Stakeholders want delay in New York e-prescribing directive; CMS clarifies how to meet requirements for measure 3 of the MU Stage 2 summary-of-care objective;

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> The New York State Medical Society and several state senators are seeking a delay of New York's new electronic prescribing requirement for controlled substances, currently slated to begin March 27. The new law is meant to reduce prescribe painkiller abuse by reducing the number of forged printed prescriptions. However, physicians need specific Drug Enforcement Administration-approved electronic prescribing software for such prescribing and many don't yet have such systems in place. Announcement

> The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has issued an answer to a new frequently asked question on how to meet the requirements for measure 3 of the Stage 2 summary-of-care objective when the provider can't complete a test with CMS Designated Test EHR (NIST EHR-Randomized application). CMS provides suggested methods and clarifies when the exchange may occur. FAQ

Health Finance News

> Irving, Texas-based nonprofit hospital network VHA Inc. will merge with UHC, a Chicago-based alliance of academic medical centers, to form the nation's largest member-owned healthcare supply chain firm. The resultant company, which has not yet been named, will serve more than 5,000 healthcare system members and affiliates, and about 30 percent of hospitals in the U.S. Article

> Members of the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Health are working on yet another attempt to reform the unpopular Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula. Healthcare industry groups have long called for the permanent repeal of the formula, which ties Medicare payment growth to the overall growth of the economy. Last year a bipartisan proposal to permanently repeal the SGR failed, leading to another short-term patch set to expire at the end of March. Committee members held a two-day meeting this week to find ways to offset the cost of another delay, which Subcommittee Chairman Joe Pitts (R-Pa.), the author of last year's patch, put at about $140 billion. Article

Health Insurance News

> After the outcry over the cancellation of policies that didn't meet Affordable Care Act requirements, the Obama administration allowed some noncompliant policies to continue until 2017. Despite this move from the administration, which has made some insurers discontinue noncompliant policies early, consumers are better informed of their options, according to a post from The Commonwealth Fund Blog. Article

> Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has been a leader in the value-based payment movement, with many contracts already in place with its physicians. Now, the insurer is expanding its focus on value to hospitals, having signed value-based reimbursement agreements with 18 health systems in the state, including 71 hospitals in all. Article

And Finally... What's really frightening is the number of pilots and truckers buying this product. Article