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Huntzinger Management Group Announces Acquisition of Next Wave Health Advisors

SCRANTON, Pa.–The Huntzinger Management Group, Inc. (Huntzinger), a leader in healthcare advisory, managed, implementation, and supplemental staffing services, announced the acquisition of Next Wave Health Advisors, LLC (the Advisors). Founding Partner Bob Kitts, Chief Executive Officer of Huntzinger, made the announcement.

As part of Huntzinger, the Advisors will assist in providing healthcare advisory and managed services consulting. The Advisors will staff key advisory and managed services engagements with Huntzinger. Additionally, the Advisors will be actively involved in collaborating with Huntzinger leadership to formulate services most needed by and beneficial to the healthcare IT market.

The Advisors are a select group of experts who have helped shape the healthcare IT industry for the past several decades, and includes:

  • Frank Clark
  • Skip Hubbard
  • Ed Kopetsky
  • Peter Johnson
  • Rose Ann Laureto
  • Bill Montgomery
  • David Muntz
  • Sue Schade
  • Bill Spooner
  • Lynn Vogel
  • Jim Wagner
  • Eric Yablonka

“Huntzinger is a leader within the Healthcare IT industry. With the addition of the Advisors, Huntzinger has significantly expanded our knowledge base and resources within our advisory and managed service offerings. The Advisors and Huntzinger together provide sustainable strategic solutions for the healthcare IT industry,” stated Tanya Freeman, Huntzinger’s President, Chief Operating Officer, and Founding Partner.

Ivo Nelson, healthcare information pioneer, investor, and former Next Wave Health Advisors’ Chairman commented, “Finding the right partner for these preeminent healthcare leaders was our top priority, and Huntzinger is exactly such a partner.” He added, “Now there is a sound home for not only the current Advisors, but for future healthcare IT thought leaders as well.”

About The Huntzinger Management Group, Inc.
Huntzinger provides advisory, managed services, implementation, and supplemental staffing services to the healthcare industry. We focus on clinical and operational business performance optimization by ensuring alignment between IT, clinical, and ambulatory areas to position our healthcare clients for the future. For more information, visitwww.huntzingergroup.com.

About Next Wave Health Advisors, LLC.
The Advisors are preeminent leaders in healthcare information technology. Our team of executives played central roles in forming the modern-day HIT landscape over the past several decades, setting the bar in HIT leadership, management, technology, information security, business intelligence and organizational development. For more information, visit www.nextwavehealthadvisors.com

September 15, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Medfusion Announces New CEO

Kimberly Labow Appointed to Lead Company with Focus on Continuing to Drive Innovation and Momentum of Patient Experience Management Solutions

Cary, N.C. – February 16, 2016 Medfusion, a leading provider of patient experience management (PXM) solutions, today announced that Kimberly Labow has been named Chief Executive Officer. Labow is tasked with continuing to cultivate the company’s current market momentum, and deliver on Medfusion’s mission to deliver technology that enables providers to succeed in both fee-for-service and value-based environments, by putting patients in control of their health and care.

An accomplished leader with over twenty years of information technology and services experience, Labow excels in the areas of business strategy, marketing and sales. Her history with Medfusion goes back to its early days, when she worked closely with founder, Steve Malik, serving as the company’s Vice President of Marketing, Product Management and Inside Sales.  Following senior executive positions at leading healthcare technology companies, including NaviNet and ZirMed, Labow rejoined the Medfusion team in 2015 as Vice President of Product Management and Vice President of Marketing.  She now assumes the role of CEO, replacing Vern Davenport, who has recently announced his departure from the company.

“We were thrilled to have Kim rejoin the Medfusion team last year, and I am even more delighted to now welcome her into the role of CEO where she will have the opportunity to help build the future of the company,” said Steve Malik, Medfusion Executive Chairman. “We are at a pivotal moment in our history as we enhance our focus on further defining and delivering on our vision for comprehensive patient experience management solutions that make healthcare work better for doctors and patients by giving patients consumer-friendly control of their health and care.”

