Welcome to the PracticeSuite weekly medical billing digest – the best round up of industry news from the past week:
Report Finds More Flaws in Digitizing Patient Files
A report published this week by HHS’s Office of the Inspector General warns that not enough attention has been paid to addressing potential fraud and abuse in EHRs. OIG is particularly concerned with the cloning function, saying it could be used to charge Medicare fore more extensive exams/treatments than actually occurred. A survey conducted by OIG in December found that 75% of hospitals have no formal policy on cutting and pasting within EHRs.
Survey Finds Clinical Value in EHR Use
Physicians have a number of legitimate complaints about EHRs, but many still believe in the overall premise. Indeed, 78% of those who use an EHR said it enhanced patient care, according to data from the 2011 Physician Workflow Study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Many said the EHR helped them remotely access a patient’s chart (81%), alerted them to a potential medical error (65%), and/or alerted them to critical lab values (62%). Researchers noted that physicians meeting Meaningful Use criteria and those who have been using and EHR for some time were more likely to report clinical benefits.
Kaiser Permanente Faces Class-Action Suit Over Data Breach
A flash drive containing 49,000 unencrypted patient files went missing from Kaiser Permanente’s Anaheim Medical Center in September, and the organization is now being sued. A class action suit has been filed under California’s Confidentiality of Medical Information Act seeking 1,000 in damages for each member of the plaintiff class. The files contained patient names, dates of birth, medical record numbers, and some medical information.
The Road Toward Fully Transparent Medical Records
An opinion piece in the December New England Journal of Medicine encourages physicians to allow patients to read the clinical notes in their records (via a secure online connection). In 2010, more than 100 primary care physicians from Beth Israel, Geisinger, and Harborview Medical Center volunteered to open up their notes to patients. Large majorities of the 20,000 patients reported better recall, better understanding of their care plans, and feeling more in control of their healthcare.
5 Top Federal Issues That Will Affect Physicians in 2014
AMA’s president, Dr. Dee Hoven, says there are five main issues she and her organization think will impact physicians this year: possible repeal of Medicare’s SGR formula, the full implementation of the ACA, ICD-10 implementation, Meaningful Use of electronic health records, and physician data that will be published under the Sunshine Act.
Last Updated on January 12, 2014