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Archive for May, 2011

Market Growth Predicted to Surge as a Result of Anesthesia Data Management Systems

Friday, May 27th, 2011

In related anesthesia billing news, sales of anesthesia information management systems will result in a surge in the need for anesthesia, respiratory and sleep-management devices. A report from iData Research reports that the market will expand to around $4 billion by 2017.

The report revealed that the market for anesthesia, respiratory and sleep-management devices was valued at over $2.5 billion last year, representing a 3.7% increase over 2009. As additional companies enter the market, industry leaders will have to lower their prices in order to remain competitive.

“The market for anesthesia information management systems will increase by over 50% in 2012 as hospitals automate their anesthesia departments” (before health IT deadline included in the 2009 federal economic stimulus package), says CEO of iData Research Kamram Zamanian.

Additionally, iData Research released a companion report estimating that electronic health records and medical billing records will rake in over $7.4 billion in annual support revenue and sales by 2017, according to InformationWeek.

The Impact of Health Information Technology Applications

Tuesday, May 24th, 2011

The effect of health information technology applications on medical management is the focus of a new report funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) and conducted by McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. After reviewing over 400 studies, the report revealed that health IT-enabled applications show moderate evidence of improved care processes. This especially holds true when clinical decision support and computerized physician order entry systems are concerned.

Although few studies looked at clinical or economic outcomes, when they were addressed studies found mixed results of clinician effectiveness and cost-effectiveness. Additional research is needed on the effectiveness of medical management in Henderson in dispensing, order communication, administering and medication reconciliation.

Maine Senate Passes Health Insurance Overhaul Bill

Thursday, May 19th, 2011

Among the latest healthcare reform news making recent headlines is the health insurance overhaul bill that was passed by the Maine Senate earlier this week. The bill allows more interstate purchases and subsidies for the chronically ill and those with pre-existing conditions, funded by a tax on premiums of up to $4 per person per month for most Maine policyholders.

Following a weekend spent cooling off after a heated debate between majority Republicans (who support the bill) and Democrats (who claim it is being rushed through), Republicans picked up three Democrat votes for a 24-10 vote on Monday (May 16). Democrats were eventually swayed by amendments targeted at keeping rates from climbing disproportionately in rural areas and not forcing people to travel far for care.

According to an April 2009 report to the Legislature by an advisory council of doctors, insurers, and public health professionals, premiums paid by employers in Maine are comparable to the rest of New England—but higher than the overall U.S. average.
Beginning in 2014, Maine residents buying individual insurance—not through employers—could buy policies from companies based in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
Stay tuned to learn more about the Maine bill and other issues related to medical billing in Las Vegas!

Accountable Care Organizations: A Two Part Guide – Part Two

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Billing for medical services is confusing enough, so read the second part of our guide on accountable care organizations (ACOs) to learn more about how they may affect you.

How would it be different for patients?

Although primary care doctors who are part of an ACO would be required to tell their patients (and physicians would likely want to refer patients to specialists and hospitals within the ACO network), patients would still be able to see doctors outside of the network without paying more, should they choose. If ACOs don’t meet standards, they won’t be able to share in any savings and could lose their contracts—so they will be under pressure to provide high quality care.

Should you consider an ACO?

What sets an ACO apart from other health maintenance organizations is that an ACO patient isn’t required to stay in the network. ACOs keep billing and collections at bay while avoiding HMO structural features that limit patient options.

Possible Downsides

In the midst of the rush to implement ACOs, health care economists warn that hospital mergers and provider consolidation will result. Health costs could rise as health systems are given more leverage in negotiations with insurers.

In terms of legal concerns, the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division has promised to provide an expedited antitrust review process for these doctor-hospital partnerships.

Accountable Care Organizations: A Two Part Guide – Part One

Friday, May 13th, 2011

Why have accountable care organizations become such a highly discussed provision of the new health law, despite only taking up a mere seven pages? Read on to find out in our two part guide to accountable care organizations. As Henderson billing specialists, we can help you understand all you need to know.

So, what is an accountable care organization?

An accountable care organization (ACO) is a network of doctors and hospitals that divides up the responsibility for providing care to patients. According to the new law, an ACO would agree to helm all of the health care needs of a minimum of 5,000 Medicare beneficiaries for at least three years.

Harold Miller, president and CEO of the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement and executive director of the Center for Healthcare Quality & Payment Reform in Pittsburg explains it using the analogy of buying a television. TV manufacturers contract multiple suppliers to build sets; similarly, an ACO would unite the different component parts of care—primary care, specialists, hospitals, home health care, etc.—for the patient to guarantee that they work together effectively. This solves the current problem of patients getting each part of their health care from a different place.

When will accountable care organizations begin operating?
Although the ACO initiative is slated to launch in January 2012, hospitals, physician practices and insurers from around the country have already begun announcing their plans to form ACOs for patients with private insurance as well as Medicare beneficiaries. Some groups have already created that they are labeling as ACOs.

Stay tuned to learn more about accountable care organizations and how they will affect your medical bill management.