Nonprofits, for-profits offer similar amounts of charity care, while government hospitals offer more; ICD coding freeze

> Whether not-for-profit hospitals are providing sufficient charity care is a thorny issue. A study published in BMC Health Services Research on BioMed Central offers some insights. The 10-state study of 2005 inpatient data involving patients hospitalized for acute myocardial infarction, coronary artery bypass grafting or childbirth found that not-for-profit and for-profit hospitals provided similar amounts of uncompensated care--and both provided less than government-owned hospitals. Article

> The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services expects to announce at this September's ICD-9-CM Coordination and Maintenance Committee meeting whether or not it will move forward with a partial freeze in the annual updates to both ICD-9-CM and ICD-10-CM/PCS code changes. The purpose of the freeze (proposed for Oct. 1, 2011 through Oct. 1, 2014) would be to calm fears that instructional or coding software programs would require frequent, significant updates. The ICD-10 coding system will be implemented on Oct. 1, 2013. Fact sheet

> Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare based in Glendale, Wis., is offering scheduled billing clinics to allow patients to meet individually with hospital representatives to address billing issues, reports the Milwaukee Business Journal. More than 200 patients attended the first clinic. Article

> RACmonitor provides additional insights on why the Medicare Appeals Council's recent "O'Connor Hospital" ruling eventually could result in reduced recoupments by Recovery Audit Contractors and changes in the reconsideration process. Article

> The Florida House has passed a bill that would send most Medicaid enrollees into managed care plans, reports the Miami Herald. The Florida Senate previously passed its own bill, and negotiations between the houses are now under way. Article

> The Financial Accounting Standards Board wants to change healthcare accounting standards to make reports on charity care based on direct and indirect costs, relates Becker's Hospital Review. Article

> St. Joseph's Regional Medical Center in Paterson, N.J., and sister facility St. Joseph's Wayne Hospital have finalized a new contract to provide services for commercial plan members of Aetna Inc. However, Aetna's Medicare Advantage enrollees won't be covered at network rates, reports The Record. Article

> CMS has its own YouTube channel. The most recent video posted is "The Road to Data Democracy: Introducing the CMS Dashboard." Website

And Finally... I might try this cure for my allergies too. Article