HHS issues strategy to speed health information exchange   08/09/2013
The Department of Health and Human Services this week released a strategy and 15 principles to guide efforts across the department to accelerate health information exchange, as a follow on to its March request for information on the issue. “HHS is committed to an incremental, yet comprehensive and strategic approach to accelerating different types of HIE in support of care coordination, quality improvement and value-based payment,” the report states. The department noted that it will “seek out opportunities to accelerate and promote the development of this capacity across the health care system through incentives and by reducing barriers,” and discussed the possibility of routinely including requirements for HIE in payment programs and conditions of participation in the future. Rather than engage in additional regulation to advance health information exchange and interoperability, AHA in April urged CMS to fully implement and monitor the results of both meaningful use and the payment and delivery reforms already underway that provide incentives for information exchange.
CMS posts ICD-10 GEMs for 2014   08/09/2013
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has updated its General Equivalence Mappings for the ICD-10-CM and ICD-10-PCS diagnosis and procedure coding systems for 2014 based on comments received from stakeholders. The GEMs are used to translate data between the ICD-9 coding system and ICD-10, which will replace ICD-9 on Oct. 1, 2014. Reimbursement Mappings for 2014 will be posted in October.
SAMHSA reports surge in stimulant-related ED visits by young adults   08/09/2013
Emergency department visits for nonmedical use of central nervous system stimulants increased 300% among adults under age 35 between 2005 and 2011, to about 23,000 a year, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Examples of such stimulants include prescription drugs used to treat attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder or to block sleepiness, and over-the-counter products that contain caffeine. “Nonmedical use of any drug, even an over-the-counter drug, can be dangerous, but these CNS stimulants can potentially cause significant and lasting harm, including heart problems and addiction,” said SAMHSA Chief Medical Officer Elinore McCance-Katz, M.D. “We must raise awareness of this public health risk and do everything possible to prevent it.”