Some CAH docs get attestation reprieve; Rural veterans get more health IT;

News From Around the Web

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is extending the attestation deadline for eligible professionals (EPs) who bill for outpatient services in critical access hospitals using CAH method II and were not able to attest because they were improperly characterized as hospital-based professionals. To qualify, an EP needs to contact the EHR Information Center to log in a complaint. Article

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has rolled out 10 pilot programs to help veterans in rural areas use health IT to improve care coordination and care quality. The Veterans Initiative Electronic Care Coordination Project (VIECC) helps veterans access the information in the VA's personal health portal, My HealtheVet. The program focuses on educating and engaging veterans regarding access and in training non-VA providers. HHS has also awarded $900,000 in grants to use health information exchange and telehealth to serve rural veterans. Blog post

Health Finance News

> Hospitals erroneously bill Medicare millions of dollars a year because they incorrectly classify the patients they treat, according to a report issued late last week by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General. Hospitals wrongly classify many patients as "new" as opposed to "returning" or "established," the OIG report said. Medicare pays clinics a higher rate when it treats patients for the first time. Article

> Should the government impose financial penalties on recovery audit contractors (RACs) if a clawback they performed against a hospital is overturned on appeal? That's a proposal being put forth by the most senior member of the House Ways and Means Health Subcommittee. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) made the suggestion to HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to reduce the mounting backlog of RAC-related appeals at the Office of Medicare Hearings and Appeals, which also handles the appeals of individual Medicare beneficiaries. Article

Health Insurance News

> Insurers already are anticipating the need to raise prices for 2015, reports Reuters. The first group of enrollees represents a higher rate of older and more costlier members than anticipated so insurers will need to raise premiums to avoid losing money. Article

> When consumers challenge a healthcare service their insurer denied, they win about half the time, data from California insurance departments show. The Affordable Care Act allows all consumers to appeal any denied service to a third party, like a state insurance department. Before the reform law, no standard process for appealing an insurer's denial existedArticle

And Finally... A painful spelling lesson. Article