VA offers $3M to create new open-source software; AHA urges MedPAC to increase hospital pay;

News From Around the Web

> On Monday, the Veterans Affairs Department announced a contest to replace its 25-year-old patient scheduling system, with $3 million in prizes for the development of a new program using open source software, Nextgov reports. Article

Healthcare Insurance News

> Hospital readmissions represent a huge portion of unnecessary--and preventable--healthcare costs, accounting for 30 percent of total inpatient costs among commercial health insurance members. Article

> Five insurers--Aetna, UnitedHealth, Anthem, ConnectiCare and a new CO-OP (HealthyCT) run by the Connecticut State Medical Society--have announced their intention to sell plans through Connecticut's health insurance exchange. Article

Electronic Medical Record News

> Small physician groups who want to use their electronic health records to improve patient care will need technical support to meet that goal, according to a new study in Health Affairs. For the study, researchers from Weill Cornell Medical College and the Primary Care Information Project of the New York City Health Department evaluated 3,300 physicians at 600 primary care practices in underserved neighborhoods serving disadvantaged patients. Article

Healthcare Provider News

> As the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission is scheduled to vote later this week on payment changes for the 2014 fiscal year, the American Hospital Association is urging MedPAC to revise its recommended 1 percent pay bump and consider the consequences of sequestration. Article

> In Jenn Riggle's Hospital Impact blog post this week, vice president of Weber Shandwick Worldwide and member of its healthcare practice describes a common theme in seven patient-centered care must-haves--convenience. With patient satisfaction directly influencing reimbursement, hospitals worrying about their pocketbooks are revamping services so that patients can manage their care from home or locations close by. Article

And Finally...The iPotty? Really? Really. Article

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Welcome to this week's Chutes & Ladders, our roundup of hirings, firings and retirings throughout the industry.

Federal lawmakers are taking a hard look at how the VA protects patient data shared with VA-approved health apps.