HHS corrects 2015 voluntary EHR certification rule; ONC adds a third 'designated test EHR'

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> The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services has issued a proposed rule in the Federal Register to correct the voluntary 2015 edition EHR certification criteria rule previously issued. The revised rule corrects preamble text and a gap certification table for four criteria that previously had been omitted, and provides information on inactive web links. Comments are due by April 28. Notice

> MMR Global has entered into yet another settlement agreement related to infringement of its MyMedicalRecords personal health record patent, this time with Cerner. Details of the settlement were not disclosed. Announcement

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has announced that iPatientCare has become a "designated test EHR" for the Stage 2 transition of care objective, joining McKesson and Meditech. The agency also simplified the registration process and issued a new user guide. Vendors still can sign up to become a test EHR. Website

Health Finance News

> Hospitals added no new jobs in 2013, although the healthcare sector as a whole grew by 204,000 jobs and makes up more than 10 percent of total employment nationwide as of February, according to a labor brief from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Healthcare job growth was well below the 250,000-job average from 2010 to 2012, according to the brief. Article

> The upcoming two-midnight rule for inpatient admissions will put considerable financial pressure on the nation's hospitals in the coming months, according to a new report by Moody's Investors Service. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has been trying to formulate a concrete rule for hospitals, which are far more likely to be subject to medical necessity-based reimbursement clawbacks by revenue audit contractors (RACs) if patients are admitted and discharged within a day or two. Under the current proposal by CMS, any patient held for two consecutive midnights would not be subject to short-stay audits. The rule is scheduled for implementation this October, but CMS has been prompted to issue regular clarifications due to ongoing concerns from hospitals. Article

Health Insurance News

> The Affordable Care Act prohibits insurers from denying cancer patients coverage or charging them much higher rates, and guarantees free cancer screenings. However, coverage expansion provisions don't include guaranteed access to specialty cancer hospitals. Provider networks on insurance exchanges exclude some of the nation's best cancer hospitals, which concerns some state insurance regulators and patient advocates. Article

> Health insurance exchanges for small business have been gaining traction as more insurers choose to sell plans on these marketplaces, according to a Commonwealth Fund study. Of the 18 state-based small business health options program (SHOP) exchanges, all but four have more than one insurer in each county participating. New York boasted the most insurers with 10 different companies, while the number of plans varied from 12 in Connecticut to 267 in the District of Columbia. Article

And Finally... While this is good news, I am so glad this isn't my daughter. Article