Tag Archives: ARRA
Posted on 31. Jan, 2010 by .
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) has been around for awhile, but now more than ever, you need to make sure your practice keeps patients’ protected health information (PHI) private and secure.
Eye opener: HITECH, a part of the ARRA stimulus bill passed last year, raises the fines providers must pay if they are responsible for a PHI breach and fail to notify people affected. HITECH also allows state prosecutors to use the federal HIPAA law to prosecute breaches on their own. And the Attorney General in Connecticut is already trying his hand at enforcing HIPAA penalty provisions for security violations.
This past month, AG Richard Blumenthal sued Health Net, a health plan, for breaching private patient medical records and financial information involving 446,000 of its enrollees. To make matters worse, Health Net didn’t notify enrollees about the breach until 6 months after a portable disk drive containing their PHI was stolen from the plan’s corporate office, Blumenthal alleges. Data on the drive was unencrypted, and included sensitive information like social security numbers and bank account numbers.
Posted on 05. Jan, 2010 by .
While most of us were celebrating the last few days the Old Year and preparing to welcome the New Year, the federal regulators had one last, little rulemaking frenzy for 2009. The result is a 555-page proposed rule implementing the HITECH portion of the ‘ARRA’ stimulus bill, as well as a last-minute change to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule.
Why you should care about the proposed HITECH rule: Remember ARRA, that economic stimulus bill Congress passed last February? In the mammoth bill is the HITECH Act, which mandates a $44,000-per-physician incentive for practices that adopt electronic medical records early. To obtain the incentive, practices must meet certain criteria, which the feds have outlined in this 555-page proposed rule published December 30th.
Not exactly light reading, so if you want a quick fact sheet, go here and stayed tuned to Coding News for alerts to the important stuff you need to know. Example: We’ll let you know the minute we figure out exactly what the feds mean by “meaningful use.”
The public has 60 days to comment on the proposed rule before federal regulators go back to the drawing board to finalize it.
The Medicare Physician Fee Schedule News: CMS made some last minute changes to the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Database for 2010. ”Over the Christmas holiday, Congress froze the conversion factor at the 2009 rate ($36.0666) until Feb. 28,” explains Part B Insider sage Torrey Kim. “As of March 1, it will supposedly go down to the proposed 2010 rate, but I’m sure there will be another vote blocking it by then.” You can read all…
Posted on 19. Aug, 2009 by .
Be a hero. Figure out how you can get an extra $44K per physician in your practice.
As a coder, you’re where the buck stops when it comes to the practice’s bottom line. So, you’re no doubt wondering whether your practice should go for the $44,000-per-physician bonus payment available to practices that adopt electronic medical records system early.
Potential pitfall: While the ARRA incentive money seems attractive, it could be more trouble than it’s worth for some practices.
Help is here: To get an overview ARRA perks for your practice, and assess your readiness to take advantage of them, check out this cool tool from the American Health Information Management Association.
Some things to consider, according to AHIMA:
- hardware the practice currently uses, including PDAs, etc.
- computer savvy among physicians and staff
- EHR vendor types … More …
Posted on 19. Mar, 2009 by .
And Wal-Mart’s looking to slash prices. $300K to install an EMR system? Phooey, says the big box retailer.
Through Sam’s Club, the company plans to offer EMR for a $25,000 start-up fee for the first physician in the practice, $10,000 for each additional doctor, and an annual maintenance fee of about $5,000 a year … More…
Posted on 17. Mar, 2009 by .
ARRA, the recently passed stimulus package, contains incentives and penalties designed to get 90 percent of physicians on electronic medical records system within the next 10 years. A mass move to EMR will save the health care system $80 billion a year, President Obama has claimed.
That cost savings is exaggerated, argue two Harvard doctors in a recent Wall Street Journal editorial. Both physicians work at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, which has been using EMR for years.
Obama’s $80 billion figure is based on a RAND corporation study “funded by companies including Hewlett-Packard and Xerox that stand to financially benefit from such an electronic system,” the editorial points out.
Heads up, say the doctors. In some cases, EMR actually drive up costs. They cite a study in which EMR systems actually encouraged doctors not to question costly misdiagnoses … More …
Posted on 05. Mar, 2009 by .
The government’s stimulus bill,known as the “American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009″ (ARRA), strengthens the HIPAA requirements that practices face, increasing penalties for privacy breaches, and creating restrictions on how you can share protected health information (PHI).
Important: The bill will require your practice’s business associates to implement policies that establish administrative and technical safeguards; those associates could face fines or penalties if they breach the HIPAA rules.
Posted on 27. Feb, 2009 by .
Did you know that ARRA, the new stimulus package, is predicted to drive 90% of physicians to adopt certified electronic health records within the next 10 years? And, that EMR can actually help you with the ICD-10 implementation you need to accomplish over the next 5 years?
Posted on 24. Feb, 2009 by .
The stimulus bill that’s gotten so much press recently offers potentially huge paydays for medical practices, and we’ve got the numbers for you.
The American Recovery and Reinvestment Bill of 2009 (ARRA) has some good news for medical practices across the country–over $25 billion will go toward healthcare initiatives.
Opportunities for Cash: The stimulus bill will offer annual bonuses for five years to physicians who participate in the federal healthcare programs (such as Medicare) that use meaningful electronic health records (EHRs).