Hardship exemption deadline looms; 2014 certified products tops 1,000;

News From Around the Web

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT have issued reminders that the hardship exemption applications for eligible physicians (EPs) are due July 1. EPs submitting applications also will need to provide supporting documentation of their hardship. Tip sheets and other guidance are available on CMS' website. Website

> The number of electronic health record systems and modules on the 2014 certified health IT product list as meeting some or all of the 2014 edition of Meaningful Use now has topped 1,000. EHR technologies that have been certified are eligible for use in the Medicare and Medicaid incentive programs. A voluntary 2015 edition is in process. Website

> New Jersey has announced the launch of a statewide health information exchange, HIEWatch reports. The New Jersey Health Information Network will connect six regional health information organizations into a single system. The state currently ranks last in EHR adoption; North Dakota has the highest EHR adoption rate. Article

Health Finance News

> Hospitals spent $41.3 billion between January and November 2011 to treat patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). Some 1.8 million readmissions cost the Medicare program $24 billion; 600,000 privately insured patient readmissions totaled $8.1 billion; and 700,000 Medicaid patient readmissions cost hospitals $7.6 billion, according to the AHRQ. Article

> As community hospitals around the country fall victim to declining volumes, shrinking patient care reimbursement and other financial woes, more organizations consider giving up their independent status to align with larger entities to survive. In Virginia, Community Memorial Health Center will join Virginia Commonwealth University Health System (VCU), the biggest health safety-net provider in the state, to help improve its bottom line and maintain quality care access throughout the regionArticle

Health Insurance News

> Physician compensation stayed mostly stagnant and even declined for some specialties over the past year, trends that could reflect early changes in reimbursement related to the Affordable Care Act, according to Medscape's 2014 Physician Compensation Report. This year's report, revealing a year-over-year salary increase of 2 to 3 percent in most specialties, paints a starkly different picture than seen in 2013, during which many year-over-year salaries increased by 11 percent or moreArticle

> The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will require fingerprint-based background checks to catch "bad actor" providers trying to enroll in Medicare and remove those now participating. The program is part of enhanced enrollment screening provisions of the Affordable Care Act. Article

And Finally... Time to update those ICU visitor policies! Article