Medfusion seeks to elevate the patient experience to the standards of modern consumerism, resulting in benefits for both providers and patients. The company’s solutions streamline and simplify a number of overly complicated interactions and transactions, including patient-provider communications, patient payments, and cross-platform health records. By giving patients a modern, positive healthcare experience, Medfusion enables lower costs and higher, more-predictable revenue for providers, especially as they adapt to value-based reimbursement models.

“I am extremely excited to be assuming this leadership role,” said Kimberly Labow, Medfusion CEO. “Returning to Medfusion has been a real homecoming for me, and my familiarity with the company, its culture, solutions and clients – combined with my experiences in the larger health IT environment – gives me a unique perspective on the needs of the market and how to best serve them.”

About Medfusion

Medfusion delivers transformative technology and services that put patients in control of their health & care, enabling providers to succeed in a value-based healthcare delivery model. Medfusion’s comprehensive Patient Experience Management platform includes Medfusion Patient Portal – an industry-leading EMR-agnostic patient engagement platform, Medfusion Pay – a patient payment solution with multiple ways for patients to conveniently pay from any device, at any time, and Medfusion Plus – a mobile, patient-driven application that aggregates a patient’s health records on their mobile device. These solutions facilitate streamlined bi-directional communication, enhance patient engagement and improve a practice’s financial operations. For more information, please visit www.medfusion.com.

February 16, 2016 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Hospital Merger and Acquisition Activity Increases in Third Quarter of 2015, According to Kaufman Hall Analysis

Number of Transactions in First Three Quarters Grows 18.2 Percent Compared with 2014

Skokie, IL, November 10, 2015—Hospital merger and acquisition activity accelerated in the third quarter of 2015, according to the latest analysis by Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC, a leading provider of strategic, capital, financial, and transaction advisory services and software tools. Kaufman Hall identified 29 hospital and health system transactions in the third quarter of 2015, up from 26 transactions announced in the second quarter. A total of 78 transactions were announced in the first three quarters of 2015, an 18.2 percent increase compared with the 66 transactions announced in the first three quarters of 2014.

The number of transactions in 2015 is on pace to surpass that of 2012 (95), 2013 (98), and 2014 (95), demonstrating providers’ continued use of mergers, acquisitions, and other forms of partnerships to strengthen capabilities for an increasingly value-based system.

More observations of note from transactions in the third quarter of 2015 include:

  • The transactions occurred across a broad range of acute-care segments, including not-for-profit, for-profit, rural, urban, and academic health centers.
  • 10 of the 29 transactions in the third quarter of 2015 involved acquisitions by for-profit organizations—a higher number than in previous quarters.
  • The largest deal announced was the merger of two not-for-profit Catholic healthcare systems: Renton, Washington-based Providence Health & Services and Irvine, California-based St. Joseph Health System, which will form one of the largest not-for-profit health systems in the country.
  • Another large deal announced in the third quarter was Community Health Systems spinning off 38 of its hospitals in smaller communities into a new public company called Quorum Health Corporation.
  • The total operating revenue of acquired organizations acquired for the third quarter of 2015 was more than $5.8 billion (excluding the Providence/St. Joseph merger and the spinoff of hospitals to form Quorum).

“The changing basis of competition in healthcare places a premium on factors such as efficiency, care management, network scope and scale, and physician relationships,” said Mike Finnerty, Managing Director, Kaufman Hall. “Our analysis of hospital transactions suggests that organizations are turning to partners to strengthen those capabilities, and we anticipate this trend will continue as macro forces continue to drive health system change.”

