CMS awards $20 million to 11 organizations as the initial part of its five-year program to provide free, in-the-trenches Quality Payment Program training and education to solo or small group practices. It will give out up to an additional $80 million over the four remaining years. The organizations include Altarum, Georgia Medical Care Foundation, Healthcentric Advisors, Health Services Advisory Group, IPRO, the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement, QSource, Qualis, Quality Insights, Telligen, and the TMF Health Quality Institute. CMS has also launched a helpline – 1-866-288-8292 – for providers who need assistance with the program.
March 9 (Thursday) 1:00 ET: “PAMA: The 2017 MPFS Final Rule.” Sponsored by National Decision Support Co. Presenter: Erin Lane, senior analyst, The Advisory Board Company. This webinar will offer a discussion on the implications of the Protecting Access to Medicare Act and steps to take to ensure compliance for the January 1, 2018 deadline. Attendees will also learn about CDS tools that can be implemented to ensure they have the information to submit for reimbursement.
Announcements and Implementations
FirstApproved develops payment software that helps providers assess patient eligibility and determine up-front costs, plus links them with third-party financing when available.
Jacksonville Children’s & Multispecialty Clinic (NC) selects paperless billing technology from PatientPay, and integrates it with its NextGen PM software.
Southwest Diagnostic Imaging (AZ) implements NextGate’s EMPI and associated patient identity management solutions across its 33 centers in the greater Phoenix area.
Primary care management services business VillageMD appoints Ezekiel “Zeke” Emanuel, MD to its Board of Directors. It will be Emanuel’s first stint on a private-sector board. Fun facts: Emanuel, an oncologist and former advisor to the Obama administration, is the older brother of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the newest correspondent for Fox News.
Benedikt Brueckle joins CompuGroup Medical US as CEO. Current CEO Werner Rodorff will continue in the role of CTO.
Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock
Integra Connect formally launches to offer cloud-based technologies and services to oncology and urology groups, and EMS and life sciences organizations. The West Palm Beach, FL-based company is led by founder and former P4healthcare CEO Raj Mantena and former Healthagen CEO Charles Saunders, MD.
CitiusTech opens a technology center in Rochester, MN shortly after opening similar facilities in India and the UAE. It is the global healthcare technology and services company’s third US location.
Research and Innovation
A survey of 766 providers reveals that a third are thinking about moving to new payment models like direct primary or concierge care within the next three years. Top motivators for the impending change include the desire to spend more time with patients, improve work/life balance, and unshackle their practices from the administrative chains that bind them to payers. The grass isn’t always greener, though: Thirty-five percent of providers working at fee-for-service practices cite financial viability as their biggest challenge, while nearly 40 percent of direct primary care providers call patient recruitment their main hurdle.
Teladoc integrates its app with Kinsa’s smart thermometer app as part of a broader effort to attract and retain large employer customers. The integration will enable users to import up to 10 days of temperature readings for physician review.
An Excellus BCBS telemedicine survey of 2,000 adults living in upstate New York finds that 25 percent plan to use telemedicine and 25 percent don’t, with the rest undecided. Those that have used telemedicine or plan to reported that an in-person visit is still their preferred method of care, followed by a telemedicine visit with their physician, trip to an urgent care center, and a virtual visit with a different provider. Interest in virtual visits seemed to decline with the age of the respondent. Excellus launched telemedicine visits via MDlive last month.