In The Know: Stay Informed with Health Care News
- Prepayment Audits to Begin on August 27
- HHS Looking for Mobile App to Reduce Heart Risk
- CDC Reports Worst Season for West Nile Virus
- New Command Center for Fighting Fraud
- Free Preventative Services Now Available to 47 Million Women
- Swine Flu Reported in Humans Following Fair
- Ebola Virus Kills 14 in Uganda
- Pennsylvania Provides Incentives for Meaningful Use
Prepayment Audits to Begin on August 27
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has announced that prepayment audits for hospitals in states with high volumes of fraud or error-prone providers will begin on August 27th. Shifting away from the pay-and-chase method of identifying fraud, the goal of the audits is to identify improper payments before they are submitted. The project will last for three years. To read more, click on http://https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Monitoring-Programs/CERT/Demonstrations.html.
HHS Looking for Mobile App to Reduce Heart Risk
The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) has announced a new challenge to create a mobile app to help consumers reduce their risk for heart disease by controlling their blood pressure and managing their cholesterol. The challenge is part of the Million Hearts initiative that aims to prevent a million heart attacks and strokes through clinical and community prevention. Developers are asked to create a mobile app that will help consumers take a heart health risk assessment, find places to get their blood pressure and cholesterol checked, and use the results to work with their health care provider to develop a plan to improve their heart health. The winning app developer will receive $100,000 and up to five finalists will each receive $5,000. For more information, click on http://challenge.gov/ONC/398-the-million-hearts-risk-check-challenge.
CDC Reports Worst Season for West Nile Virus
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported that at this point in the season, the number of cases of West Nile Virus is the worst since 2004. Through the end of July there have been 241 cases reported from 42 states, including four deaths. More than 80 percent of the cases were reported from just three states: Texas, Oklahoma, and Mississippi. The virus is transmitted by mosquitoes and most cases occur in the summer months, peaking in mid-August. To read more, click on http://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2012/p0801_west_nile.html.
New Command Center for Fighting Fraud
The Department of Health and Human Services has opened a new command center that is speeding up the process of identifying Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The new center partners with the Federal Bureau of Investigation and CMS’ anti-fraud investigators. The command center will gather experts from different areas, such as clinicians, data analysts, fraud investigators, and policy experts to build and improve sophistical new predictive analytics to spot fraud and then to move quickly on a lead. To read more, click on http://nation.time.com/2012/08/01/medicare-fraud-busters-unveil-command-center/#ixzz22OTg00hW.
Free Preventative Services Now Available to 47 Million Women
Beginning August 1st, eight new preventive services for women will be offered without cost. Previously some insurance companies did not cover these services, while some required deductibles or copays. The eight new prevention-related services are:
- Well-woman visits
- Gestational diabetes screening for pregnant women
- Domestic and interpersonal violence screening and counseling
- FDA-approved contraceptive methods, and contraceptive education and counseling
- Breastfeeding support, supplies, and counseling
- HPV DNA testing, for women 30 or older
- Sexually transmitted infections counseling for sexually-active women
- HIV screening and counseling for sexually-active women
To read more, click on http://www.hhs.gov/news/press/2012pres/07/20120731a.html.
Swine Flu Reported in Humans Following Fair
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has reported the first novel influenza virus outbreak associated with a fair this season. Following reports of ill swine and humans during a fair from July 8-14 in Indiana, samples were taken from swine and humans, and testing found that the viruses found in humans and swine were nearly identical. Four people tested positive for influenza A (H2N2). Most of the type A influenza viruses that infect swine are genetically very different from human (seasonal) viruses, and while swine flu viruses seldom infect humans, such infections can and do occur. The four cases reported in people were associated with swine contact. To read more, click on http://www.cdc.gov/flu/spotlights/safe-fair-going.htm
Ebola Virus Kills 14 in Uganda
An outbreak of the rare an deadly Ebola virus has killed 14 people in Uganda, and a team of experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has been sent to the area to begin emergency response measures. In 2000, an outbreak killed 224 people in Uganda. The CDC keeps a team of scientists and a laboratory in Uganda to study Ebola and other deadly viruses and hemorrhagic fevers often found in equatorial Africa. Ebola has recently been among those highlighted by the United States as a potential biological weapons threat. To read more, click on http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/29/world/africa/ebola-outbreak-kills-14-in-midwestern-uganda.html?ref=health
Pennsylvania Provides Incentives for Meaningful Use
The state of Pennsylvania is offering free software and a new customer reward to help smaller health care providers switch to secure, encrypted e-mail for sharing patient information. Participation helps providers meet the requirement for Meaningful Use Stage 1 and federal grants. To read more, click here.