Nursing assistants fired for snooping into hospital EHR; ONC unveils REC data on EHR use;

News From Around the Web

> Two certified nursing assistants have been fired from Newport News, Va.-based Mary Immaculate Hospital for wrongfully accessing the hospital's electronic health record system over several months, the Daily Press reported. Five-thousand patients may have been affected by the employees' actions. The hospital will provide the patients with identity theft safeguards. Article

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released data from the regional extension centers about the different EHRs being used by 146,000 participating physicians. The information is broken down by state, physician specialty and stage of Meaningful Use attestation. ONC also announced the launch of the Blue Button Co-Design challenge to create new apps to allow patients to better use their health data to improve their care. Announcement

Health Finance News

> Although hospital mergers have been receiving a lot of media attention in recent years, a new study by the American Hospital Association concludes most facilities have yet to be involved in such a transaction. The study found 551 community hospitals were involved in some form of merger between 2007 and 2012--about 10 percent of the nationwide total of community facilities. The average number of hospitals acquired as a result of one of these deals is 1.7, with most deals involving the acquisition of standalone facilities, according to findings from the AHA's Center for Healthcare Economics and Policy. Article

> Slower rates of spending have extended the lease on the life of the Medicare Trust Fund. The fund's trustees reported recently that Medicare is expected to operate financially unimpaired until the year 2026. That's compared to the 2024 insolvency date for the Hospital Insurance Trust Fund that came out of last year's report. Once that date is reached, providers--including hospitals--will not receive full payments for services. Article

Provider News

> Physicians soon will have access to a collection of free online resources to help them screen patients for mental health disorders and concerns, courtesy of a new collaboration between the Association of Medical Colleges (AAMC) and the American Psychological Association (APA). The materials will be available as part of the mental health section of the AAMC's publicly available collaborative, according to a statement from the AAMC. The announcement was made at the White House's National Conference on Mental Health, an event held to further the national dialogue on mental health issues. Article

And Finally... This is why it pays to review the script ahead of time. Article