Midweek update

The press has been following up on CVS’s decision to stop selling tobacco products on October 1. Fierce Healthpayer predicts that CVS is trying to gain an edge over Walgreen’s in their battle to serve Accountable Care Organizations (“ACOs”). “ACOs predominately use primary care doctors, nurse practitioners and pharmacists, including those employed by CVS and other chain stores, to reach out to patients about their care and medications with the goal of reducing overall healthcare utilization.”  Health Data Management discusses several other pharmacy chain initiatives designed to burnish their credentials as health care providers. The FEHBlog’s interest was picqued by this statement in that report:

In January, HealthSpot, of Dublin, Ohio, introduced a walk-in telehealth kiosk that brings live video chats with physicians to retail clinics. The kiosk is outfitted with medical devices to take vital signs and other basic readings, then beam the data over the Internet to the remote doctor.

According to Healthspot’s CEO who was quoted in the article Healthspot may be announcing partnerships with at least one major pharmacy chain next month.

Also on the technology front, Modern Healthcare reports this afternoon that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services evidently in response to industry and Congressional pressure plans to run Medicare claims with ICD-10 codes through “end to end” testing   End to end “testing will allow the participating providers and suppliers to submit test claims to the CMS with ICD-10 codes and receive a remittance advice explaining how the claims were processed, according to the CMS.”  “Notice of the testing program for ‘a small sample group of providers,’ was posted to the CMS’ Medical Learning Network newsletter.

The Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange has posted a succinct white paper for health care providers and payers on the unsecured protected health information breach process.

Finally, health plans get ready to expand your list of medically unnecessary procedures.  Fierce Healthcare reports that “Healthcare providers could significantly reduce costs if they eschew five low-value, often unnecessary emergency medicine procedures, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.” Here are that study’s top five:

•  Post-traumatic computed tomography (CT [or CAT scan]) of the cervical spine for patients who are not high-risk;

•  CT of the head for mild traumatic head injury patients who are not high-risk;

•  Use of CT to diagnose pulmonary embolism without first assessing patient risk;

•  Anticoagulation studies for patients who do not have hemorrhage or suspected clotting disorder; and

•  Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) of the lumbar spine for lower back pain among patients who do not have high-risk features.