Hospital CEO resigns following problematic EHR rollout; Vermont HIE to launch PR campaign;

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> James Thaw, president and CEO of Athens, Georgia-based Athens Regional Health Systems has resigned, in part because of problems stemming from the rollout of a new electronic health record system, the Athens Banner-Herald reported. Doctors had expressed concerns that the Cerner system had created medication errors and overlooked patients. They also complained about the "aggressive" implementation timeline and expressed concern that many were not ready to make such a transition. Article

> Officials with Vermont's health information exchange, concerned about how it will be received when it goes live this summer, have issued a request for proposals from public relations agencies to run a campaign to increase awareness and use of the system, Vermont Public Radio reported. Vermont has a global provider consent policy, which would enable all providers, not just a patient's own providers, to view the patient's information. Article

Health Finance News

> Hospital systems are scaling back on charity care for uninsured patients, hoping to convince them to obtain insurance via Medicaid or the health insurance exchanges. Among providers to change their charity care policies are Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, which now charges the uninsured co-payments, ranging from $50 for an office visit to $100 for a trip to the emergency room. Fletcher Allen Health Care in Vermont and Southern New Hampshire Medical Center also scaled back charity care for patients who are above the federal poverty line. Article

> Consumers paying off medical debt could be better off if credit bureaus treated it differently than the other bills they service. Those with medical debt who had lower credit scores paid it off at generally the same rate as those with higher scores, according to a survey of credit histories and scores of 5 million anonymous Americans by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Article

Health Insurance News

> It's been a hotly contested debate since the Affordable Care Act passed: whether an increase in competition among insurers will actually lower healthcare costs. A recent paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research set out to reach a definitive answer. The paper's authors used UnitedHealth, which choose not to participate in many health insurance exchanges during the first open enrollment period, as an example and simulated premium costs as if the Minneapolis-based insurer opted to sell plans on all the marketplaces. Article

> For the second year in a row, Humana sits in the No. 1 spot out of 148 payers for overall ease of doing business, according to a new report from athenahealth. Some Medicaid programs rank dead last and underperformed on key metrics, such as days in accounts receivable (DAR) and electronic remittance advice (ERA) transparency. The annual report collected data from more than 52,000 providers to characterize the ease or difficulty of doing business with each payer. Article

And Finally... I'm not holding my breath that he learned a lesson. Article