HMT: Ohio pushes for telehealth bill, tech salary survey, Microsofts new CEO, and more…..
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Health Management Technology News
February 5, 2014

In this issue:

Ohio House sends telehealth bill to Governor Kasich

Salaries and confidence rise for U.S. tech professionals

Science center accepting applications for new digital health accelerator

Microsoft's new CEO to make a fortune

CBO reports that health law provision called ‘bailout’ by GOP will raise $8B

Redspin reports on the "State of Healthcare IT Security"

Ohio House sends telehealth bill to Governor Kasich

State Representative Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) has announced that the Ohio House has concurred on Senate changes to Amended Substitute House Bill 123. The legislation requires Medicaid to provide coverage of telehealth services offered by medical facilities.

Telehealth is a new approach to medical care that allows for health care services to be delivered to a patient through the use of audio, video and other telecommunications, or electronic technology.

Telehealth can be used for the diagnosis and treatment of a patient at a distant site; improving patient access to clinical experts, mitigating health disparities across the state, while reducing health care costs.

By requiring coverage for telehealth practices, Ohio is joining 45 other states in modernizing its practices, raising the standard of medical care and lowering costs for patients.

“I am glad to see that my colleagues in the Senate continued the good work that was done by the House,” said Rep. Gonzales. “This legislation is a great step in helping cut health care costs in our Medicaid system and will allow patients in rural areas better access to specialists.”

Read the full Ohio House news release here

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Salaries and confidence rise for U.S. tech professionals

More technology professionals in the U.S. enjoyed merit raises over the last year, driving average salaries up in 2013. Average U.S. tech salaries increased nearly three percent to $87,811 in 2013, up from $85,619 the previous year.

Technology professionals understand they can easily find ways to grow their career in 2014, with two-thirds of respondents (65%) confident in finding a new, better position. That overwhelming confidence matched with declining salary satisfaction (54%, down from 57%) will keep tech-powered companies on edge about their retention strategies.

Employers are using selective and strategic increases in compensation to hold onto experienced tech talent. While the overall average salary increase was smaller than the previous year’s historic jump of more than five percent, employers offered more frequent merit increases.

Read the full Dice Tech Salary Survey here

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Science center accepting applications for new digital health accelerator

The University City Science Center is accepting applications for a new Digital Health Accelerator. The application period opens Monday, February 3, 2014 and runs through March 31, 2015.

Funds will support up to six well-qualified companies in the digital health or health IT sector. Successful candidates will receive funding up to $50,000, office space at the Science Center, professional mentorship, and warm introductions to a variety of healthcare stakeholders including insurers, pharmaceutical companies, and hospital and research institutions located in the Greater Philadelphia region.

The Digital Health Accelerator (DHA) is supported in part by funding from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania’s Discovered in PA - Developed in PA program.

“As the healthcare and IT sectors converge, digital health is rapidly becoming an area of opportunity for forward-thinking entrepreneurs. With its concentration of healthcare providers and a growing start-up sector, Greater Philadelphia is well-positioned to become a leader in the development of the health IT sector. Through the DHA, the Science Center is poised to serve as a landing ground for these new companies,” says Science Center President and CEO Stephen S. Tang, Ph.D., MBA.

“Investing in innovation and entrepreneurial development means investing in our future and providing opportunity for the next generation,” said Governor Tom Corbett. “My administration is proud to partner with the University City Science Center to launch an initiative to grow the digital health sector, and create good-paying jobs to keep our talented and educated young people working in Pennsylvania.”

Read the full PR Web news release here

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Microsoft's new CEO to make a fortune

Microsoft's new CEO Satya Nadella will be paid handsomely for his services.

At today's stock price, he could take home as much as $17.2 million this year, and $30.4 million a year starting in 2015. At that rate, Nadella will likely be among the top 5 highest

The new CEO will be paid in 4 components.

First, there is Nadella's annual salary, which will be $1.2 million.

Next, he is eligible for a yearly cash bonus worth up to $3.6 million. His bonus could be less if Microsoft's (MSFT, Fortune 500) board determines his performance was lacking.

Third, he'll take home an annual stock award of $13.2 million starting in 2015.

Finally, Nadella will receive stock awards tied to Microsoft's stock performance for each of the next three years.

If Microsoft is in the top 100 performers on the S&P 500 stock index, he will receive 900,000 shares (worth $37.2 million at Tuesday's closing price).

