MASSDEVICE ON CALL — U.S. Rep. Jim McDermott (D-Wash.) wants more checks on the way Medicare sets doctors fees, warning that current practices are unfairly biased towards specialists over primary care physicians.
Currently the Relative Value Scale Update committee, a group appointed by the American Medical Assn., recommends prices for doctor fees. Under the Congressman’s bill, an independent panel of experts would keep a closer eye on the much-debated prices.
"Medicare certainly needs clinical expertise in order to fairly set reimbursements, but an outside organization, whose members benefit from $70 billion in annual public spending, needs checks and balances," McDermott said in a prepared remarks. "No matter how well-intentioned, structural biases are inevitable and we’re seeing that effect as new doctors flock toward specialty care and away from primary care."
Medtronic’s iPad simulator encourages surgeons to adopt new procedures
Medtronic (NYSE:MDT) is hoping its new iPad game-based surgical training complement will bring more physicians around to new and potentially unfamiliar treatments by giving them a way to "test" procedures in a zero-risk environment.
Medtronic’s game, which features a simulated story line and a scoring system, aims to get surgeons over the initial barrier to adopting a new procedure. The program will not replace cadaver labs, observation and other standard surgical training methods, but Medtronic sales reps say the game has been a helpful tool to bring surgeons on-board with a new procedure.
ACOs are getting cold feet
Nine accountable care organizations are starting to back away form one of Medicare’s experimental payment programs, reporting that they may choose to opt out. Some analysts have warned that as many as 1/3 of hospitals and health organizations may exit the government’s ACO pay system, which may be a killer for the program.
Some compare the Snowden NSA security breach to EMR security
The high-profile case of Edward Snowden and the leak of classified defense information has got some healthcare officials worried about health record security.
Millions of healthcare workers with little-to-no security training have access to patient health information, Deborah Peel, founder of Patient Privacy Rights, told Healthcare IT News.
Considering the recent deluge of EMR security breaches in hospitals and healthcare organizations across the country, some health information technology experts are worried that a Snowden-like security breach could compromise patient privacy.