CMS seeks comments on proposed ICD-10 readiness assessment   08/10/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is accepting comments through Oct. 9 on a proposed ICD-10 readiness assessment, which the agency will use to understand each sector's progress toward compliance and determine what educational tools and resources might help them achieve it. In April, the Department of Health and Human Services proposed delaying the ICD-10 implementation deadline by one year, to Oct. 1, 2014. If finalized, that's when health care providers must begin using the updated coding system to report diagnoses and procedures on health care claims. In a recent AHA survey to assess ICD-10 readiness, 70% of the 1,000 responding hospitals thought a short delay in compliance would be helpful, with the majority favoring a delay of no more than 12 months.
CMS names new participants in Medicare demo for chronically ill   08/10/2012
Three consortia of medical practices will participate in the Independence at Home Demonstration Program, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services announced today. They are: Innovative Primary Senior Care in Skokie, IL; Treasure Coast Healthcare in Stuart, FL; and Virginia Commonwealth University Health System/Medical College of Virginia Hospitals and Physicians in Richmond, VA. The consortia join 16 independent practices selected for the project in April, bringing total participants to 19. Authorized by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the three-year Medicare demonstration will evaluate whether primary care services delivered at home by multidisciplinary teams improve care and reduce costs for beneficiaries with chronic conditions. Participants must be available 24/7, use electronic health information systems, remote monitoring and mobile diagnostic technology. They will coordinate care across treatment settings for Medicare fee-for-service beneficiaries who have at least two chronic conditions, need assistance with at least two functional dependencies, and have had a non-elective hospital admission and received acute or sub-acute rehabilitation services within the past 12 months. The practices must serve at least 200 applicable beneficiaries each year of the demonstration and may share in savings if specified quality measures and savings targets are achieved.
CDC: Smoking by youth continues to decline    08/10/2012
Tobacco use by middle and high school students continued to decline between 2000 and 2011, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Overall tobacco use declined to 7% from 15% among middle school students over the period, and to 23% from 34% among high school students. Cigarette use declined to 4% from 11% among middle school youth, and to 16% from 28% among their older peers. However, the decline in cigarette smoking was slower than it was between 1997 and 2003, and cigar smoking has increased among African-American high school students. Boys were generally more likely to use tobacco than girls. The findings are based on data from the 2011 National Youth Tobacco Survey. Smoking is the leading preventable cause of death and disease in the U.S. Nearly 90% of adult smokers begin smoking by age 18.