George Halvorson touts health IT at Digital Health Conference; Why hospitals should tap ICD-10 for outpatient procedures;

News From Around the Web

> Speaking at the Digital Health Conference in New York City, Kaiser Permanente chairman George Halvorson touted the use of health IT, specifically at his organization. "We focus on having extensive and always-available data surrounding all of our care delivery outcomes," Halvorson said at the event. "We need electronic data to improve care, improve science and create a link to patients. Electronic data is transformational and continuous learning will be the future of healthcare." Blog post

> According to ICD-10 Watch editor Carl Natale, there are two good reasons hospitals should tap ICD-10 for outpatient procedures: 1) standardized data on all procedures and 2) medical coders [have] more scheduling flexibility. "Data is like oxygen to payers," Natale writes. "Standardizing data will help them make decisions. Of course that relies on the payers being able to manage the transition." Article

Provider News

> In an era of healthcare reform, the industry can achieve higher quality care and better outcomes for patients by closing and consolidating low-volume hospitals, according to an article by Robert Pearl, M.D., CEO of The Permanente Medical Group in California and a contributor to Forbes. Although consolidations and closings are painful and most hospitals will resist them at first, Pearl said they are inecessary to drive down costs of care and boost quality, even when patient volume increases at remaining hospitals. Article

Health Finance News

> As Pennsylvania's policymakers struggle with a decision to expand its Medicaid eligibility under the Affordable Care Act, the Keystone State is facing a potential cut of $325 million in funding next year, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported. Article

> California has no limit in the amounts hospitals can bill for services. But Maryland's Health Services Cost Review Commission caps hospital bills. The result: Stark differences in charges but little variation in profit margins, according to the Huffington Post. That was the conclusion of David Belk, M.D., an internal medicine physician who writes regularly on healthcare finance issues. Article

And Finally... Today's paper? Heartwarming and heroic headlines. Article

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