Radiologist arrested for stealing EHR records; EHR use by Canadian docs jumps;

News From Around the Web

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a reminder to eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals that the attestation deadline for the 2014 reporting period is Dec. 31. CMS had extended the deadline, which was originally Nov. 30. Payment adjustments will be applied at the beginning of fiscal year 2016 (Oct. 1, 2015) for Medicare hospitals that don't successfully demonstrate Meaningful Use in 2014. Website

> Electronic health record use is becoming more widespread in Canada, with 75 percent of physicians using electronic records to enter or retrieve clinical patient notes from laptops and desktops, up from 26 percent in 2007, according to a new National Physician Survey. Fifty-two percent of respondents did report some technical glitches and 46 percent had compatibility issues with other systems. Announcement

> A Long Island, New York, radiologist has been arrested for taking the information of almost 10,000 patients from his employer's EHR. James Kessler, M.D., has been charged with unauthorized use of a computer, unlawful duplication of computer materials and petit larceny. He had connected an external hard drive to the computer system and stole, not only patient medical records, but also credit card information, billing information and corporate marketing materials. Announcement

Health Finance News

> Hospital hiring, which stayed mostly stagnant for several years as part of the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act, has blossomed back to life over the past year, according to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) and the Altarum Health Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. The BLS data indicated hospitals added a seasonally adjusted 4,300 jobs in November compared to October, and 28,500 more jobs than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, the numbers rise to 9,000 more jobs month over month and 32,000 more jobs from November 2013. Article

> The American Hospital Association (AHA) has appealed directly to the chief administrative law judge of the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals to assist in reforming a system currently overloaded with appeals of recoupments made by recovery audit contractors (RACs). The AHA's letter to Judge Nancy J. Griswold this month was part of the court's request for comments on how to better address the current backlog. Article  

Health Insurance News

> Premiums for employee-based family health insurance plans increased 73 percent from 2003 to 2013, and employer contributions to those plans jumped 93 percent, according to new research from the Commonwealth Fund. The premium for family coverage averaged $9,249 in 2003 and $16,029 last year. Article

> U.S. health insurers can expect solid margins and return on capital next year, Fitch Ratings announced. The firm expects operating profit margins for employer plan sponsored membership to experience growth in the to 7 to 8 percent range in 2015. Article  

And Finally... Imagine her mood if she had been asked to pay for the snack! Article