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August 12, 2009 News 1 Comment

As many as 45,000 office-based physicians who participate in Medicaid and use EHRs could collect as much as $63,750 through the ARRA stimulus plan, according to a new report. The researchers recommend that if you can qualify for the Medicaid funds, you are probably better off. You must have at least 30% of your patients enrolled in Medicaid and use your “certified” EHR in a “meaningful” way. The Medicaid program allows physicians to collect $21,250 in 2011 at the program’s start, then earn an additional $8,500 annually for the next five years. That’s a better deal than Medicare, which rewards early adopters, then pays smaller incentives in subsequent years.

MGMA members say their top concerns and struggles are dealing with operating costs rising faster than revenue, maintaining physician compensation despite reimbursement declines, and selecting and implementing an EHR. Interestingly, medical practice managers ranked these same three issues at the top of last year’s survey. Other big concerns centered around patient collections, uncertain Medicare reimbursement rates, recruiting physicians, and negotiating payer contracts.

hcpsc

Health Care Partners, an FQHC in South Carolina, adopts Visionary Healthware for its EHR, PM, and LIS solutions. Health Care Partners is a 12-provider practice with four locations.

RelayHealth partners with Identity Force to help clients comply with the FTC’s upcoming Red Flags rule. Identity Force’s software identifies suspicious activity involving Social Security numbers and other identifying information.

If you are a  community health center, Happy National Health Center Week. Who knew that such a thing existing? Sage Healthcare obviously did as they are offering volunteer assistance at community health centers throughout the country. Sage employees are lending a hand at six different health centers this week.

data exchange

Family physicians now have their own social networking site, thanks to the AAFP and their subsidiary TransforMED. Delta-Exchange is a virtual, online learning community that is available to primary care doctors for $30 a month. The site includes online discussions, interactive Webinars, practice improvement articles, and customizable policy and procedure forms.

What to do if a you are a doctor and your patient wants you as a friend on Facebook? What is ethical? What follows HIPAA guidelines? Information Week discusses the dilemmas healthcare providers face as social media become more mainstream. Here is an insightful comment: “We had these same conversations 10 or 15 years ago about the Internet. As the Internet became ubiquitous, people wrote articles about whether medical groups should have Web sites, and whether doctors should have e-mail. Now, it’s taken for granted, as they should.”

A Minnesota chiropractor is sued by the state attorney general for fraudulently pushing high-cost credit cards onto patients, then pre-billing them for thousands of dollars in treatment. The clinic may have obtained high interest credit cards for as many as 150 patients, a good number without patient consent. The clinic is also accused of inflating patient income figures in order for them to qualify for the cards.

The medical profession is not recession-proof, at least according to this Ohio State Medical Association study. The report found that 70% of the 559 medical professionals surveyed claim their practice had seen either a decrease in business, or, an increase in the number of cancellations. A whopping 92% said they seen an increase in patients having lost their health insurance from the period of October 2008 and June 2009. Most practices also noted that more patients are having trouble paying their bills.

suncoast

Suncoast Medical Clinic (FL) selects Learn.com to deliver online courseware and managed training services to its employees and customers. Suncoast is comprised of over 50 physicians serving six locations.

Individual and family health savings account balances increased in the first quarter of 2009, which is the first time since Q2 2008. Employer and employee contributions to HSAs nearly doubled quarter-over-quarter. Individual and family account holders age 51+ hold the highest average account values.

Get ready for the deluge. The pharmaceutical industry authorizes lobbyists to spend about $150 million on TV ads supporting healthcare reform. To give you an idea of what $150 million will buy, consider that the Obama campaign spent $236 million on TV advertising during the election, and McCain spent about $126 million. Obviously the drug makers stand to gain millions of new customers and millions more dollars if healthcare coverage is expanded.

inga

E-mail Inga.

Comments 1
  • Correct me if I’m wrong, but none of the state Medicaid programs is required to pass through the entire ARRA benefit to the qualifying physicians, right? So, that still-mythical $65K per doc would require that the state not skim off any of the money…like they did with the tobacco settlements.

    We’re getting calls every day from pediatricians asking when they can start collecting their ARRA money (or to ask what they need to do to get it) when it doesn’t even start flowing until 2011.

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