Oregon's prisons to implement EHR system; ONC proposes new EHR certification rule;

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> The state of Oregon is planning on transitioning the records of its current and former prison inmates from paper to an electronic health record system, the Statesman Journal reports. The proposed 2015-17 budget allocates $3 million for the project. There are more than 14,000 current prison inmates and files on more than 40,000 former ones. Article

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has given its Blue Button website a "facelift" to make it easier to use. The content is the same, but the toolkit has a new look and feel. The Blue Button initiative, a private/public partnership, enables consumers to get access to their EHRs from participating providers. Website

> ONC is poised to publish a new proposed rule that would change the EHR certification program. The rule, which currently is being reviewed by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), would, among other things, modify the certification program to make it more broadly applicable to other types of healthcare settings and programs and use a new base EHR definition. It is not yet known when OMB will complete its review. Statement

Health Finance News

> Hospitals are continuing to hire staff, adding 7,000 new jobs to their ranks during the month of December, according to recently released data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Hospital payrolls inched up 0.14 percent, to a seasonally adjusted total of 4.84 million, BLS reported. Article

> The task of revenue cycle management (RCM) will be one of the fastest growing segments of healthcare delivery in the coming years, but hospitals will likely outsource it more often. The RCM market is expected to grow at a compounded annual rate of 7.2 percent from 2014 to 2019, according to upcoming data from MicroMarket Monitor. Article  

Health Insurance News

> Healthcare billing cost the U.S. economy about $471 billion in 2012, according to a recent study from BMC Health Services Research. Private insurers contributed to $198 billion, while public insurers accounted for $35 billion. Article

And Finally... Criticize all you want, but I say give peas a chance. Article