Monday, May 24, 2010

AMA and Others Challenge "Red Flags Rule"

On May 21, the American Medical Association (AMA), American Osteopathic Association (AOA), and the Medical Society for the District of Columbia (MSDC) filed a lawsuit against the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), challenging the FTC's definition of "creditors," under the "red flags rule," which currently includes licensed health care professionals because they usually defer payment for services until insurance reimbursement is received.

The "red flags rule" requires creditors to implement procedures to prevent and monitor identity theft by June 1. Application of this rule would require financial investment and changes in current policies and procedures. In January, health professional organizations sent a petition to the FTC, arguing for the removal of licensed health care professionals from the rule. The medical groups argue that the rule is intended to apply to banks, large creditors, and other groups, not to medical professionals.

Implementation of the rule has been delayed several times due to various challenges from other affected professions. The American Bar Association has already obtained a decision from the US District Court for the District of Columbia, stating that lawyers are exempt from the rule. Congress has also taken action, exempting small businesses. The current implementation date for the rule is June 1. In the meantime, the AMA will provide physicians with information on how to comply with the rule until a decision in the lawsuit is reached.

Source: BNA

Friday, May 21, 2010

Are You Ready for Point of Origin Codes?

New Point of Origin codes go into effect on July 1, 2010. Anissa Fabrizio, RHIA, CCS, of St. Anthony Central Hospital in Denver, CO wrote a piece on how her facility is preparing for the change with training for registration and coding staff.

To read the full article, click here:

The CMS Transmittals on the Point of Origin codes can be found here:

Source: MIC Monitor

Monday, May 17, 2010

Dartmouth Physicians Stress Importance of Coordinated Care

In a Washington Post column, Jim Yong Kim, president of Dartmouth College, and James M. Weinstein, president of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Clinic, believe that the next test of health reform is how the healthcare system will provide cost-effective quality care to the millions of Americans who now have coverage.

Kim and Weinstein believe that the solution lies in the way healthcare is delivered, calling for fixes to the delivery system. Among the changes suggested include a universal patient medical record that will ensure that healthcare professionals receive up to date, accurate information on a patient's conditions and medications as he or she is moved through the continuum of care.

Dartmouth has established the Center for Health Care Delivery Science to bring together researchers who can help find a way to improve the delivery of care so the goals of health care reform can be achieved.

To read the Washington Post column, click here:

To learn more about the Dartmouth Center for Health Care Delivery Science, click here:

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Recurring Outpatient Registration Implemented in Ohio Hospital

The News Messenger reports that Bellevue Hospital in Bellevue, Ohio has implemented the Recurring Patient Registration System in response to a patient's request for an easier outpatient registration process. The system allows patients coming to the hospital for recurring lab or Family Birthing Center visits to register once per quarter with the Patient Access Department. Once registered, patients can go directly to the lab or Family Birthing Center for their services without registering each visit.

According to director of revenue cycle and quality management Marianne Schoen, the program was created because a patient visiting the hospital several times a week for an ultrasound to monitor her pregnancy asked why she had to register each time if the hospital already knew the reason for her recurring visits and had her information.

The article reports that 300 patients have registered in the program.

Source: The News Messenger

Thursday, May 6, 2010

HHS Requests Information on Disclosures of Protected Health Information

In the May 3, 2010 issue of the Federal Register, the Office of Civil Rights of the Department of Health and Human Services has issued a request for information regarding the implementation of the Heath Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH Act). HHS requests information to help them understand the interests of individuals regarding the disclosure of their protected health information (PHI) and the administrative burdens that would be placed on healthcare and business entities covered under the act in order to account fro such disclosures.

HIPAA-covered entities are currently required to provide an account of certain PHI disclosures to a patient upon request. The HITECH Act would expand this rule to require covered entities to account for certain disclosures of PHI contained in a patient's electronic health record. HHS is seeking information from the public to assist in the drafting of this expanded rule.

The Federal Register announcement includes 9 questions that they would like commenters to answer. A list of the questions, along with information on how to submit comments can be found here:

Comments are due by May 18, 2010

Monday, May 3, 2010

New HIT Implementation Goals Announced

David Blumenthal, national coordinator for health information technology for the Department of Health and Human Services, announced that the agency will be selecting 15 communities as pilot sites that will work with HHS and the states in implementing health information technology and regulations.

This spring, CMS will issue the final regulation on "meaningful use" and the Office of the National Coordinator will issue regulation on certification standards for electronic health records (EHRs). CMS and ONC are currently reviewing comments collected last winter, which urge the agencies to consider the pace at which health IT and EHRs must be adopted and held to a high-functioning standard of use since there is not a solid infrastructure in place yet.

Blumenthal indicated that HHS is also working on regulations to ensure the flow of data and to ensure that penalties are in place when patient data is breached.

Source: BNA