Defense Department Needs to Coordinate Revamp of Doc Credentialing

The U.S. Defense Department needs to establish a process coordinating all current and future efforts to revise credentialing and privileging requirements for physicians at military treatment facilities as well as establishing an oversight process to review credential samples to identify and address areas of noncompliance, according to a U.S. Government Accountability Office report.

The report was requested by Congress after Major Dr. Nidal Malik Hasan, a U.S. Army psychiatrist, was accused of killing 13 people in a Nov. 5, 2009 shooting spree at Fort Hood, Texas. His trial is set to begin March 5, 2012.

What can a practice do when a patient harasses a staffer?

By Victoria Stagg Elliott, amednews staff. Posted Nov. 14, 2011.

Doctors generally know that they risk legal action against a practice if a physician or employee complains about sexually suggestive or racist remarks from another doctor or employee and nothing is done.

But physicians might not realize that they face the same risk if they don't deal with complaints about a patient who frequently leers at a receptionist or utters racially offensive remarks to a medical assistant.

AHA Calls on CMS to Rethink HIPAA Rule Change

A growing number of health care associations are sharing similar sentiments regarding the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' (CMS') accounting of disclosure rules and "the American Hospital Association (AHA) is the latest health care group to urge CMS to reconsider its accounting of disclosures rule, included in proposed changes to the HIPAA privacy rule under the HITECH Act," stated a recent Healthcare IT News article.
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Bypassing the Insurer

Some physician practices are breaking the mold with "direct primary care" as posted in a recent article in American Medical News. Under these plans, patients pay a monthly fee - sometimes even less than $100 - for unlimited access to a range of services, even as complex as minor surgeries and x-rays. Usually patients have basic health insurance to cover specialists and hospital care. Read the full article

Economy Disrupts Doctors Retirement Plans

Matthew Rice, MD, a 62-year-old emergency physician in Seattle, thought he would be firmly in retirement by now after leaving private practice earlier this year. However, Dr. Rice, like a lot of physicians his age or older, is finding himself still needing paid work. "My retirement doesn't look as good as it did," said Dr. Rice, who is working six shifts a month at various hospitals on an as-needed basis. "This is similar for a lot of physicians I know. Many are making decisions to work a bit longer."
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Bundled Payment Initiatives Passed

Recently, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the "Bundled Payments initiative," giving doctors and hospitals new incentives to coordinate care, improve the quality of care, and save money for Medicare. The physicians who provide care are currently paid separately for each service and this bundling will eliminate much of the hassle and confusion. The program also encourages providers to coordinate better, resulting in better patient care. Read the full article