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Health Management Technology News
  June 13, 2014
In this issue:
 
 AMA continues work to reshape medical education

 Three million U.S. employees enrolled in private health insurance exchanges

 Healthcare remains drag for Democrats as 53% oppose Law

 Estes Park Medical Center goes live with MEDHOST EDIS

 States can shed light on healthcare prices

 10 things to know about rising hospital charges

What you need to know about ICD-10
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Seven Strategies to Improve Patient Satisfaction
Hospital reimbursements are now influenced, in part, by patient satisfaction scores. Read about seven areas to target in your hospital for happier, more satisfied patients.

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AMA continues work to reshape medical education

The American Medical Association (AMA) called yesterday for improvement of the country's medical education system by creating a more consistent and streamlined process for students to move from medical school to residency. The nation's largest physician organization adopted new policy at its Annual Meeting to encourage development and implementation of a set of common competencies that students must demonstrate to advance to the next level of their training and into practice, rather than the time-based model that medical schools currently use.

"The AMA is focused on transforming medical education to prepare physicians to practice in the evolving health care landscape of tomorrow," said AMA Board Member Stephen Permut, M.D. "We must continue to identify and implement the best methods to ensure students and residents have the preparation and tools they need to advance through medical school and residency and enter practice in a way that is tailored to their individual learning needs and achievement of key competencies, not based merely on a traditional time-based system."

Read the full press release from the AMA here  

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Three million U.S. employees enrolled in private health insurance exchanges

An estimated three million people currently receive employer health benefits through a private exchange, according to new report by Accenture released at the annual America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) Institute in Seattle.

Accenture's analysis shows three-times as many people enrolled in private exchanges for 2014 benefits as the company originally forecast last year. And Accenture expects this trend to continue, projecting total enrollment in private exchanges will ultimately surpass state and federally funded exchanges, reaching 40 million by 2018.

"Private exchanges are experiencing hyper growth and will significantly change the role consumers have in personalizing their own employer health benefits," said Rich Birhanzel, managing director, Accenture Health Administration Services. "With the first material open enrollment period concluded last year, private exchanges have an unprecedented opportunity to differentiate and prove the value of this new model over traditional self-managed plans."

Read the full press release here  

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Healthcare remains drag for Democrats as 53% oppose Law

President Barack Obama is urging Democratic candidates to defend the health-care law in this year’s elections and turn it into a winning issue.

Despite some progress, they’ve got a long way to go.

Fifty-three percent of Americans oppose the law, even as the proportion of those saying it should be repealed has dropped to 32 percent, a Bloomberg National Poll shows.

Several of the Affordable Care Act’s provisions do enjoy modest to robust popularity. That suggests Republicans may also need to update their message from the calls for repeal in the 2010 and 2012 elections, if they want to appeal to voters beyond their party’s base.

“They should tweak it and make it better,” said Marshall Wade, 60, a federal worker and independent voter from Fredericksburg, Virginia.

The majority of Americans -- 60 percent -- say the law has so far meant no real change to their own health care. About a quarter say it has resulted in big changes, while 15 percent report small differences.

Read the full article from Bloomberg.com here  

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Estes Park Medical Center goes live with MEDHOST EDIS

MEDHOST, Inc. announced that Estes Park Medical Center (EPMC) has implemented the MEDHOST Emergency Department Information System (EDIS) to help streamline workflows and overall ED processes while also helping to enhance care provided to the community of Estes Park, Colorado.

The 25-bed critical access hospital selected MEDHOST EDIS because it is clinically driven, developed specifically for the ED, and offers unique features such as onsite customization, built-in risk mitigation and ePrescribe capabilities. The solution’s intuitiveness and usability has already led to high clinician adoption, and as such, the facility expects more immediate enhancements to ED clinical and operational processes. The flexibility of the MEDHOST EDIS will also help EPMC better manage the influx of patients during the summer when the ED has its highest patient volumes.

“MEDHOST provided excellent guidance on solution and business best practices, which greatly prepared our entire ED staff to leverage the solution to its fullest potential and establish better clinical workflow and processes right from the start. This support, combined with the usability and flexibility of the solution, will play a key role in helping us continually create efficiencies and enhance the care we provide,” said Dr. Christopher Daley, emergency department physician at Estes Park Medical Center. “I am excited to see the continued benefits the MEDHOST EDIS will bring to the hospital, the ED staff and, most important, to our patients.”

Read the full press release here  

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States can shed light on healthcare prices

As Obamacare was being debated in Congress in 2009, Peter Orzag, the Obama administration’s first Office of Management and Budget director, famously claimed that the new entitlement would “bend the cost curve.” Five years later, it’s clear that Obamacare has not and will not bring down health care costs. The Rand Corporation predicts that Americans who buy health insurance on the Obamacare exchanges will pay nearly $2,000 more annually by 2016 than they otherwise would’ve.

A major barrier to reining in health care costs is the lack of pricing information. In a free market economy like the United States, price transparency is essential. Whether it is the supermarket, car dealer, maid service, or other business, prices are clearly advertised to consumers, which allows them to make the most rational and cost effective decisions. Such price transparency does not exist in the health care industry. This price opacity is one of the most significant obstacles to bringing down health care costs. However, while Congress is doing nothing to address this problem, solutions are coming from the state level.

Health care consumers with high deductible, low cost plans already have an incentive to pay close attention to the price they pay, since it comes out of their own pocket. However, patients who have first dollar, expensive insurance often have no idea what their insurer ended up paying for their treatment. Sometimes the insurer is even billed for services not received. This lack of price transparency costs health care consumers, insurers, and Americans taxpayers a lot of money.

Read the full article from Forbes here  

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10 things to know about rising hospital charges

Last week, CMS provided its first annual update to the Medicare hospital charge data the agency originally released last year. Here are 10 things to know about the data and what it revealed about the growth of hospital charges.

1. The data updates the hospital charge data released by CMS last year for the 100 most common inpatient services and 30 most common outpatient services. The landmark release of hospital charge information paved the way for the agency's decision earlier this year to grant the public unprecedented access to Medicare physician payment data. The new data includes 2012 prices at 3,376 hospitals and accounts for $57 billion in Medicare reimbursement, according to The Wall Street Journal.

2. The initial release of the data followed a 36-page investigative report journalist Steve Brill wrote for TIME on the hospital health insurance market and healthcare costs. Mr. Brill has written that a CMS spokesperson told him the announcement of the hospital billing data is partly in response to his article. The report and the data release are part of the U.S. healthcare price transparency movement, which has been gaining momentum as consumers take on more responsibility for the cost of their care.

3. It's important to note that the hospital charges don't reflect what Medicare and health insurers actually pay. Medicare rates, which are based on set fee schedules, are typically much lower than the listed charges, and private health insurers also negotiate their own lower rates. However, the charges still matter because they represent the starting point for reduced rate negotiations, and uninsured patients can get charged the full listed amount, according to the Journal.

4. The updated data offers insight into hospital charge trends from 2011 to 2012. News outlets including the Journal and The New York Times have analyzed it and found hospital charges increased for the treatment of common ailments. For instance, charges for chest pain went up by 10 percent, from an average of $16,815 in 2011 to $18,505 in 2012. Additionally, charges for digestive disorders went up by 8.5 percent, from $20,278 in 2011 to nearly $22,000 in 2012, according to the Times.

5. Overall, from 2011 to 2012, the median increase in hospital charges for 100 common service types was nearly 5 percent, according to the Journal. Prices increased for 77 of the 98 most common ailments patients were admitted for, according to the Times.

Read the full article from Becker’s Hospital Review here  

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What you need to know about ICD-10

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