Sunday, May 25, 2008

Weekend Update / Miscellany

  • Good news! The House of Representatives has dropped its plan to statutorily require health plans to cover all mental illnesses identified by the American Psychiatric Association in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual according to Workforce Management. This compromise with the Senate increases the chances that a stronger mental health parity law will be enacted this year.
  • A bi-partisan group of Representatives produced the outline of a House health information technology bill. Meanwhile, the Congressional Budget Office produced a report concludes, according to Government Health IT magazine, that
    "there still are many unknowns about the adoption of health information technology, including what its true costs and benefits might be.

    The report, “Evidence on the Costs and Benefits of Health Information Technology,” does not recommend what Congress should do about health IT, but it states that “if policymakers are interested in promoting health IT, some version of a requirement or an explicit or implicit penalty for providers who fail to adopt health IT is likely to be more cost-effective for the federal government than a subsidy.”
  • The National Alliance for Health Information Technology forwarded to the American Health Information Community a report including consenus definitions of the following six terms
  • Electronic Health Record;
  • Electronic Medical Record;
  • Health Information Exchange;
  • Health Information Organization;
  • Personal Health Record; and
  • Regional Health Information Organization.
  • The Federal Trade Commission reported to Congress last week that "Brand name pharmaceutical companies struck 14 deals that led to delayed sale of cheaper generic drugs in the 2007 fiscal year" according to Reuters. The FTC is encouraging Congress to enact a law restricting this practice which the FTC considers to violate antitrust laws.

  • On Friday, Medicare began denying electronic claims that included any provide identifying numbers other than the HIPAA National Provider Identifier and the employer or tax identification number. CMS, which enforces HIPAA standards transaction and identifier rules, advised health plan covered entities to similarly terminate their NPI contingency plans.

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