HIT Newser: CMS & AMA Agree to be Odd ICD-10 Bedfellows

CMS agrees to first-year flexibility in ICD-10 claims processing

CMS releases guidance that will allow for flexibility in the claims auditing and quality reporting process for the new ICD-10 codeset. CMS will keep the October 1 deadline for the transition, but adopt four AMA-proposed steps that include: an agreement that claims lacking specificity will not be denied; an easing of quality reporting and other penalties due to improper coding; an agreement to authorize advance payments to physicians if contractors are unable to process claims; and, the addition of an ICD-10 Ombudman to navigate transition problems.

CMS seemingly recognized that unless some concessions were made, the AMA and other ICD-10 critics would continue to fight for another delay. Maybe now everyone will stay focused and get ready for the inevitable.

HealthStream CEO shares his wealth with employees

HealthStream CEO Bobby Frist gives about 600 of his employees $1.5 million of his personal stock. All of the employees are non-executives and will be given stock that is worth between $300 and $10,000, depending on the employees’ tenure and role.

Frist gets my vote for boss of the year. What a way to boost employee morale and build loyalty.Hey Doc: can we talk?

A CVS Health survey reveals a gap between patient interest for online communication and what physicians currently provide. Patients have considerable interest in using Internet tools, particularly email and Facebook, to communicate with their physicians.

The authors recommend that providers consider how best to permit and reinforce the use of these channels in a way that ensures data security. A possible solution is improving and accelerating the adoption of Web messaging systems to address both institutional concerns and patient demands.

The findings really aren’t that surprising. Online communication is just one more area that healthcare seems to lag behind other industries.

Providers reap billions from drug and medical device makers

CMS publishes 2014 Open Payments data on the transfers of value by drug and medical device makers to healthcare providers. The data includes details on about 11.4 million financial transactions attributed to over 600,000 physicians and more that 1,100 teaching hospitals, and total $6.49 billion.

Proponents of data transparency point to the need to monitor provider prescribing habits and choices to ensure providers are not improperly influenced by manufacturer payments. Meanwhile, physicians worry about data accuracy and the difficulty of fixing incorrect data.

Wheeling and Dealing

Allscripts takes a $200 million (10%) equity position in NantHealth, while NantCapital, the personal investment vehicle for NantHealth founder Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, invests $100 million in Allscripts. The alliance is designed to enhance precision genomic medicine at the point of care. Soon-Shiong also confirmed plans to take NantHealth public by the end of 2015.

Pamplona Capital Management will acquire health IT management services, education, and technology provider Precyse from Altaris Capital Partners and NewSpring Capital.

New Blood

CynergisTek promotes Adam Hawkins from director of client services to VP of sales and marketing.


Epic and Cerner are the remaining finalists for Vanderbilt University Medical Center’s new clinical informatics platform. CIO Kevin Johnson, MD says his organization will announce the winner August 24.

CMS proposes a rule to clarify the use of the chronic care management (CCM) billing code that would require hospitals to have an established relationship with a patient in order to qualify for CCM reimbursement. Hospitals would also have to offer patients “enhanced opportunities” for the patient or caregiver to contact the provider.

A Physicians’ Alliance of America survey finds that EHR use interrupts workflow and impacts physician productivity. Forty-six percent of doctors reported a decline in productivity with EHR use, while 26% reported a productivity gain. Of the 250 clinicians surveyed, 34% spent less than half an hour a day charting, while 9% spent over two hours a day.

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