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Health Management Technology News
  March 5, 2014
In this issue:

► HHS expands tax credits in states with failed PPACA exchanges

► Physicians Interactive and McKesson announce partnership to provide Coupons on Demand

► American College of Surgeons launches grassroots campaign to drive public awareness on repealing the SGR

► HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 Ambulatory Award

► Can technology fix India’s broken healthcare system?

HHS expands tax credits in states with failed PPACA exchanges

The Health and Human Services Department (HHS) this week quietly expanded access to ObamaCare subsidies and tax credits in states, where the online exchanges have failed disastrously. The Affordable Care Act requires consumers to enroll through a uniform application on the national and state exchanges to qualify for federal subsidies and credits.

However, the state-run exchanges in some of these states — Oregon, Maryland, Massachusetts and Hawaii in particular — have experienced more technical problems than even the federal website. Consumers in those states are having difficulty enrolling five months after the launch.

The HHS change will allow those who tried to sign up on their state-run exchanges, but couldn’t, to retroactively obtain the subsidies they would have been eligible for, even if they ended up purchasing healthcare through a private insurer. The privately purchased plans must still meet certain basic requirements of the healthcare law.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) said in a statement it was working closely with officials in states with the troubled exchanges to implement their marketplaces.

“We recognize that some states have experienced difficulties in processing automated eligibility determinations and enrollments, and today we released guidance providing options to Marketplaces to ensure eligible consumers have access to financial assistance and issuers are paid,” the agency said in a statement. “We will continue to work closely with states to assist them in moving forward with their Marketplaces so that all consumers can take advantage of their new coverage options.”

Read the full The Hill report here ► 

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Physicians Interactive and McKesson announce partnership to provide Coupons on Demand

Physicians Interactive (PI), the leading provider of online and mobile clinical resources and solutions for healthcare professionals (HCPs), and McKesson Patient Relationship Solutions (MPRS), a leading provider of pharmaceutical manufacturer-sponsored patient adherence programs, are collaborating to jointly deliver Coupons on Demand™.  The new solution is designed to provide clinicians convenient access to medication cost-savings offers and adherence support through a patented web-based platform.

This Coupons on Demand collaboration expands on the PI-MPRS partnership previously announced to deliver the eCoupon automated voucher and coupon distribution within the e-prescriber point of care workflow.

The Coupons on Demand solution allows brands to intelligently extend co-pay voucher and coupon program reach and access through a network of over 100,000 registered HCPs.   The solution serves as a unique, multi-brand destination that HCPs are more likely to visit and revisit than single brand sites in order to view, order and print available coupons and vouchers - including offers from new brands as they become available.

Web and mobile access is available at any time from any location including geographically challenging areas. It's ideal for reaching physicians in restricted access facilities and HCPs with limited time to meet with sales representatives.  In addition, patented technology allows brands to specify target HCPs they wish to reach and apply business rules in support of brand program goals.

"We are excited to expand our partnership with MPRS to include the Coupons on Demand solution," said Donato Tramuto, CEO and Chairman of PI.  "As pharmaceutical companies' budgets are cut, sales teams are reduced and access to physicians becomes increasingly restricted, brands are finding it more challenging than ever to reach HCPs. Coupons on Demand addresses this challenge by allowing targeted, eligible HCPs to request cost-savings offers and adherence support for the prescription brands they prescribe -  all from a single, convenient web-based source."

Read the full Physicians Interactive release here ► 

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American College of Surgeons launches grassroots campaign to drive public awareness on repealing the SGR

The American College of Surgeons (ACS) in collaboration with several other medical societies has launched a month-long grassroots initiative to build support for a bill that would repeal the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR).  The medical societies believe that the current bill in Congress, the SGR Repeal and Medicare Provider Payment Modernization Act of 2014 (H.R. 4015/S. 2000), is the most fiscally responsible way to repair the nation’s broken Medicare system.

Past history has shown that instead of fixing the Medicare physician payment system, Congress has repeatedly passed legislative “patches” to keep the ineffective payment system in place.  Over the past 11 years, 16 patches have cost $154 billion—more than the total cost of the SGR repeal bill.

