Safety net hospitals less likely to meet MU; CMS issues exclusion for electronic notes menu objective;

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> Electronic prescribing and clinical decision support are the two certification criteria that have been selected for the new open test method development program. This pilot program from the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT will now move to develop innovative test methods to make testing more transparent, user friendly and real world. Website

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued a news update about the Stage 2 electronic notes menu objective. The objective requires more electronic documentation of patient symptoms, treatments, circumstances and other observations. CMS also released a new exclusion for this objective for eligible professionals who have not had any office visits during the reporting period. There is no such exclusion for eligible hospitals. Website

> Safety net hospitals are more likely to fail to meet Meaningful Use and be subject to penalties, according to a new study of California hospitals published in Health Affairs. These hospitals are also more likely to fall short in meeting the requirements of other initiatives, such as value based purchasing and the hospital readmission reduction program. Abstract

Health Finance News

> Price transparency initiatives are taking hold slowly in the U.S., and are now active in 35 states and a variety of hospitals, according to an American Hospital Association (AHA) white paper. The AHA felt the need to more closely examine price transparency initiatives given the trend of cost-shifting onto individual patients, while acknowledging that consumers could benefit from more financial data. However, the AHA conceded that "these public and private resources provide varying levels of detail on price and quality information. Article

> Hospitalists have raised concerns about the two-midnight rule as it currently stands, claiming that it has a negative impact on both patient care and patient finances. According to a new study by the Society for Hospital Medicine, the rule also impacts their workflow and clinical decisions. Article

Health Insurance News

> As insurers continually point to providers' bargaining power as a primary driver of growing healthcare costs, many maybe working to boost their own market strength by buying up smaller companies. Health analysts believe that Medicaid insurers--including Centene, Health Net, Molina and WellCare--are particularly poised for a merger or acquisition from larger insurers like Aetna, Cigna, Humana or UnitedHealthcareArticle

> People living in rural states have access to fewer insurance plans and higher premiums compared to consumers in the rest of the country, according to a new report from the University of Pennsylvania and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In fact, urban and rural areas widely differ even within the same state. Article   

And Finally... OK in the fuel tank, but not in the lavatory. Article