ONC creates mark to identify certified EHR products; CMS posts new answers to FAQs about Meaningful Use program;

News From Around the Web

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a new logo to identify and mark electronic health record products that have been certified as meeting the standards of the 2014 edition of ONC's certification program for health IT. The mark will be administered by ONC's independent authorized certification bodies (ONC-ACBs). Website

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released two new answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the Meaningful Use Incentive program. The first question addresses whether a provider who retires or opts out of the Medicare and/or Medicaid program can still receive an incentive payment. The other deals with when a hospital can use the case number threshold exemption for the clinical quality measures requirement. Website

Health Finance News

> Hospitals in the U.S. are becoming increasingly aware of policies that provide equal treatment and access to gay, lesbian and transgendered patients. According to the 2013 Healthcare Equality Index survey, 93 percent of hospitals include sexual orientation as part of their non-discrimination policies, and 90 percent grant equal visitation rights to same-sex couples and parents. The survey can be used to determine how well hospitals are complying with Joint Commission guidelines. Article  

> The Healthcare Financial Management Association created a joint effort with the Association of Credit and Collection Professionals to develop best practices for collecting medical debt. The HFMA and the collections lobby, which goes by ACA International, have been meeting since March to develop guidelines that would improve collections while preserving relationships with patients. The proposals include providing patients up to 120 days to pay a bill before posting a negative report with the credit reporting agencies, reporting all payments to agencies and increasing the practice of point-of-service collections in the hospital. Article

Provider News

> Canadian researchers have compiled a "conversation guide" to help steer clinicians through important end-of-life discussions. According to an article published online Monday in the Canadian Medical Journal, the guide focuses on identifying patients with whom conversations should be held, the most effective ways to provide information, and how discussion and deliberation can lead to important decisions. Article

> Despite heightened industry attention on curbing prescription painkiller abuse and misuse, officials in several regions say that doctor shopping is still a daily problem, in part because inappropriate prescribers don't face tough enough consequences.  And despite an increase in physician education and tools to identify patients at risk for prescription abuse, authorities told the New Hampshire Union Leader that they are currently so busy addressing the crime of doctor shopping in the state that they have time to focus on only the most egregious cases. Article

And Finally... The telehealth's not surprising, but a six week vacation is! Article