Doctors welcome more Medicare patients | On Call

MassDevice On Call

MASSDEVICE ON CALL — The number of doctors taking new Medicare patients rose dramatically between 2007 and 2011, according to a report from the Department of Health & Human Services.

More doctors now accept new patients on the federal insurance program than new patients form private insurance plans.

About 925,000 doctors billed Medicare in 2007, but by 2011 that number rose to 1.25 million, a 33% increase, according to USA Today.

 For an active aging population, the benefits of knee surgery trump costs
As America’s baby boom generation ages, more adults want to remain active and working but are hindered by joint problems. Researchers determined that the social and economic benefits of knee replacement surgery far outweigh the costs, according to a recent study in the Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery.

A typical surgery, plus rehab, has a price tag of $20,704, but patients are subsequently healthier. The study authors calculated that indirect savings after surgery are $39,697, and the lifetime net benefit is between $10,000 and $30,000 depending on the patient.
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Physicians need to rule out the possibility that a kidney transplant will be rejected by the patient’s body, and currently the only way to determine rejection is a kidney biopsy. However, researchers may have hit on a less-invasive urine test that measures certain protein levels to determine rejection risk. The research was funded by National Institute of Allergy & Infectious Diseases, part of the NIH.
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 CMS clarifies Medicare coverage determination process
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid issued a process update, hoping to streamline the current method of determining Medicare coverage. The agency clarified the rules surrounding national coverage decisions (NCDs), including the coverage request process, the specific information that must be included in a request and updated time-lines. Most importantly, CMS included a way to trim the fat, or remove certain NCDs that are now considered unnecessary.
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 Data breach rule is ‘unrealistic,’ says 1 state insurance exchange CIO
The head of Washington state’s health insurance exchange, Curt Kwak, called newly proposed data security rules "unrealistic," in a recent interview with HealthcareInfoSecurity. The Dept. of Health & Human Services proposed a rule that would compel new state-run insurance exchanges to report security breaches within 60 minutes. Washington’s CIO Kwak said he doubts the rule will pass, but his state will have to adjust if necessary to meet the insurance exchange time-line of Oct. 1.
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