AHA voices support for IPAB repeal bill   02/25/2013
The AHA today expressed support for S. 351, legislation to repeal the Independent Payment Advisory Board created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. "America's hospitals support the repeal of IPAB because its existence permanently removes Congress from the process of making decisions regarding Medicare payment, and threatens the important dialogue between hospitals and their elected officials about how hospitals can continue to provide the highest quality care to their patients and communities," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack said in a letter of support to the bill's sponsor, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX). "Furthermore, any savings achieved through IPAB would come directly from providers, as IPAB is precluded from recommending structural changes to the Medicare program. This shortsighted approach ensures deeper cuts to Medicare provider payments, which already fall short of covering the cost of care….Although hospitals will not be subject to IPAB decisions until 2020, we are deeply concerned that removing elected officials from the decision-making process could result in even deeper cuts to the Medicare program in the future."
FDA alerts health care providers of recall of anemia drug   02/25/2013
The Food and Drug Administration yesterday alerted health care providers to a voluntary national recall of Omontys Injection, a drug used to treat anemia in adult dialysis patients, due to serious allergic reactions in some patients. Dialysis centers have reported 19 cases of anaphylaxis, including three deaths, in patients within 30 minutes of receiving their first dose of the drug, FDA said. Until further notice, providers should stop using and return the drug to Takeda Pharmaceuticals, and report any adverse reactions to the FDA's MedWatch program, the agency said. "We are investigating the products and facilities associated with this recall and will provide updates as we learn more," said Howard Sklamberg, director of the Office of Compliance at FDA's Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Reminder: Physician EHR attestation deadline Thursday   02/25/2013
Feb. 28 is the last day physicians and other eligible professionals can register and attest to meaningful use of electronic health records to receive a Medicare incentive payment for calendar year 2012 under the Medicare EHR incentive program. To benefit fully from Medicare EHR incentives, EPs must complete their initial reporting period for meaningful use by CY 2012 and attest by Feb. 28, 2013. EPs participating in the Medicaid EHR program should check the attestation deadline for their state. For more information and educational resources, visit www.cms.gov.
Groups call for health IT steps to reduce disparities   02/25/2013
Consumer and minority health groups last week issued recommendations to maximize the potential of health information technology to reduce health disparities. The report calls for expanding access to health IT and mobile technologies in communities of color; minimizing barriers to online eligibility and enrollment for health insurance; supporting the collection and reporting of patient demographic data; and including privacy and security protections to prevent misuse of health data for other purposes. The report was released by the California Pan-Ethnic Health Network, Asian & Pacific Islander American Health Forum, Consumers Union, and National Council of La Raza at a White House Summit on Achieving eHealth Equity.