ONC reauthorizes three certifying entities; CommonWell adds five Pacific Northwest-based providers to its ranks;

News From Around the Web

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has reauthorized three certified bodies for its health IT certification program: Drummond Group, ICSA Labs and Infogard Laboratories, Inc. ONC will accept new applications of ONC-ACB status at any time. Applications can be obtained directly from ONC. Website

> The CommonWell Health Alliance continues to grow, announcing this week the addition of five Pacific Northwest-based providers--Virginia Mason Medical Center, Seattle Cancer Care Alliance, EvergreenHealth, Tuality Healthcare and Mason General Hospital & Family of Clinics--to its network. The alliance expects to have more than 5,000 provider sites enrolled by the end of 2015. Announcement

Health Finance News

> So-called "cowboy doctors"--clinicians who provide intensive, but unnecessary care--account for more than a third of all Medicare expenditures at the end of life and 12 percent of all Medicare expenditures overall, according to a new study by Harvard University researchers. The term "cowboy doctors" are a contrast to what the study called "comforters"--doctors who provide palliative care near the end of life. Such doctors are likely to be male and practice in the South and Southeast. Article

Health Insurance News   

> There has been a "considerable drop" in the number of people who say they get their primary health insurance through their employers as consumers continue to explore non-traditional coverage options, according to a new survey. In the 2015 edition of Valence Health's "U.S. Attitudes Toward Health Insurance and Healthcare Reform" survey, 38 percent of respondents said they received health insurance through their employer, down from 59 percent who said the same in the company's 2013 survey. Article

> With the Cadillac tax slated to take effect in 2018, employers continue to evaluate their current health benefits and consider cost-reduction strategies to avoid triggering the tax. For instance, some employers are increasing deductibles, eliminating covered services and using less expensive and narrower provider networks. These changes ultimately will result in employees paying for more of their healthcare out-of-pocket costs, according to an issue brief from the Kaiser Family Foundation. Article

And Finally... And I thought New York just takes a bite out of one's wallet. Article

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