The campaign urges Senators and Representatives to cosponsor the SGR Repeal Act and calls on them to push congressional leadership to pass this legislation before the April 1 deadline, otherwise, a 23.7 percent cut in the Medicare physician payment rate will take place.  The bicameral SGR repeal legislation has bipartisan support and is the best chance for a long-overdue solution to the broken Medicare physician payment system.

The physician community has done its part.  We are united around sound policy that stabilizes the Medicare program and transitions to a program based on the quality and value of the care provided rather than the quantity of procedures, services or tests ordered.  Now, Congress must act and keep its promise to pass legislation. believes “the time is now for representatives and senators to sign on as co-sponsors so that this important step is taken to build a more sustainable, fair, and efficient Medicare physician payment system.  This legislation will help ensure patient access to high quality surgical care.”

For more information on how to support the campaign to repeal the SGR, visit here ► 

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HIMSS Analytics Stage 7 Ambulatory Award

HIMSS Analytics recognized 263 Ohio State University clinics with its Stage 7 Ambulatory Award. The award represents Ohio State University’s attainment of the highest level on the Electronic Medical Record Adoption Model (EMRAM), which is used to track EMR progress at hospitals and health systems.

Developed in 2011, the EMR Ambulatory Adoption Model provides a methodology for evaluating the progress and impact of electronic medical record systems for ambulatory facilities owned by hospitals in the HIMSS Analytics™ Database. Stage 7 represents the highest level of EMR adoption and indicates a health system’s advanced electronic patient record environment.

During the fourth quarter of 2013, only 4.33 percent of the more than 20,000 U.S. ambulatory clinics in the HIMSS Analytics Database received the Stage 7 Ambulatory Award.

“Achieving Stage 7 is a result of our belief that the advanced use of technology can improve the quality of patient care and ultimately improve people's lives,” said Phyllis Teater, chief information officer for The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center. “Our EMR system, IHIS, allows us to make medical information available whenever it is needed by patients and health providers alike. We take this very seriously and are extremely proud of the people who made this a reality. That includes the project team and our community of users who work with us to adopt and improve the system.”

Located in Columbus, The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center is the only academic medical center in central Ohio and one of the largest and most diverse academic medical centers in the country. Ohio State's Wexner Medical Center includes a top-ranked College of Medicine, six hospitals, a unified physician practice, a network of primary and specialty care practices, more than a dozen research centers and institutes, and 20 core laboratories. It is driven by a mission to improve people’s lives through innovation in research, education and patient care.

“Ohio State University has deployed their EHR across their clinics and begun to reap the benefits that a unified system can deliver,” said John P. Hoyt, FACHE, FHIMSS, exeve vice president HIMSS Analytics. “The clinical and operational analytics at Ohio State are among the best in the nation. They have begun devising proactive alerts to drive improvements in cancer care prevention and early detection. We are proud to have Ohio State recognized as a Stage 7 Ambulatory care organization to go along with their designation as a Stage 7 acute care.”

Ohio State University will be recognized at the 2015 Annual HIMSS Conference & Exhibition on April 12-16, 2015, in Chicago, Ill.

Visit the HIMSS Analytics Web site for more information on the Stage 7 award ► 

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Can technology fix India’s broken healthcare system?

There is no question that the Indian healthcare system is broken. This is why there is so much buzz in trying to find solutions to heal the sick healthcare system. I enjoyed attending theHealth 2.0 conference held recently in Bangalore. There were a lot of clever entrepreneurs who were showcasing their healthcare technology start-ups. It was inspiring to see how much innovation is happening in India at the grass roots level.

The trouble is that technology companies are busy looking for technological solutions. They are focused on genomics; big data analytics; mHealth; personalized medicine; and wearables. It’s possible today to acquire huge amounts of personal data from the individual, so that medicine can become more personalized. This is a very seductive concept, which is based on the implicit assumption that the more we know about the patient ( by analyzing his data), the better the job the doctor will be able to do.

While this is perfectly logical, unfortunately we sometimes forget that human life is actually extremely messy. More is not always better – and sometimes the signal-to-noise ratio for this data is very poor. It ends up creating a lot of hype, which is why they make for great conference presentations, but this creates a lot of confusion as well, because it’s hard to find the nuggets of actionable wisdom in this haystack of data.

Read the full Health India article here ► 

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