Federal Bureau of Prisons in market for new EHR; ONC seeking applicants for FACA work groups;

News From Around the Web

> The Bureau of Prisons has issued a request for information (RFI) to assess the marketplace for EHRs. The request is not an official solicitation. Responses are due by June 6. RFI

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has published new guidance on Direct, the technical standard for changing health information between entities in a trusted network. Direct is a requirement of Stage 2 of Meaningful Use, although not all vendors use the term "Direct" for their products. Guidance

> ONC is accepting applications from people interesting in serving on work groups for the Federal Advisory Committees, the Health IT Policy Committee and the health IT Standards Committee. The work groups are currently being restructured. Applications are due by June 6.  Blog post

Health Finance News

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its public databases for inpatient and outpatient payment data, according to a statement from the agency. The update includes data that compare the average charges for services that may be provided in connection with the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays at more than 3,000 hospitals nationwide. It updates data that the agency released last year. CMS also released a dataset that allows users to compare geographic variations in payments made to providers. Article

> The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General disclosed that recovery audit contractors (RACs) will likely recover $3.1 billion in erroneous charges from providers during the first half of the fiscal year--down nearly $1 billion from a year ago. The OIG, in its semiannual report to Congress, did not disclose the reasons behind the reduction in RAC-related recoveries, but it may be tied to the moratorium on review claims that potentially violate short-stay rules, as well as delays in granting new pacts to RACs. Article

Health Insurance News

> As Medicare Advantage plans rack up costs across the country, many states are facing federal investigations due to overbilling, according to the Center for Public Integrity. For example, in Rochester, New York, a Medicare plan was paid $41 million to treat people with serious diseases, even though the plan did not prove that patients had such diseases. The CPI found that from 2008 to 2013, improper payments to Medicare Advantage plans topped nearly $70 billion. What's more, billions of tax dollars are inappropriately spent each year because of Medicare Advantage billing errors linked to a risk score. Government officials continually struggle to eliminate high risk scores for patients. Article

> Roughly 2.9 million people have signed up for Medicaid coverage but haven't been enrolled because the program hasn't processed their applications yet, according to a survey by CQ Roll Call. The delays primarily have been caused by technical issues related to the health insurance exchange websites, combined with a surge in Medicaid applications, CQ Roll Call reported. Three states--California, Illinois and North Carolina--have the longest backlogs. Almost 1.5 million people in those states still are waiting for their Medicaid applications to be processed.  Article

And Finally... Even kindergarteners know better than to act like this. Article