Friday, December 07, 2012

I Wonder Are There Lessons For Australia In These Two Articles? It All Seems A Little Familiar.

The following couple of articles appeared a few days ago - there seem to be some parallels to what we are seeing here:

Probe finds U.S. e-health program lacks oversight

Inspector general says physician and hospital self-reporting rule is ineffective

Lucas Mearian
November 29, 2012 (Computerworld)
Federal investigators Thursday released a report charging that the Medicare electronic medical records (EMR) program lacks effective fiscal oversight.
The report, issued by the Inspector General's office of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), states that the Medicare EMR program may be paying incentives to health care providers and hospitals that do not fully meet the quality standards known as "meaningful use".
The report stated that the program's self-reporting format lacks audit oversight requirements so it's impossible to prove whether reports from physicians and hospitals are accurate.
The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) oversees the federal EHR program, including the incentive payments. The "incentive money" CMS pays to healthcare professionals and hospitals that have deployed EMRs and have met meaningful use criteria is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
The total cost for the EMR incentive program is expected to hit $22.5 billion over the next decade, according to the latest estimate of the U.S. Office of Management and Budget.
Physicians and other qualified healthcare workers can receive up to $44,000 apiece in incentive payments while hospitals are eligible for base payments of $2 million a year.
The incentive monies can be awarded under Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Medicare EHR incentive payments of about $4 billion to 82,535 healthcare professionals and 1,474 hospitals have been made since the program started in May, 2011, according to the Inspector General's report.
In total, CMS has dispensed more than $7.7B in incentive payments to more than 307,000 healthcare professionals and 4,000 hospitals that deployed EHRs, the report said.
The CMS responded to the report by stating that protecting taxpayer dollars is a "top priority."
"We have implemented aggressive procedures to hold providers accountable. Making a false claim is a serious offense with serious consequences and we believe the overwhelming majority of doctors and hospitals take seriously their responsibility to honestly report their performance," the spokesman told Computerworld via email.
Lots more here:
I have to say did make me think just how fully things like the new ePIP Program will be audited. Site visits etc. or I wonder what is planned?
I also was prompted by the following to wonder what effects all those requirements for ePIP and the associated complexities are moving GPs into corporate practice.

Federal EHR regs driving docs out of private practice, says new report

By Mike Miliard, Managing Editor
Created 11/30/2012
Independent physicians are a vanishing breed, due in large part to government regulations requiring the adoption of health IT and the meaningful use of electronic health records, according to a new report from Accenture.
The report finds that 61 percent of those surveyed will seek employment rather than open a private practice, with the majority citing the government regulations as the cause.
The number of doctors in private practice has dropped from 57 percent in 2000 to just 39 percent in 2012, according to Accenture, which forecasts a further 3 percent downtick by the end of 2013.
A large majority of physicians (87 percent) said they sought employment thanks to the high cost of doing business independently, according to the report. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) noted the prevalence of managed care as a challenge, and more than half (53 percent) cited federal electronic health record (EHR) requirements as reasons to give up their independence.
.....
Read it here (PDF).
The full article is here:
The parallels are certainly worthy of more than a passing thought!
David.

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