Sequester Deadline Is Tomorrow

As tomorrow’s sequestration deadline fast approaches, the Senate blocked a pair of competing bills to prevent the broad, automatic cuts from taking effect. Neither measure was expected to reach the 60-vote threshold required to move a fix forward the day before the cuts, which include a 2% cut to Medicare payments, are slated to kick in.

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Potential Sequester A Hard Hit To Long Term Care

Skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) in highly populated states on the East Coast and in the Midwest would be hit hardest by Medicare cuts if sequestration takes effect, according to Avalere Health figures released by the Alliance for Quality Nursing Home Care earlier this week.

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Physician Information Publicly Disclosed Per Sunshine Act

Physicians have until August 1, 2013 to start reporting to the government on applicable gifts and payments from drug and device manufacturers reporting now that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued the final rule on the Physician Payment Sunshine Act.

Information that will be publicly disclosed about physicians as a result of the final rule include:
  • Physician’s name and business address
  • Physician’s NPI, state license number and specialty
  • Amount and date of the benefit received by the physician
  • Form of the benefit
  • Nature of the benefit
  • Name of the covered product, if the payment is for marketing, education, or research related to a specific drug, device, or biological
  • An indication as to whether the benefit is subject to delayed publication
  • If the benefit is made to an entity or individual at the request of a covered recipient, the name of the other entity or individual
  • An indication as to whether the benefit was provided to a physician holding an ownership or investment interest in the manufacturer
  • If desired, a statement that provides additional context for the benefit

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More Than Half Of U.S Residents Have Access To ACOs

According to a recent report by consulting firm Oliver Wyman, more than half of the U.S. population lives in areas served by Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs), which reward doctors and hospitals for working together to improve quality and to control costs.

Currently, 52% of U.S. patients live in primary care service areas served by ACOs up from 45% last August.  Additionally, at least 28% of U.S. patients live in areas served by two or more ACOs.

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ICD-10 Implementation Timelines

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has released checklist and timelines for ICD-10 implementation on the CMS website.   These resources, available for small, medium and large provider practices, small hospitals and payers provide an understanding of what the ICD-10 transition requires.

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Study: Mediterranean Diet Helps Prevent Heart Attack, Stroke

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsA new study, published in The New England Journal of Medicine earlier this week found approximately 30% of heart attacks, strokes and deaths from heart disease can be prevented in people at high risk if they switch to a Mediterranean Diet.

The study, which promotes a diet rich in olive oil, nuts, beans, fish, fruits and vegetables, and drink wine with meals, ended early, because the results were so clear it was considered unethical to continue.

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