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Health Management Technology News
  March 28, 2014
In this issue:
 

► Sound off on today's healthcare companies and trends

► Testers say federal health care website runs slow

► Baxter announces plans to create two separate leading global healthcare companies

► Voters should know who’s holding up their health care

► House passes ICD-10 delay bill, Senate next to Vote


Sound off on today's healthcare companies and trends

Help us rank the healthcare industry’s “best” suppliers in key product, service and technology areas.

We will report your shared opinions in an upcoming issue of Health Management Technology.

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Testers say federal health care website runs slow

If you're waiting until the last minute to sign up for coverage under President Barack Obama's health care law, a little extra patience might come in handy.

HealthCare.gov, the online portal to taxpayer-subsidized health insurance, runs slowly when compared with major private health insurer websites. That's according to an analysis for The Associated Press by Compuware, a Detroit company that measures website performance.

The tests found that response time for HealthCare.gov averaged nearly nine seconds nationally over the seven-day period that ended Tuesday. Generally, response time for leading private health insurance websites averages just under five seconds. Based on that real-world comparison, Compuware says the speed of HealthCare.gov is "unacceptable."

On the positive side, HealthCare.gov was available more than 98 percent of the time, about average for the industry.

Compuware defines "response time" as the time it takes a first-time user to load the home page for a given website. The company's tests did not attempt to go through the entire process of applying for health insurance, which involves submitting personal and income details, getting the information verified by government agencies, and finally selecting a plan.

This week is crunch time for the federal health care website. Open enrollment ends Monday. After March 31 most consumers will have to wait until Nov. 15 for their next chance to sign up and receive tax credits to help pay their premiums.

The administration said late Tuesday that people who've started applying for health insurance but aren't able to finish before the March 31 deadline will get extra time. It was unclear how long the extension would last.

"As a taxpayer I'd be thinking, did we get our money's worth?" said Michael Smith, Compuware's vice president for engineering. "I'd be very concerned coming up against a deadline. ... My main concern is how would this site stand up under load?"

Read the full WSPA report here ► 

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Baxter announces plans to create two separate leading global healthcare companies

Baxter International Inc. announced plans to create two separate, independent global healthcare companies -- one focused on developing and marketing innovative biopharmaceuticals and the other on life-saving medical products. Both will be global leaders in their respective markets.

Baxter has positioned both businesses to be successful, profitable and sustainable independent companies, and this decision reflects further evolution of Baxter’s multi-faceted strategies emphasizing a commitment to innovation and operational excellence. To date, this has led to the development of a robust pipeline of novel and cost-effective therapies and numerous in-licensing collaborations within the biopharmaceuticals business, and the medical products portfolio was recently bolstered by the acquisition of Gambro AB, a global provider and leader of dialysis products, providing a number of longer-term growth opportunities as well as significant commercial and cost synergies.

''Baxter has an established history of executing successful spinoffs, and we have continued to evaluate the separation of these two businesses in response to diverging business dynamics and the rapidly changing macro-environment,'' said Robert L. Parkinson, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer. ''This decision underscores Baxter’s commitment to ensuring its long-term strategic priorities remain aligned with shareholders’ best interests, while improving our competitive position and performance, enhancing operational, commercial and scientific effectiveness and creating value for patients, healthcare providers, and other key stakeholders.''

Read the full press release here ► 

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Voters should know who’s holding up their health care

With less than one week remaining before the March 31 deadline for health coverage this year, a Republican filing a lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act has become a familiar, if tiresome, sight. But Republicans filing a lawsuit against the law on the grounds of copyright infringement? That’s something new.

Yet that is effectively what happened this month in Louisiana. On March 14, the state’s lieutenant governor sued the progressive group MoveOn.org over a billboard criticizing Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid in the state. The billboard uses Louisiana’s tourism slogan — “Pick Your Passion!” — and adds: “But hope you don’t lose your health. Gov. Jindal’s denying Medicaid to 242,000 people.” The lawsuit claims that the MoveOn ad will “result in substantial and irreparable harm, injury, and damages” to the Louisiana tourism office — as if denying health insurance to the neediest will not cause the state “substantial and irreparable harm.”

Read the full Washington Post article here ► 

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House passes ICD-10 delay bill, Senate next to Vote

The US House of Representatives has passed a bill that would delay the implementation of ICD-10-CM/PCS for one year. A similar bill in the Senate is expected to be voted on soon. AHIMA has called on proponents of ICD-10 to contact their senators and ask that they not delay ICD-10.

The bill, H.R. 4302 – Protecting Access to Medicare, mainly adjusts the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) for Medicare payments, which dictates how much physicians get paid for services. But bill section 212, a seven line section inserted into the SGR patch bill, also states that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) cannot implement the ICD-10 code set until October 1, 2015, a year later than the current date of October 1, 2014.

The bill introduced by Representative Joe Pitts (R-PA) states: “The Secretary of Health and Human Services may not, prior to October 1, 2015, adopt ICD–10 code sets as the standard for code sets under section 1173(c) of the 13 Social Security Act (42 U.S.C. 1320d–2(c)) and section 14 162.1002 of title 45, Code of Federal Regulations.”

Read the entire Journal of AHIMA article here ► 

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