The MGMA sends a letter to David Blumenthal, noting concerns that an inappropriate definition of meaningful use and an ineffective administration of ARRA stimulus funds could result in a failed implementation of ARRA, needless squandering of resources and significant disruption of the health system. MGMA offered several specific recommendations, including instituting a pilot test prior to the start of the program to ensure that the process of demonstrating meaningful use is achievable and practical. The letter also encourages the National Coordinator’s office to monitor the EHR marketplace for cost-effective and efficient products and to ensure fair business practices. To William Jessee and staff: well-done. MGMA is voicing valid concerns that highlight the many gaps in ARRA legislation, and offers logical recommendations. We absolutely need the meaningful use requirements to be achievable and applicable. And, why not do some testing in advance to make sure that HHS, vendors and providers all agree what meaningful use looks like. I am not sure how necessary it is to have the government provide vendor oversight; I mean, if a vendor doesn’t have a product that works, won’t market forces address that? Still, MGMA did a good job addressing what are likely major concerns of its members.
The House passes a $10 billion loan program to help doctors and small medical practices purchase EMR and other HIT systems. The bill would allow loans of up to $350,000 per physician and $2.5 million for group practices. The bill has now moved on to the Senate.
The emergency physician group at Thibodaux Regional Medical Center (LA) selects PracticeMax to provide paperless coding services. The process requires the ED department scan and upload clinical documentation and patient demographic data, which is then coded by PracticeMax.
Gateway EDI’s plans to increase its employees from 250 to 310 and expand its St. Louis headquarters. The $38 million company grew 35% last year.
MedAptus announces that its system for capturing professional charges is available for BlackBerry smartphones and coming next year for the iPhone.
The 21-provider Golden Valley Medical Center (MO) signs an agreement with InteGreat to deploy InteGreat EHR.
Precision Information Management Services announces it will offer an ASP version of the Allscripts Ophthalmology EHR Pro and PM software.
Similarly, MedLink International says it will provide a SaaS option for its MedLink TotalOffice EHR.
KLAS says its making its performance evaluations shorter, based on feedback from providers and vendors. KLAS will also begin grouping questions on software into four main categories. The goal of the changes is to eliminate redundancy and focus on questions that best differentiate vendors.
Patients with chronic wounds can now stay at home and still receive treatment remotely from certified wound care specialists. Wound Technology Network and AT&T are partnering to provide clinical staff with smart mobile devices that support videoconferencing tools. When providers are at a patient’s home, the device will allow staff to connect with Wound Technology Network’s tele-health center to help them assess and treat the wound. Clinical staff can also transmit a image for upload into an EMR.
Elsevier announces its ‘All You Need to Make A Difference’ Donation Campaign, which benefits the volunteer physicians at Doctors Without Borders. The campaign provides Doctors Without Borders a free subscription to MD Consult subscription for each paid subscription received through December 18th. Elsevier estimates the campaign could provide as many as 400 subscriptions worth $140,000. If I am interpreting this right, it also could add 400 subscriptions and $140,000 in sales revenue for Elsevier. Is it cynical to feel Elsevier is somewhat exploiting the Doctors Without Borders name in order to boost end of year sales?
More consolidation in the billing service world, with Intermedix acquiring the assets of Texas ER Medical Billing. Intermedix’s EPBS division, as well as Texas ER Medical Billing, provide RCM services for ER physicians.
Office Ally, a clearinghouse providing free claims processing, receives full accreditation from EHNAC.
Now that physicians have the opportunity to earn federal stimulus funds, some hospitals are reconsidering plans for offering subsidies under the relaxed Stark laws. The AMA looks at various hospital programs offering partial to full subsidies, despite the potential for stimulus money. Meanwhile, some hospitals that had not yet offered formal subsidy plans are re-considering their alternatives. Here’s some logical advice: don’t jump into cheapest option without making sure it meets the practice’s needs and has the necessary tools to meet meaningful use criteria.