Top Healthcare Story Of 2012

By far, the number one health care news story of 2012 was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the individual mandate outlined by the Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act (PPACA).

In a split decision, with Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr. casting the deciding vote, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the cornerstone of President Obama’s healthcare reform law and signature domestic initiative. Roberts joined liberals on the court in upholding the mandate at the heart of the underlying law, saying the mandate could survive as a tax.

Following three days of oral arguments on the law’s constitutionality in March, insiders widely believed the individual mandate, and perhaps the entire healthcare law, was very much in jeopardy. However, the Justice Department argued the mandate does not force people to participate in the market for health insurance, but rather regulates participation in the market for healthcare services.

The high court rejected Medicaid expansion provisions in the new healthcare law. The court ruled that Congress overstepped its authority when it said states must go along with the Medicaid insurance program for low-income people, providing expanded coverage to about 17 million over the next decade.  Connecticut was the first state to participate in the provision which will be funded by the federal government beginning in 2014.

The HMS Blog posted two series on health reform: Understanding Health Reform  and The Impact of Federal Health Reform as well as a Post Election Guide to Health Reform to help sift through the confusion and clarify provisions of the PPACA.

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Latest Homecare & Hospice Newsletter Now Available Online

The Healthcare Management Solutions (HMS) Homecare & Hospice Newsletter for June 22, 2012 is now posted on the HMS website.  Check out our new look and stay tuned for even greater changes on the horizon!

Click here to view the latest edition and here to search archived editions. To sign up to receive the newsletter in your email box, join the HMS mailing list!

Tiptastic Tuesday: Preparing For Version 5010

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsThe June 30 deadline for Version 5010 electronic standards upgrade, originally scheduled for January 1, 2012, is fast approaching!

5010 is an upgrade to the way insurance payers can both receive and exchange  information about their patients. The upgrade also allows for the larger field size of coming ICD-10 codes as well as other improvements. Affected health care organizations need to upgrade and test their claims management systems to accommodate 5010 and prevent operational disruptions.

Upgrading to Version 5010 involves significant planning and preparation. Below are some steps HIPAA-covered entities can take to get ready for implementation.

  • Expand Your Use of Automation:  Automate both internal and external testing processes to ensure consistent coverage across both types of testing and complete them in a shorter time span.
  • Establish A Triage Team:  Payers and providers should dedicate resources to handle these issues and have resolution processes in place prior to going live with 5010.
  • Start Testing:  As the clock ticks closer to the 11th hour, it’s critical that the industry make a concentrated, collective effort toward successful HIPAA 5010 testing and transition.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has developed a fact sheet for health care providers, which discusses the risk mitigation steps in more detail.

Need help?  HMS is prepared for the change to 5010 and here to assist you along the way.  Our cutting-edge technology systems are in place and have been tested to ensure you can continue to send claims and receive reimbursement without interruption. Contact us today!

Tolland, Middlesex Counties Connecticut’s Healthiest

HMS Healthcare Management SolutionsWith a small number of uninsured residents who have relatively low rates of premature death and poor health, Tolland is Connecticut’s healthiest county, according to a new survey released today.

Middlesex County ranked as the state’s second healthiest region, ahead of Fairfield, Litchfield, New London, Hartford, Windham, and New Haven counties, according to the 2012 County Health Rankings produced by the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Hartford ranked as the third least healthiest county in the state, with higher rates of residents in poor health and a higher percentage of people who smoke and/or are obese,

The rankings are an annual check-up that highlight the healthiest and least healthy counties in every state, as well as those factors that influence health, outside of the doctor’s office.

Click here to see how your county measures up.

2012 Standard Mileage Rates In Effect

The Internal Revenue Service has issued the 2012 optional standard mileage rates used to calculate the deductible costs of operating an automobile for business, charitable, medical or moving purposes.

As of January 1, 2012, the standard mileage rates are:

  • 55.5 cents per mile for business miles driven
  • 23 cents per mile driven for medical or moving purposes
  • 14 cents per mile driven in service of charitable organizations

Notice 2012-01 contains the standard mileage rates, the amount a taxpayer must use in calculating reductions to basis for depreciation taken under the business standard mileage rate, and the maximum standard automobile cost that a taxpayer may use in computing the allowance under a fixed and variable rate plan.