D'Arcy Gue

New Security Regulators, Physician’s Payment Increases, and ONC Priorities

February 7, 2014

Healthcare IT, HIPAA & Security, IT Project Management 3 Minute Read

The Federal Trade Commission has joined the privacy and security conversation

The list of regulators to be feared in a security breach under HIPAA used to begin and end with the Office for Civil Rights (OCR). In the future, this might not be the case. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) flexed their muscles when Atlanta-based medical testing laboratory LabMD suggested that the FTC should not be able to enforce security regulations.

The recent FTC involvement suggests that organizations at fault for a security breach might be accountable to both the OCR and the FTC. In a recent FierceHealthIT article, Jeff Smith, director of federal relations for the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, and health attorney David Harlow were interviewed on the topic of what this means for healthcare providers.

Deal reached to repeal SGR. Physicians expected to get 0.5 percent Medicare pay raise.

Deal reached to repeal SGR.   Physicians expected to get 0.5% Medicare pay raise.

A deal was struck by the house and senate negotiators to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) for physician payment under Medicare. It was agreed that instead, physicians will receive a 0.5 percent increase each year for five years. The goal of this plan to raise physician pay is to encourage the transition to new models of care. Below is a summary of the points the bill includes:

  • Consolidates existing payment incentive programs into a single Value-Based Performance Incentive Program, in which high-performing professionals would earn payment increases
  • Incentivizes care coordination efforts for patients with chronic care needs
  • Makes payment data on providers more publicly available
  • Implements a process to re-base misvalued codes
  • Requires development of quality measures in close collaboration with physicians.

Physician payments will fall 24%  beginning April 1st unless this bill is passed or Congress postpones the cut.

More details can be found on MedPage Today.

Insights on priorities are discussed in a recent interview with Karen DeSalvo, M.D.

In Healthcare Informatics’ recent interview with the National Coordinator for Healthcare IT, Karen DeSalvo, DeSalvo discusses her top priorities now that she’s settling into her new role. It appears that there are three immediate issues she’s looking to address — an organizational assessment of the agency, enabling the health information exchange, and managing the regulatory obligations of both Stage 2 and Stage 3, Meaningful Use / MIPS.

DeSalvo discusses, in more detail, the considerations she and her colleagues are making regarding these concerns. The full discussion is featured on Healthcare Informatics.com


Best-selling author, Malcolm Gladwell discusses interoperability.

Healthcare IT News covered Malcolm Gladwell’s presentation at the Health Care Innovation Day, where he made comparisons between interoperability and war to illustrate the challenges the industry faces, but also the opportunities that lie ahead. More specifically, in his talk, Gladwell suggests that the change required for healthcare to transition to interoperability is similar to three events — the Israeli victory in the Lebanon war, cargo shipping innovations in the 1950’s, and the move to digital music.

A quote from his talk, reflected on the nature of innovation, “Sometimes when we look at innovation, we make the mistake of thinking that innovation is specific to an individual invention or a device,” but that’s not it, he said. “The greatest transformation brought about by technology is when you bring the various pieces and have them work together in combination. It’s the synergies that bring about the greatest changes in the world.”

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