CMS extends 2013 EHR attestation deadline for EPs, certain hospitals   02/07/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today extended through March the deadline for physicians and other eligible professionals to attest to meaningful use of electronic health records for 2013 under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. The previous deadline was Feb. 28. In addition, eligible hospitals that experienced difficulty attesting by Nov. 30, 2013 may submit their attestation retroactively, but must contact CMS by March 15 at EH2013Extension@Provider-Resources.com to participate for the 2013 program year, CMS said. “This extension will allow more time for providers to submit their meaningful use data and receive an incentive payment for the 2013 program year, as well as avoid the 2015 payment adjustment,” the agency said. The extension does not impact the deadlines for the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program or electronic submission for the Physician Quality Reporting System EHR Incentive Program Pilot, CMS said. EPs must begin attesting to meaningful use by CY 2013 to benefit fully from Medicare EHR incentives. For more information and resources, visit www.cms.gov.
Hospital employment falls by 4,500 in January   02/07/2014
Employment at the nation's hospitals fell by 0.09% in January to a seasonally adjusted 4,788,300 people, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported today. That's 4,500 fewer people than in December but 1,800 more than a year ago. Without the seasonal adjustment, which removes the effect of fluctuations due to seasonal events, hospitals employed 4,780,100 people in January – 24,900 fewer than in December and 600 fewer than a year ago. The nation's overall unemployment rate declined by 0.1 percentage point in January to 6.6%.
Fox News story highlights confusion over observation status   02/07/2014
In a story broadcast yesterday on Fox News, AHA Vice President and Deputy Director for Policy Ashley Thompson shared hospitals’ frustration with the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ complicated guidance on “observation status.” The story looked at the policy’s harmful impact on patients and providers, noting that Medicare Recovery Audit Contractors challenge Medicare claims going as far back as three years and receive “a financial incentive for second guessing doctors and hospitals.”  Thompson said, “These claims are held up in the appeal process for two-and-a-half years. There’s over $1.5 billion that’s tied up right now as hospitals are appealing these denials.”