Monday Miscellany

  • Last week, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services proposed three national coverage determinations concerning these never events — (1) Wrong surgical or other invasive procedures performed on a patient; (2) Surgical or other invasive procedures performed on the wrong body part; and (3) Surgical or other invasive procedures performed on the wrong patient. Interestingly, the American Hospital Association and the American Medical Association both objected to the proposed determinations. According to Modern, “While such a rule might sound simple on the surface, the two groups are both arguing that it’s not–that CMS will need to do a better job of defining what can be reimbursed and what can’t be before it begins withholding funds.”
  • Government HIT News reports that “President-elect Barack Obama on Saturday [December 6] said health information technology will be included in an economic recovery plan that is now being worked out with members of Congress.”
  • HHS has rolled out version 2.0 of its free personal health record called My Family Health Portrait. AIS reports that the “The tool can be downloaded and customized by other health organizations for their own uses. Aetna is encouraging its health plan members and its own employees to use the tool and then enter the results in their Aetna CareEngine-powered PHRs so they can share the data with their physicians.”
  • Health Day reports today on a new study that finds – not surprisingly — that “an electronic prescribing system that tells doctors which drugs are the least expensive can save millions a year.”
  • Finally, AIS reports on the potential impact of a recent U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit opinion finding that New Hampshire’s law prohibiting the commercial data mining of prescription records is constitutional. If you are interested in the First Amendment, the lengthy opinion is worth a read.