News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel

News, Analysis, Trends, Management Innovations for
Clinical Laboratories and Pathology Groups

Hosted by Robert Michel
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Medicare Program Officials Affirm Meaningful Use Stage Three to Continue Even As the Agency Moves to Implement MACRA’s Value-Based Payment Law

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…)

GOP Senators Join House Republicans in Calling for an End to EHR Payments

Unexpected opposition to EHR incentive program should be watched by pathologists and clinical laboratory managers

Questions about the value of the federal government’s program to encourage provider adoption of electronic health record (EHR) systems were raised by Republican leaders in both houses of Congress just weeks before the election on November 6.

Because clinical laboratories and pathology groups have a big stake in interfacing their laboratory information systems to physicians’ EHRs, this new development bears watching.

In October, GOP Senators and House Republicans joined together and issued a call for an immediate halt to distribution of incentive payments to providers for implementing electronic health record (EHR) systems. This program is now in its second full year of implementation. (more…)

Medicare’s Final Rule for Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) Draws Fire from Healthcare Provider Groups

Prominent national health associations publish tough criticisms of the new final ACO rule

Pathologists and clinical laboratory managers have a ringside seat as the fight to introduce Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) gets underway. On one side is the federal government, represented by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). On the other side are a number of the nation’s most important healthcare organizations.

It is a fight that is heating up. The latest round came just weeks ago, when, on Tuesday, May 17, 2011, HHS unveiled its plan to accelerate the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACO) in this country, including publishing the final rule. It took just days for criticism from major healthcare organizations to fill the new reports.

For its part, HHS believes the new ACO model will save Medicare as much as $430 million over three years. However, many healthcare organizations publicly state that this ACO model contains more risks than rewards. They believe it places an unmanageable reporting burden on the hospitals and physicians that participate in the ACO.

Healthcare Organizations Criticize HHS’ new ACO Model Final Rule

Take the American Medical Group Association (AMGA), for example. Executives representing this influential association expressed their membership’s concern about the ACO proposal. In a letter to Donald Berwick, M.D., Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the AMGA officials wrote that “In an AMGA survey of its membership, 93% of respondents stated that they would not participate in the ACO program unless the requirements in the final rule reflect major modifications to the proposals.”