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August 26, 2013 News No Comments

From Vendor Bob: “Re: Delaying Stage 2. As an HIT vendor I am annoyed by all these calls to push back the Stage 2 MU deadline. All vendors learned of the new requirements at the same time, yet many have waited too long to complete the 2014 certification process. Why should these late-starters get a pass just because they failed to manage their R&D timelines?” Over the weekend I published a post highlighting the potential delay of the Stage MU program. My suggestion: keep the original start date but give providers more time to attest. As Vendor Bob suggests, some software release delays are likely the result of management mistakes but  it’s the providers and not the vendors who are ultimately penalized by late-arriving software updates. Feel free to weigh-in.

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MGMA releases tools for creating personalized schedules for its October 6-9 annual conference.  As I dug into the schedule a bit I was surprised to see the exhibit hall is only open 7.75 hours over three days. The schedule may be ideal for both vendors and attendees, however, since very few sessions are offered while the exhibits are open. I played around with the customized conference schedule utility and then created an “expo plan” (above) for the booths I want to visit. Both tools are easy to use and presumably my schedules will be available on my iPhone once the mobile version is released. I’ll be heading to San Diego for the event and posting daily updates on sessions, speakers, the exhibit hall, and of course the parties.

Emdeon launches a self-service testing exchange solution for ICD-10, allowing providers and channel partners to submit ICD-10 test claims and receive claim status feedback. The Emdeon Testing Exchange for ICD-10, which Emdeon purports is the first of its kind in the industry, requires no additional software and is a free service to Emdeon provider, channel partner, and payer customers. Sounds like a great service that would be even more valuable if more payers were ready and if providers already had ICD-10-ready software updates from their vendors.


The theft of four unencrypted computers at Advocate Medical Group (IL) results in the second biggest HIPAA breach ever reported. More than four million patients were notified last week that their personal information, including names, addresses, Social Security numbers, and dates of birth, may be at risk following the July 15 burglary. The 1,000-physician practice is offering patients one free year of credit monitoring.

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More than 90 percent of office-based physicians accept new Medicare patients, according to the HHS. The share is only slightly higher than the percentage reported in 2005 and similar to the percentage of physicians who report accepting new privately insured patients.

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The AMA urges CMS to prohibit insurers from paying physicians less than contracted amounts when using electronic payment methods, namely payments in the form of plastic and virtual credit cards. The chief complaint is that fees as much as five percent per transaction are associated with the cards, resulting in providers getting less than their negotiated prices for services. The use of such cards has increased as health plans abandon sending paper checks in favor of cards that offer payers cash-back incentives. I assume that a lot of providers are unaware of the fees and that’s how payers have gotten away with the practice.

Athenahealth will work with the non-profit Primary Care Development Corporation to advise primary care practices in underserved communications on the best HIT strategies for improving care.

Steve Malik, who founded patient portal company Medfusion and sold it to Intuit for $91 million in 2010, buys back the business for an undisclosed amount. In May Intuit wrote down the Intuit Health division $46 million following the announcement that Allscripts, the division’s largest reseller, had purchased patient portal vendor Jardogs. Malik’s future plans include moving into the community health space and offering the portal solution to organizations that support multiple IT environments.

HealthproMed (PR) selects eClinicalWorks EHR for its two-location FQHC.

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The 150-provider Sansum Clinic (CA) reports that it reduced medical transcription costs more than 90 percent since implementing Epic.

An analyst for Motley Fool looks at the market potential for EHRs. The commentary is largely focused on potential investment opportunities (GE, athenahealth,and Allscripts in particular), but also offers a nice summary on the general state of the ambulatory HIT industry.

Greenway Medical will develop an HIE for more than 500 physician members of the Denver-area Rose Medical Group, Rose Medical Center, and their patients. The platform will aggregate, standardize, and organize clinical and financial data from disparate systems and include a patient portal and options for data analytics and reporting.

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Speaking of Greenway, the company hosted over 2,200 customers, staff, and partners at last week’s PrimeLEADER user conference, which included a keynote address by the ONC’s Farzad Mostashari. Greenway recognized Boulder Community Hospital Physician Clinics (CO), Regional Obstetrical Consultants (TN), and Albuquerque Health Care for the Homeless(NM) with its annual Greenway Innovation Awards.

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