House passes bill that delays ICD-10, two-midnight rule, provides SGR patch

From Fiercehealthcare:

The House of Representatives on Thursday approved a temporary fix to the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for one year in a bill that also delays ICD-10 implementation until at least October 2015 and postpones hospital compliance with the controversial “two-midnight rule”and recovery audits of medically unnecessary claims until March 2015.

The last-minute voice vote, arranged under special rules that provided for no amendments and limited debate, needed only a two-thirds majority (290) vote.

The bill still needs approval of the Senate before Congress’ deadline of midnight on Monday, March 31.

In a move that came as a surprise to many in the healthcare industry, late Tuesday night lawmakers pitched the new bill that provides the SGR patch but also lumped in a delay to ICD-10, the two-midnight rule and recovery audits of medically unnecessary claims through March 31, 2015. House Speaker John Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid negotiated the last-minute fix.

Boehner told Politico that he was confident that he could get GOP support for the short-term patch, but also needed dozens of Democrats to back it as well.

But many in the healthcare industry oppose the latest bill. The American Medical Association urged its members to contact their representatives and tell them to vote no on temporary fixes.

And the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste (CCAGW) and the National Taxpayers Union  said in a statement that the legislation would “nullify the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service’s Recovery Auditing Contractors program by delaying implementation of the two-midnight rule and, more alarmingly, suspending recovery audits of medically unnecessary and improper healthcare claims through March 31st, 2015.”

In defense of Google Flu Trends


In 2008, Google released an experiment called Flu Trends, which attempted to predict the prevalence of the flu from searches that users made for about 40 flu-related queries.

Based on the data up to that point in time, Flu Trends worked really well. The Centers for Disease Control, which had been involved in shaping how it functioned, liked the data that it produced.

And so, aside from some misplaced nagging about privacy, the new tool was celebrated in the news media. All the big outlets covered it: CNN, The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many, many more.

Flu Trends fit the golden image of Google, circa 2008: a company that did gee-whiz things just because they were good ideas.

This was all years before people started even talking about “big data.”

But times have changed. Now, data talk is everywhere, and people are more worried than excited. The NSA looms over every tech discussion.