HHS issues guidance on de-identifying protected health information   11/27/2012
The Department of Health and Human Services' Office for Civil Rights yesterday issued guidance on methods and approaches to de-identifying protected health information in accordance with the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's privacy rule. Required by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the guidance explains the two methods that health care providers and other HIPAA-covered entities can use to satisfy the privacy rule's de-identification standard: expert determination and safe harbor.
CMS seeks comments on health plan quality for exchanges   11/27/2012
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today published a request for information seeking public comment through Dec. 27 regarding health plan quality management in insurance exchanges. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act requires qualified health plans that participate in insurance exchanges to implement quality improvement strategies, enhance patient safety through specific contracting requirements and publicly report quality data, among other requirements. "As indicated in the National Quality Strategy, [the Department of Health and Human Services] is interested in promoting effective quality measurement while minimizing the burden of data collection by aligning measures across programs," the notice states. "These efforts would also ease comparability across plans, providers and insurance markets, and promote delivery of high-quality and high-value health care."
AHA to host special webcast Thursday   11/27/2012
AHA members are invited to join Board Chair Teri Fontenot Thursday at 9:30 a.m. Eastern Time for a special interactive webcast in conjunction with AHA's Advocacy Day. The Web session will enable hospital leaders who could not travel to Washington, D.C. for the Advocacy Day to participate virtually, in preparation for making phone calls and sending e-mails to Congress and meeting with members of Congress at home. The message: no more cuts to payments for hospital care. Senior Vice President of Federal Relations Tom Nickels will provide a legislative update. Hosted by AHA leaders, members-only Town Hall Interactive webcasts focus on advocacy and other important developments in the hospital and health care field. For more information, call (800) 424-4301.
CDC: 26% of new HIV infections in young people   11/27/2012
More than one-quarter of new HIV infections occur in people aged 13 to 24, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. An estimated 12,200 new infections occurred in this age group in 2010, with young gay and bisexual men and African Americans most affected. According to CDC, only 13% of high school students and 35% of 18-24 year olds have been tested for HIV, and about 60% of youth with HIV do not know they are infected.