House Republicans tell CMS to stop mandatory involvement in payment reform proposal

From Modern Healthcare:

House Republicans are asking the CMS to stop new mandatory payment models they say threaten quality of care and overstep the agency’s bounds.

In a letter to CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt and Chief Medical Officer Patrick Conway, the 179 members of the House say the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation has “exceeded its authority” and “patients are blindly being forced into high-risk government-dictated reforms with unknown impacts.”

Lawmakers and provider groups have advocated at least delaying the new payment models, saying more time is needed to review the proposals. Republicans in the House have also said the Congressional Budget Office may be biased in evaluating the CMMI proposals.

Proposed NJ law spells out rules on telemedicine

From NJ1015:

In today’s digital age, seeing a doctor via video conference doesn’t sound so outrageous.

A bill advancing in Trenton aims to change that, creating a definition for the practice that spells out who’s eligible to participate, which technology can be used and how the cost of services would be covered.It already exists in the Garden State, but New Jersey is on a very short list of states without regulations specifically addressing the field of telemedicine — the virtual interaction between patient and doctor.

Healthcare Leaders Tout Telehealth as “The Future of Medicine”

From Healthcare Informatics:

The consensus among physician and healthcare IT leaders who met at the New York Health IT Summit to discuss the newly emerging telehealth paradigm was pretty clear—telehealth will change how physicians practice medicine, and healthcare organizations beginning to test the waters now will have a competitive advantage in the future.

Mississippi hospital to shutter after ED closure

From Becker’s:

Marks, Miss.-based Quitman County Hospital CEO Jeff Geraci said the hospital has taken the first steps to shutter the facility, reports FOX13.

QCH discontinued emergency care services earlier this year due to financial constraints, according to the article.

Study: Confusion on end-of-life forms can cause elderly patients to receive more emergency care than they may have wanted

From the University of Buffalo:

In recent years, Physicians’ Orders for Life Sustaining Treatments (POLST) forms have been seen as an important way to honor the end-of-life wishes of frail elderly or terminally ill patients who cannot speak for themselves.

But while the goal of filling out POLST forms is to let providers know patients’ preferences regarding life-sustaining treatments, the information they contain is often ambiguous, a new University at Buffalo study has found.

Published online yesterday in the Journal of the American Medical Directors Association, the study is called “Decisions by Default: Incomplete and Contradictory POLST in Emergency Care.”

Emergency Room Medical Decision-Making (MDM): Driving E&M Codes

From ICD10Monitor:

Throughout the country, physicians have been taught to make sure that they capture all of the elements of history of present illness (HPI), review of systems (ROS), past family and social history (PFSH), and physical exam (PE). However, either they have not been taught or have failed to show that the driver of evaluation and management codes (E&M) is MDM. Let me try to provide an example.

RN average hourly wage & salary for all 50 states

From Becker’s:

Here are the average hourly wage and salary for registered nurses in all 50 states, based on BLS data gathered in May 2015, listed in alphabetical order.


Hourly: $33.54
Annual Wage: $69,760


Hourly: $28.32
Annual Wage: $58,910


Hourly: $26.46
Annual Wage: $55,040


Hourly: $27.60
Annual Wage: $57,410

California governor signs balance billing legislation

From Becker’s:

California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) signed into law a bill that aims to prevent patients from receiving unexpected medical bills from physicians not covered by a patient’s health plan, reports KQED.

Bill AB 72 will require physicians bill patients at in-network rates, or 125 percent of the Medicare rate, if a patient inadvertently receives care from an out-of-network physician, such as an assisting surgeon or anesthesiologist. Legislators will establish an independent review board to address and resolve disagreements between physicians, health plans and patients.

Hospital sued over firing of employees who refused flu shots

From the Post:

Federal authorities are suing a Pennsylvania hospital, alleging religious discrimination in the firing of six employees who refused to get flu shots.

The lawsuit was filed Thursday in federal court in Erie by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission against Saint Vincent Hospital, which was founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph of Northwestern Pennsylvania.

Beginning in October 2013, the hospital required employees to get flu shots unless they were granted an exemption on medical or religious grounds, in which case they were required to wear a face mask. The suit alleges that six employees who refused to get flu shots due to their religious beliefs were fired, while the hospital granted medical exemptions to 14 others in late 2013 and early 2014.

UT researchers get $3.38M to study post traumatic stress

From the Blade:

A five-year, $3.38 million federal grant to the University of Toledo will allow researchers to study post-traumatic stress disorder in patients treated at local emergency departments.

The research grant is the largest UT has received from the National Institute of Mental Health, officials said.