Report offers framework for measuring medical expense risk   09/28/2012
A new report from the National Research Council offers a framework for a measure that would estimate the proportion of families and children who are at risk of incurring a high percentage of out-of-pocket medical care expenses, including health insurance premiums, in relation to their resources. The Department of Health and Human Services requested the report in fall 2010 to help in implementing "a new measure of medical care risk that will be valuable for monitoring the implementation of health care reform."
GAO to FDA: Strengthen review of certain implantable devices   09/28/2012
The Food and Drug Administration should develop and implement a more comprehensive plan to review and track information security risks for implantable medical devices that use hardware, software and networks to wirelessly monitor a patient's medical status, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Potential vulnerabilities include untested software and firmware, limited battery life and unauthorized changes to device settings due to a lack of appropriate access controls, GAO said. In comments in the report, the Department of Health and Human Services concurred with the recommendation and described relevant efforts FDA has initiated.
Hospitals urged to participate in AHA RACTrac survey   09/28/2012
The AHA encourages all hospitals to submit data to its quarterly RACTrac survey, available beginning Monday through Oct. 15. The free web-based survey helps AHA gauge the impact of Medicare's Recovery Audit Contractor program on hospitals and advocate for needed changes. To register for the survey or for technical assistance, participants should contact RACTrac support at (888) 722-8712 or ractracsupport@providercs.com. For more on the survey, including the latest results, visit www.aha.org/aha/issues/RAC/ractrac.html.
AHVRP recognizes members for outstanding programs, service   09/28/2012
The AHA's Association for Healthcare Volunteer Resource Professionals last week honored three members with awards for extraordinary programs or service. Mimi Makovitzky-Feinstein, director of education and volunteer services at New York Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn, was recognized for operating a volunteer-based health literacy program in outpatient clinic waiting rooms that empowers patients to manage their health. Sheryl Lehi, director of volunteer services at Mercy Medical Center in Roseburg, OR, was honored for a program that gives high school students experience in health care settings to spark interest in future careers. For more on the programs, contact AHVRP at ahvrp@aha.org. In addition, Pamela Lemp, director of volunteer services at St. Luke's Episcopal Health System in Houston, was honored for exemplary service and contributions to AHVRP and the profession. The awards were presented at the association's national conference in Dallas.