CMS Softens On New Medical Billing Code, Offers Transition Period
The new codes, known as ICD-10, are seen by some as overly bureaucratic, but are slated to begin Oct. 1. The Obama administration says it won't deny most claims during a 12-month transition. Elsewhere, the lack of federal data on industry payments to nurses is scrutinized, while sick docs and telemedicine are also examined.
White House Eases Up On New Medical Code
The Obama administration announced on Monday that it will give doctors a 12-month transition period related to new medical codes that have drawn criticism from some Republican lawmakers as a needless expansion of bureaucracy. The deadline for doctors to adopt a new set of codes that identify medical conditions and procedures is Oct. 1. They are known as ICD-10, for the tenth version of the International Classification of Diseases. (Sullivan, 7/6)
Industry Payments To Nurses Go Unreported In Federal Database
A nurse practitioner in Connecticut pleaded guilty in June to taking $83,000 in kickbacks from a drug company in exchange for prescribing its high-priced drug to treat cancer pain. In some cases, she delivered promotional talks attended only by herself and a company sales representative. But when the federal government released data Tuesday on payments by drug and device companies to doctors and teaching hospitals, the payments to nurse practitioner Heather Alfonso, 42, were nowhere to be found. That's because the federal Physician Payment Sunshine Act doesn't require companies to publicly report payments to nurse practitioners or physician assistants, even though they are allowed to write prescriptions in most states. (Ornstein, 7/6)
Los Angeles Times:
Why Do Doctors, Of All People, Show Up For Work Sick?
Doctors and nurses understand that working while they're sick can put their patients at risk. But most do so anyway, a new survey of workers at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia suggests -- influenced by factors as varied as concerns over who will fill in for them, worries that their patients can't get by without them and a widespread notion that healthcare workers who stay home to nurse a cold or stomach bug are somehow weak or unprofessional. (Brown, 7/6)
The Digital Doctor Is In: Next Wave In Health Care
In today's digitally focused world, there are some cases where a trip to the doctor can be easily replaced with the download of an app or the power of a text message. The health care industry is in the midst of a technological boom, a transition which physician Bob Wachter, author of The Digital Doctor, says is necessary – but no one has gotten it completely right yet. (Thadani, 7/6)