D'Arcy Gue

Health Insurance Data, HIT Progress, and Government Criticisms

May 16, 2014

Healthcare Industry 2 Minute Read

Health insurance data to become available to the public.

The Health Cost Institute (HCCI) announced that it has partnered with three large insurance companies, United Healthcare, Aetna, and Humana to create a payment database that will be made available to the public. More health plans will likely join the effort and HCCI expects the database to be available in 2015. With the changes occurring in healthcare, the demand for cost transparency is only increasing. This will satisfy the needs of patients and government parties to achieve a clearer understanding of healthcare costs.

Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) are making progress in health IT.

According to a recent survey performed by the Commonwealth Foundation, the use of electronic health records has increased 133 percent between 2009 and 2013. It appears that FQHCs have adopted health IT practices at a higher rate than office-based physicians, including large practices and large integrated health care systems.

“It’s encouraging to see how far community health centers have come in their health information technology use,” said Commonwealth Fund President David Blumenthal, M.D. “Their progress demonstrates that with concerted investment and support, substantial change is possible. It makes the case for continued investment to make sure these clinics can continue caring for some of our nation’s most vulnerable patients.”

The study also investigates concerns FQHCs express about staffing issues. There appear to be an increasing concern over physician and nursing availability and support. More details on the findings of the survey can be found here.

Dr. John Halamka addresses issues of health IT at the Health IT Summit

John Halamka, M.D. shared his opinions on policy issues affecting healthcare IT at the iHT2 Health IT Summit in Boston. He specifically addressed Meaningful Use / MIPS and ICD-10.

Halamka, the CIO of Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston, focused on the 19 Meaningful Use / MIPS Stage 3 proposed recommendations. He made the case that 80 percent of the recommendations have a workflow, vendor burden, or standards readiness issue. Halamka discussed each of the recommendations and examined some of the possible issues with each specific one.
Halamka also made strong statements against the ICD-10 delay, pointing to the reality that many hospitals were ready for the transition and suggested that the government should have stuck with the original implementation date.

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