In The Know: Stay Informed with Health Care News
- CMS Names 89 New ACOs
- FDA Bans BPA from Baby Bottles and Toddler Cups
- Physicians Express Positive Views of EHR
- CMS Proposes Pay Raise for Outpatient Departments
- FDA Approves Another Weight Loss Drug
CMS Names 89 New ACOs
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced 89 new accountable care organizations, bringing the number of providers participating in Medicare Shared Savings initiatives to 154. Five of the new ACOs applied for a version of the program that provides an opportunity for a higher share of savings by sharing any losses if costs of care increase. Applications for the next round of ACOs will open August 1st. To read the CMS Press Release, click on http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/07/20120709a.html.
FDA Bans BPA from Baby Bottles and Toddler Cups
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has banned the used of bisphenol A, or BPA, in baby bottles and children’s drinking cups. BPA is an estrogen-mimicking industrial chemical used in plastic bottles and food packaging. The FDA said its decision was a response to a request from the American Chemistry Council, the chemical industry’s main trade association. The FDA believes the chemical is safe, but has issued its decision based on consumer concerns. The ban is already in effect voluntarily, as manufacturers have already stopped using the chemical in baby bottles and sippy cups. The ban does not include containers of baby formula. To read more, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/18/science/fda-bans-bpa-from-baby-bottles-and-sippy-cups.html?ref=health.
Physicians Express Positive Views of EHR
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) reported that a national survey of office-based physicians revealed that most of those who have adopted electronic health record (EHR) systems are satisfied with their system and say it has improved patient care. According to the survey, 55 percent of responding physicians in 2011 said they have adopted at least some EHR technology in their practices, and 85 percent who have adopted EHRs said they were somewhat (47 percent) or very (38 percent) satisfied with their EHR system. To read HHS’ Press Release, click on http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/07/20120717a.html.
CMS Proposes Pay Raise for Outpatient Departments
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid has issued a proposed rule that could give outpatient departments a 2.1 percent payment rate hike in 2013, while ambulatory care centers could see payments increased 1.3 percent. The proposals would affect outpatient department at more than 4,000 hospitals and about 5,000 Medicare-certified ambulatory surgery centers. CMS also proposed a pay increase for primary care physicians in 2013. Family physicians would get a 7 percent pay increase, and other primary care practitioners would see payments rise between 3 and 5 percent. CMS is accepting public comment until September 4th, with a final rule to be issued by November 1st. To read the CMS proposal, click on http://www.ofr.gov/OFRUpload/OFRData/2012-16813_PI.pdf.
FDA Approves Another Weight Loss Drug
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved a second new weight-loss drug in less than one month. Before that, no new prescription weight-loss drug had been approved in 13 years. Qsymia, developed by Vivus of Mountain View, California, is a combination of two existing drugs, one of which is phentermine, an appetite suppressant that is a component of fen-phen, and the other is topiramate, an epilepsy and migraine drug. The drug is approved for use in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of 30 or greater, or adults with a BMI of 27 or greater who have at least one weight-related condition such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, or high cholesterol. To read the FDA’s Press Release, click on http://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/ucm312468.htm.