Hardship exemption deadline nears; EHRs coming to a supermarket near you;

News From Around the Web 

> Electronic health record developer PHRQL has inked a deal to place its platform in more than 200 supermarkets in the Midwest, according to Health Data Management. The deal will enable registered dieticians in supermarket settings to help customers develop healthy eating habits. The long-term contract will also provide other EHR-related functions such as communication and biometric screenings. Article

> The global EHR market is growing steadily, with a compound annual growth rate of 9.8 percent from 2013 to 2018. The market is expected to surpass $18 billion by 2018, according to MicroMarket Monitor. The leading market is the North American market, spurred in part by federal incentives to adopt EHRs. Announcement

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a reminder to eligible professionals that hardship exception applications are due July 1. CMS also has released an interactive, 16-page tool to help eligible professionals determine whether they may meet Meaningful Use or should apply for the exemption. Tool

Health Finance News

> CMS extended a program to boost payments to hospitals with low Medicare inpatient volumes, according to a notice in the Federal Register. The extension of the program, which adjusts for hospitals that participate in Medicare's inpatient prospective payment system but have a low volume of patients, applies to the second half of the 2014 fiscal year and will run through Sept. 30. Article

> Spinal surgeries remain costly, even as they increase in popularity, prompting clinicians and surgical center business managers to find ways to trim dollars off each procedure. The average hospital charge for a spinal procedure is nearly $67,000, according to a study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery, although the cost can rapidly escalate into the six-figure range if complications arise. Article

Health Insurance News

> Individuals who purchased coverage under the Affordable Care Act this year pay $80 a month in average premiums, according to a report released by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The report notes that most people found an affordable plan from a variety of options and that insurer competition will drive down premium costs for the next enrollment period. Article

> The cost for the same medical service varies greatly across the 30 most populous U.S. cities, according to a new analysis from Castlight Health. The analysis focused on costs paid through employer-sponsored benefits for common outpatient services, including a lipid panel, a CT scan, an MRI and an adult preventive primary care visit. Article

And Finally... At least he wasn't actually driving at the time. Article