Clarification comes just a week after one CMS official had discussed the end of Meaningful Use at a conference in San Francisco
Talk about mixed messages! Is the federal Meaningful Use (MU) program about to end? Or is it going to continue and evolve in significant new ways?
Alert pathologists and clinical laboratory executives may have picked up on the conflicting statements about the future plans for Meaningful Use that have been made in recent weeks by certain officials from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
Because thousands of hospitals and hundreds of thousands of physicians have made substantial capital investments in electronic health records to qualify for federal incentives, any major change to the Meaningful Use requirements will have broad consequences.
Medical laboratories have a big stake in this issue as well, since they must invest substantial money into creating the interfaces needed to connect their labs’ laboratory information systems (LIS) to the EHRs of client hospitals and physicians. (more…)
AJMC study shows ACOs that allocate majority of shared savings to primary care providers are more likely to generate savings
When it came time to pay bonuses to Medicare’s Pioneer ACOs and Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs based on 2014 results, a substantial proportion of the payments went to primary care physicians compared to hospitals and specialist physicians. Significantly, only a minority of these ACOs qualified for bonus payments.
Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers watching the growth of ACOs will find it notable that primary care doctors received 46% of the shared-savings bonuses in the program’s first two years. Hospitals received 27% of the incentives while 20% went to specialists, according to a Modern Healthcare report.
High Expectations That ACOs Can Help Control Healthcare Costs
Twenty Pioneer ACOs and 333 Medicare’s Shared Savings Program (MSSP) ACOs combined to produce more than $411 million in total savings in 2014, although only 29% of the organizations generated enough savings to earn a bonus, a CMS Fact Sheet indicated.
“These results show that accountable care organizations as a group are on the path towards transforming how care is provided,” stated CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt in a statement. “Many of these ACOs are demonstrating that they can deliver a higher level of coordinated care that leads to healthier people and smarter spending.” (more…)
Clinical laboratories and pathology groups can expect to see more growth in the number of patients served by ACOs and that will require labs to have a new pricing strategy
Will ACOs be the next big thing in American healthcare? Many people are betting that will be true as the number of ACOs continues to increase. Some reports indicate that as many as 750 Medicare and private ACOs were in operation as of early 2015, compared to about 250 ACOs in 2013.
Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers watching the ACO trend will find it significant that Medicare ACOs now serve about 5.6 million beneficiaries. According to a report issued by Oliver Wyman, that is about 11% of all Medicare beneficiaries. Providers in these ACOs are paid under a different arrangement than the long-established Part B fee-for-service price schedule.
The big question mark about ACOs is whether they can deliver significant cost savings while improving patient outcomes. This summer, officials at the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported on the savings generated by the agency’s pilot ACO programs. The two main accountable care organization programs are the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the Pioneer ACO Program. (more…)
CMS wants pathologists and other healthcare providers to report “every issue—small, medium and large,” when someone gets in the way of information sharing
Federal health officials are taking steps to end technology vendors’ “data blocking” practices that inhibit the electronic transfer of patient information. This is a tactic that has proven costly for pathology groups and clinical laboratories that want to interface their laboratory information systems with providers’ or hospitals’ electronic healthcare records (EHRs).
The fiscal year 2015 Omnibus Appropriations Bill passed by Congress in December directed the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (ONC) to decertify electronic health record products that are knowingly interfering with the sharing of health information. (more…)