Friday, August 19, 2016


Health Data Management reports on ICD-10 coding concerns connected with the turn of the federal fiscal year on October 1, 2016.
Jim Daley, director of IT for BlueCross BlueShield of South Carolina and past chairman of the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange as well as WEDI’s ICD-10 co-chair, credits the success of organizations in meeting the Oct. 1, 2015, implementation deadline to the fact the industry had a lot of time to prepare.
One year later, Daley contends that organizations must now focus on three significant changes that will come into play starting Oct. 1, 2016:
  • The ICD-10 Coordination and Maintenance Committee has lifted the partial code freeze and thousands of new codes have been added for federal Fiscal Year 2017, which begins October 1.
  • The Medicare grace period on code specificity for Part B post payment audits will end Oct. 1, 2016.
  • Payers may begin to adjust medical policies based on the new specificity offered by ICD-10.
The FEHBlog credits time to prepare plus the American Medical Association's transition plan which ends on September 30, e.g., see second bullet.

CMS released  2014 Medicare Part D prescription drug spending data today.
The 2014 data set contains information from over one million distinct health care providers who collectively prescribed approximately $121 billion in prescription drugs paid for under the Medicare Part D program. This represents a 17 percent increase compared to the 2013 data set. The March 2016 Department of Health and Human Services report provided a detailed analysis of prescription drug spending trends, and noted that overall prescription drug spending in the United States rose by 12.6 percent between 2013 and 2014.
Cost curve up.

Healthcare Informatics shares interesting FBI observations on the cybersecurity front.
With regard to the biggest group of those threatening healthcare organizations right now, Wallach noted that the cyber-criminals involved now are conducting activity to steal information and monetize it. “Healthcare information is worth a lot of money on the dark web,” he said. “The bad guys want to target information that they can eventually monetize.” And patient records are treasure troves of usable data, unfortunately for the leaders of patient care organizations.
Ruh roh.

Finally, the FEHBlog enjoyed reading this STAT article about genetic variations in DNA. Medical researchers keep growing their knowledge base as genome sequencing technology improves. But there is still a lot of work to do. “It’s shocking that there are thousands of genes that are important, and we still don’t know what they do,” said [Dr. Jay] Shendure, the University of Washington geneticist.

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