HITRUST partnership creates privacy and security certification program in Texas; Online system promising for mental health diagnoses;

News From Around the Web

> The Texas Health Services Authority and the Health Information Trust Alliance this week announced they will team up to develop and implement the Texas Covered Entity Privacy and Security Certification Program--a formal approach to certification that incorporates state and federal privacy and security regulations. The program was created via the 2011 passage of Texas House Bill (HB) 300. Announcement

> An online system currently being used by primary care practices in the Netherlands holds promise, researchers say, as a tool for screening patients for mental health disorders and offering preliminary diagnoses, Reuters Health reported. The system--TelePsy--enables patients to complete diagnostic tests at home, and was introduced to physicians in the Netherlands in September 2011. Article

Health Finance News

> The Agency of Health Care Quality has issued a report that attributes a large chunk of the nation's healthcare spending on a tiny proportion of patients. Altogether, just 1 percent of the nation's population was tied to $1.3 trillion in healthcare spending in 2010, roughly 21 percent of the nation's total. These patients' healthcare costs are running about $88,000 per capita. Article

> Hospitals offset lost revenue from cuts in Medicare hospital prices by spending less on operations, according to a new study in the journal Health Services Research. Using Medicare hospital costs reports from 1996 to 2009, the study's authors analyzed and quantified the price impact of alterations to the Medicare payment formula from year to year. They found not-for-profit hospitals balanced out revenue reductions by decreasing operation expenses, while declines in revenue led to a one-to-one decrease in profits among for-profits. Article

Provider News

> Scammers continue to take advantage of the fact that a majority of Americans remain misinformed about healthcare reform, and because of the government shutdown, fraud is harder to monitor. Two weeks before the launch of HealthCare.gov, Attorney General Eric Holder met with the chairwoman of the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and other senior officials to prepare for likely attempts at fraud and organize a preemptive defense. One of the most common scams involves a phone call from someone claiming to be a government employee asking for an individual's Social Security number, bank account number or other personal information, ostensibly to sign the person up for a new Medicare card, according to Katherine Hutt of the Better Business Bureau. Article

And Finally... Not exactly part of a balanced breakfast. Article