ONC holds first meeting of Consumer Empowerment Workgroup; VA official grilled by congress for backlog of veterans' medical claims;

News From Around the Web

> The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT's HIT Policy Committee held its first Consumer Empowerment Workgroup meeting this week, Government Health IT reports. The workgroup was created to tackle issues focusing on increasing patient engagement efforts in the healthcare industry. Meaningful Use Stage 2 and current IT standards dealing with patient engagement were discussed. Article

> Members of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee this week grilled U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs Undersecretary for Benefits Allison Hickey about the VA's backlog of veterans' medical claims, according to an iHealthBeat post. Despite recently spending $491 million on a paperless benefits management system, the backlog currently sits at more than 895,000 pending claims, 70 percent of which are more than 125 days old. Hickey told the committee that she recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the U.S. Department of Defense to provide all medical information to VA in an electronic format. Post

EMR News

> Long term and post acute care providers have "numerous" opportunities to engage in health information exchange, and need to adopt interoperable electronic health record systems, according to a new issue brief published by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT. The brief acknowledges that EHR adoption and HIE use by LTPAC providers is lagging in acute care settings. Article

Provider News

> The medical community can do a better job with expensive end-of-life care, which often is poorly coordinated and fails to acknowledge patient preferences, according to a new perspective piece published in JAMA Surgery. Patient-centered end-of-life care that avoids aggressive treatments patients might not want also helps reduce costs, researchers from the University of California, Los Angeles Department of Urology noted in their article. Article

Health Insurance News

> Although health insurance exchanges represent a considerable new source of revenue, they also pose significant new billing and collecting challenges that insurers must sort out before they can realize those financial benefits. Article

And Finally… If a town is looking to enhance its image, I doubt doing this would help. Article

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