CMS finalizes rule adopting electronic fund transfer standard    07/12/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services yesterday finalized an interim rule adopting federal standards for the electronic transfer of health care funds and remittance advice under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act. The AHA-supported rule adopts the Electronic Payment Association's NACHA CCD+ standard, which will help health care providers associate health care payments with the payer's remittance advice details. After reviewing comments, CMS said it decided to adopt the interim rule without changes as a final rule, meaning hospitals and other HIPAA-covered entities must comply with the new standard by January 2014. In March, AHA urged CMS to promptly release a rule adopting operating rules for the new standard.
Growth in health care spending falls; health care share of employment up   07/12/2012
National health spending grew by a modest 3.8% between May 2010 and May 2011, down from a 4.2% annual rate in April, according to the latest economic indicators from Altarum Institute's Center for Sustainable Health Spending. Health care prices in May were 2% higher than in May 2011 and lower than at any time since January 1999. While health care employment rose by a slower than average 13,000 jobs in June, the health care share of total employment reached a record high of 10.8%.
Nursing alliance issues guiding principles for patient engagement   07/12/2012
The Nursing Alliance for Quality Care today issued a list of guiding principles to help nurses and other health care providers engage patients in their care. The nine Guiding Principles for Patient Engagement call for a dynamic partnership among patients, their families and caregivers that includes mutual responsibilities and accountabilities and shared decision-making. "We hope that nursing organizations, nursing programs, medical schools and others will use these principles to inform their members and students and integrate patient engagement into their programs and practices," said Pamela Thompson, CEO of the AHA's American Organization of Nurse Executives subsidiary and chair of the subcommittee that drafted the principles. NAQC plans to discuss how to implement the principles with leading nursing organizations, patient advocates and other provider groups and to host a conference on the topic in November.
Project expands access to specialty care for veterans   07/12/2012
The Department of Veterans Affairs yesterday launched an initiative to help primary care providers in rural and other areas care for veterans with complex chronic illnesses. The Specialty Care Access Network-Extension for Community Healthcare Outcomes project uses videoconferencing technology to conduct weekly virtual clinics where specialists share their medical knowledge with primary care providers. Eleven VA medical centers are pilot testing the program for the first nationwide implementation of the Project ECHO model, created by a liver disease specialist at the University of New Mexico Health Sciences Center in Albuquerque. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has provided a five-year grant to expand the Project ECHO model across the U.S.
Georgia hospital leader to retire   07/12/2012
Georgia Hospital Association President and CEO Joseph Parker will retire next June 30 after 27 years at the organization's helm, GHA announced today. Parker joined GHA as director of financial services in 1978 after an eight-year stint in the financial department of Georgia Baptist Hospital in Atlanta. Parker received the 2002 AHA Trustee Award for his noteworthy contributions to AHA, and two years later helped craft the association's Health for Life national health care reform platform as a member of the AHA Board of Trustees. "Joe has been an extraordinary leader for hospitals, both in Georgia and nationally," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "His leadership exemplifies the power of collaboration and commitment. He has helped Georgia hospitals set a strong agenda built around obtaining access and coverage for more people, measuring and improving quality and building public trust and confidence. His leadership has been impressive and his service has strengthened the AHA."
Hospitals given extra week to complete AHA RACTrac survey   07/12/2012
The AHA has extended to July 20 the deadline for hospitals to submit data to its quarterly RACTrac survey. The free web-based tool measures the impact on hospitals of Medicare's Recovery Audit Contractor program, educates the hospital field on RAC vulnerabilities and helps AHA advocate for needed changes to the program. To register for the survey, new participants should contact RACTrac support at (888) 722-8712 or For more on the survey, visit