. Announcement

> The demand for health IT employees is expected to grow at twice the rate of employment overall, although there's already a shortage of health IT workers, according to a Healthcare Informatics article. Moreover, many of the jobs are hybrids requiring varied skill sets, such as analytics and clinical knowledge, which many people don't have. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that many students in health IT training programs don't pass the required certification exams. Article

Health Finance News

> U.S. hospitals spend so much on unnecessary administration tasks that it adds about $2,000 to the typical American household's healthcare costs, new research by two physicians concluded. Article

> Hospitals still continue to aggressively appealing claims denials by Recovery Audit Contractors and get a large percentage of them overturned, according to new data from the American Hospital Association's RACTrac Survey. And RACs also are becoming more aggressive in terms of denying outpatient claims for payment. Article

Health Insurance News

> Insurers are voluntarily offering flexible payment deadlines for customers who purchase insurance through the federal marketplace, America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) said in a statement. Article

> Academic medical centers increasingly find themselves on the outside of many insurers' provider networks. Facilities such as the St. Louis University Hospital and New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center rank among the most prestigious in the country. An affiliation with a medical school, coupled with a robust residency program, helps these institutions provide a high level of patient care, especially when it comes to complicated cases. Article  

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