Providers unhappy with ECG's lack of coordination with EHR systems; MMRGlobal files patent infringement lawsuit;

News From Around the Web

> The new HIPAA omnibus rule will have a major impact on electronic health records, according to a new article in ABA Health eSource, the online magazine of the American Bar Association's Health Law Section. Some of the areas where EHRs will be affected by the new rule include notice and breach of patient protected health information, patient access to records, Notices of Privacy Practices, and data security, according to Catherine Barrett, Adela Lucero and Erin Williams--health policy analysts with MITRE. The rule went into effect March 26; compliance is required by Sept 23, 2013. Article

> Many providers are dissatisfied with their ECG systems' inability to coordinate with their EHRs and to achieve interoperability, according to a new report from Orem, Utah-based research firm KLAS. As a result, many are considering other options, especially as interoperability is a major component of Stage 2 of the Meaningful Use program, which goes into effect in 2014. Report

> Los Angeles-based personal health record vendor MMRGlobal has filed a lawsuit against Jardogs, a newly acquired subsidiary of Allscripts, for patent infringement. MMR claims that the company infringed on its PHR patents and is seeking money damages plus a permanent injunction. Announcement

Health Finance News

> Medicare cost variations across geographical regions have more to with health status than wasteful spending or inefficient care practices, according to study published in the journal Medical Care Research and Review. Researchers from the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC) and UC Davis Center for Healthcare Policy and Research (CHPR) analyzed claims from 1.6 million Medicare beneficiaries in 60 representative communities and found population health explained at least 75 percent to 85 percent of Medicare cost differences between high- and low-cost areas. Article

> At least 250,000 U.S. veterans won't get insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act, putting financial strain on the healthcare industry in general and at the hospitals where they obtain care in particular. Altogether, 40 percent of veterans have incomes at or below 138 percent of the federal poverty level. Article

Provider News

> Hospital admissions from the emergency room increased by 17 percent over seven years, in part because primary care physicians often rely on the emergency physicians to evaluate and hospitalize their most complex and sickest patients, according to a new report from the RAND Corporation. Both physicians and patients rely heavily on emergency care offered at hospitals. The report found four in five people who contacted their primary care physician or other medical provider before seeking emergency care were told to go directly to the ER. Article

> People struggling to control their weight also tend to have a hard time finding a doctor they want to stick with, thus compromising continuity of care for a population at increased risk for health problems, according to new research published in the journal Obesity. Researchers at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine found overweight patients doctor-shopped--defined as switching doctors more than five times within two years--23 percent more than patients of normal weight. Article

And Finally... Sadly, this was reported by Yahoo as 'odd news.' Article