PHR vendor sues over patent infringement; CMS, ONC to hold 'listening session' on EHRs and coding;

News From Around the Web  

> Personal health record vendor MyMedicalRecords, Inc., a subsidiary of MMR Global, has filed a lawsuit in federal court in California against Quest Diagnostics for patent infringement. MMR claims that Quest has infringed on its PHR patent. The company is seeking damages and injunctive relief. Announcement

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT have announced that they will hold a "listening session" on electronic health record systems and billing/coding issues on Friday, May 3. Speakers will discuss key issues, such as the impact of EHRs on patient care, provider efficiency and coding, as well as coding challenges and opportunities for different stake holders. Website

> The global e-prescribing market is poised for significant growth, with a compound annual growth rate of 26 percent from 2012 to 2017, according to a report being promoted by MarketsandMarkets. The market is expected to reach $794 million by 2017. Announcement

Health Finance News 

> Healthcare spending nationwide increased 3.9 percent in February 2013 compared to February 2012, according to new data from the Altarum Institute. Despite spending levels reaching a historic low, healthcare jobs continued to grow at a steady clip. Healthcare now accounts for one out of every nine jobs in the U.S., an all-time high, according to Altarum. That's despite the fact that last month, the healthcare sector created only 23,000 jobs, below the two-year monthly average of 24,000. Article

> The owner and chief financial officer of Sacred Heart Hospital in Chicago, along with four affiliated physicians, have been arrested and charged with conspiracy to pay and receive kickbacks for referrals of Medicare and Medicaid patients to the 119-bed hospital, the U.S. Justice Department announced April 16. Those arrested by the FBI include Edward J. Novak, Sacred Heart's owner and CEO, Roy M. Payawal, the hospital's CFO, and four physicians. Agents with the FBI and the Office of the Inspector General seized about $2 million in Medicare payments from various hospital bank accounts. Article 

Provider News

> A large number of medical providers remains unprepared for the Oct. 1, 2014, implementation of ICD-10 codes, a problem discussed last week at the American College of Physicians annual meeting. In particular, roughly 65 percent of physicians' clinical documentation doesn't contain enough information for coders to use for billing under the new system. Article  

> Despite fierce controversy, existing physician-assisted suicide or death-with-dignity programs in the U.S. appear to be well-accepted by patients and clinicians, according to a report published in the New England Journal of Medicine. For the most part, families anecdotally describe such deaths as peaceful, according to the report's authors, and frequently express gratitude after the prescription is received, regardless of whether it is ever filled or ingested. Article

And Finally... Now that's going out in style. Article