But if Microsoft's stock performance was in the bottom 150 S&P 500 performers, Nadella could collect as few as 150,000 shares (worth $5.5 million at Tuesday's closing price).

Even in the unlikely event that Nadella takes home no bonus and Microsoft's stock performs terribly, the minimum that Nadella could take home this year is $6.6 million (at today's stock price). Next year, the minimum would be $19.8 million.

Read the full CNN story here

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CBO reports that health law provision called ‘bailout’ by GOP will raise $8B

New findings from the Congressional Budget Office may make it harder for Republicans to portray a provision in the health law designed to limit insurers’ losses and gains as a “bailout” for the industry.

The House Oversight and Government Reform panel is scheduled to have a hearing Wednesday examining the law’s “risk corridors,” which limit plans’ exposure to possible upheavals caused by the transition to marketplaces that require health insurers to accept all comers, no matter how poor their health. Witnesses include Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who is sponsoring legislation to repeal the risk corridors, which he and the bill’s co-sponsors have called a “blank check for a bailout of insurance companies.”

Under the program, actual claims are compared to the claims insurers anticipated when they set their premiums. The government collects money from plans with lower-than-expected claims to make payments to plans with higher-than-expected claims. If claims exceed expected amounts, the government makes up some of the difference.

The CBO’s budget outlook, released Tuesday, projected that the risk corridor program will actually produce $8 billion over its lifespan rather than cost taxpayers money. Previously the nonpartisan agency had not counted the program as a cost or benefit to the government because it assumed that payments from insurers would offset payments made to other insurers.

That previous estimate, however, was made before President Barack Obama’s announcement in November that some people in the individual market who received cancellation notices could keep their health plans for another year. Some analysts have feared that change may keep healthy people out of the online marketplaces, which could increase premiums next year. Critics have said the flawed rollout of the health law, along with its design, meant the government would end up paying more money than it would ever recoup from insurers.

But the CBO reaches a different conclusion. In its report, released Tuesday, CBO said that in a similar program set up as part of the Medicare prescription drug program, collections from insurers exceeded payments to health plans, yielding net collections that have averaged about $1 billion a year, or between 2 percent and 3 percent of total covered costs for drugs under Part D.

Read the full Washington Post article here

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Redspin reports on the "State of Healthcare IT Security"

Today, Redspin, Inc. released its annual Breach Report 2013 – Protected Health Information. In the report, Redspin provides in-depth analysis of the complete history of PHI data breaches reported to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), identifies current trends, and highlights the specific areas most in need of improvement.

The migration from paper-based files to electronic health records (EHR) is well underway. According to industry sources, the number of hospitals that have adopted EHR systems has tripled in the past 3 years.

Nearly all health providers have registered for the Federal government's "Meaningful Use" program – established per the 2009 HITECH Act – which provides monetary incentives based on the adoption, implementation rate, and security of electronic health records.

Yet Redspin reports that nearly 30 million Americans have had their personal health information breached or inadvertently disclosed since 2009. In 2013 alone, 199 incidents of breaches of PHI were reported to HHS impacting over 7 million patient records, a 138% increase over 2012.

"I think the 138% increase in patient records breached caught a lot of people by surprise," said Daniel W. Berger, Redspin's President and CEO. "There was a sense that the government's 'carrot and stick' approach – requiring HIPAA security assessments to qualify for meaningful use incentives and increasing OCR enforcement initiatives – was driving real progress."

"IT security is a complex task," continues Berger. "Many HIPAA security risk assessments only graze the surface. It is essential that your scope be both broad and deep. The goal is not simply to complete a compliance checklist; it is about safeguarding PHI. That takes organization commitment and investment. Vigilance must be institutionalized."

In 2013, a single incident – the theft of four desktop computers from an office at Advocate Medical Group – may have exposed over 4 million records alone. The second and third largest breaches were also caused by theft. In each case, unencrypted laptops containing hundreds of thousands of records were stolen. For the past 3 years, Redspin has cited the lack of encryption on portable devices as one of the highest risks to PHI. "It's only going to get worse given the surge in the use of personally-owned mobile devices at work," adds Berger. "We understand it can be painful to implement and enforce encryption but it's less painful than a large breach costing millions of dollars."

A copy of the full Redspin report can be downloaded here

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