New Proposed Federal Rule Could Remove Requirement for Hospitals to Share Negotiated Medicare Advantage Rates with CMS

CMS says it is responding to hospitals’ plea for relief from burdensome reporting requirements, but not altering federal price transparency laws Despite federal price transparency law that went into effect January 1 after a year-long court battle, some hospitals continue to balk at sharing their payer-negotiated rates for healthcare goods and services—including medical laboratory testing—claiming a variety of challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic, vaccine distribution, and other...

COVID-19 Pandemic Tied to Historically Low Influenza Cases, Leading to Uncertainty about Next Winter’s Flu Vaccine

Clinical laboratories may see increase in flu and COVID-19 specimen processing as people return to pre-pandemic social behaviors, experts predict While SARS-CoV-2 infections continue to ravage many parts of the world, influenza (flu) cases in North America have hit a historic low. As winter approached last year, infectious disease experts warned of a “twindemic” in which the COVID-19 outbreak would combine with seasonal influenza to overwhelm the healthcare system. But this did not happen, and...

FDA Grants CLIA Waiver Allowing First Test for Chlamydia and Gonorrhea to Be Performed at the Point of Care

Federal regulators continue to recognize value of clinical laboratory testing in near-patient settings To help in the diagnosis and management of two sexually-transmitted diseases, another point-of-care diagnostic test will soon be available for use in physician’s offices, urgent care clinics, and other healthcare settings. The federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced it granted a CLIA waiver for the binx health io CT/NG assay, a molecular platform used to detect sexually...

Wall Street Journal Investigation Finds Computer Code on Hospitals’ Websites That Prevents Prices from Being Shown by Internet Search Engines, Circumventing Federal Price Transparency Laws

In a letter, Congress urged the HHS Secretary to conduct “vigorous oversight and enforces full compliance with the final rule” Analysis of more than 3,100 hospital websites by The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) has found “hundreds” containing embedded code that prevents search engines from displaying the hospitals’ prices. This is contrary to the Hospital Price Transparency Final Rule (84 FR 65524), passed in November 2019, which requires hospitals to “establish, update, and make public a list of...

Academic Institutions Still Rely Heavily on COVID-19 Symptom-Checking Technology Despite Questions About Its Usefulness

A New York Times report suggests that frequent testing is still the best approach to controlling spread of the SARS-CoV-2 coronavirus Many colleges and universities go to great lengths to screen their students for signs of COVID-19 using technologies that include fever scanners, heart-rate monitors, and symptom-checking apps. But a recent report in The New York Times, titled, “Colleges That Require Virus-Screening Tech Struggle to Say Whether It Works,” suggests that academic institutions...

Federal Government Study Shows EHR Interoperability at All Time High as 55% of Hospitals Report Robust Data Exchange

But information blocking remains a barrier to complete information exchange, creating ongoing issues for clinical laboratories and pathology groups Interoperability of electronic health records (EHRs) remains one the biggest challenges for clinical laboratories and anatomic pathology groups that must interface with the EHRs of their physician clients to enable electronic transmission of medical laboratory orders and test results. Laboratory professionals will be pleased to know the most recent...
;