About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides management consulting services and enterprise performance management software that help organizations realize sustained success amid changing market conditions. Since 1985, we have been a trusted advisor to hospitals and health systems, helping them incorporate proven methods into their strategic planning and financial management processes and quantify the financial impact of their plans to consistently achieve their goals. Kaufman Hall helps clients identify and execute strategic initiatives that drive market and financial performance; provides financial advisory services to clients seeking capital; prepares and implements integrated strategic, financial, and capital plans; designs comprehensive capital allocation processes; and assists in the evaluation, structuring, and negotiation of partnership and divestiture opportunities. Additionally, we provide sophisticated, integrated, and intuitive software solutions for long-range planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, capital planning, profitability, and cost management on a single platform.

November 10, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Hospital Merger and Acquisition Activity Accelerates in Second Quarter of 2015, According to Kaufman Hall Analysis

Notable Increase in Transactions in the First Half of 2015 Compared with 2014

Skokie, IL, August 25, 2015— Strong hospital merger and acquisition activity continued in the second quarter of 2015, according to the latest analysis by Kaufman, Hall & Associates, LLC, a leading provider of strategic, capital, financial, and transaction advisory services and software tools. Kaufman Hall identified 26 hospital and health system transactions in the second quarter of 2015, up from 23 transactions recorded in the first quarter. A total of 49 transactions were announced in the first half of 2015, a noteworthy increase from the 43 transactions announced in the first half of 2014.

Mergers, acquisitions, and other forms of partnerships continue to be a critical approach to developing the capabilities needed for value-based care, reducing costs, and enhancing competitive positioning. The hospital transactions announced in the first half of 2015 reflect this variety of form, structure, and strategic purpose. Other insights of note from transactions in the first half of 2015 include:

  • The transactions occurred across a broad range of acute-care segments, including not-for-profit, for-profit, rural, urban, and academic health centers
  • Of the 49 transactions in the first half of 2015, 42 involved the acquisition of a not-for-profit organization – 34 by other not-for-profit organizations, and eight by for-profit organizations
  • The total operating revenue of organizations acquired in the first half of 2015 was more than $12.0 billion, up from $10.0 billion in first half 2014
  • The largest deal announced in the second quarter of 2015 was Ventas’ acquisition of Ardent Medical Services from Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe for $1.8 billion

“We are not surprised by this increase in M&A activity, as hospitals and health systems work to achieve goals such as optimizing their delivery networks, enhancing efficiency, and solidifying market position,” said Kit Kamholz, Managing Director at Kaufman Hall. “Over time, we expect that fewer transactions will involve acquisition of financially struggling entities and more will involve strategic alignments between successful organizations with complementary strengths.”

About Kaufman Hall

Kaufman Hall provides management consulting services and enterprise performance management software that help organizations realize sustained success amid changing market conditions. Since 1985, we have been a trusted advisor to hospitals and health systems, helping them incorporate proven methods into their strategic planning and financial management processes and quantify the financial impact of their plans to consistently achieve their goals. Kaufman Hall helps clients identify and execute strategic initiatives that drive market and financial performance; provides financial advisory services to clients seeking capital; prepares and implements integrated strategic, financial, and capital plans; designs comprehensive capital allocation processes; and assists in the evaluation, structuring, and negotiation of partnership and divestiture opportunities. Additionally, we provide sophisticated, integrated, and intuitive software solutions for long-range planning, budgeting, forecasting, reporting, capital planning, profitability, and cost management on a single platform.

August 25, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Dell Services Appoints Dr. Nick van Terheyden as New Chief Medical Officer

PLANO, Texas, July 20, 2015Dell Services announced today that Nick van Terheyden, M.D., former chief medical information officer of Nuance Communications, has been named Dell Healthcare & Life Sciences chief medical officer.

As chief medical officer, Dr. van Terheyden is responsible for providing strategic insight to help Dell advance its support of healthcare organizations, medical professionals and patients through information-enabled healthcare. He will report to Sid Nair, vice president and global general manager of Dell’s Healthcare & Life Sciences (HCLS) Services business.

“Dr. van Terheyden’s unique combination of medical experience, business strategy and creativity make him the perfect addition to Dell.” Sid Nair, vice president and global general manager, Healthcare & Life Sciences, Dell Services. “As Dell’s new chief medical officer, Dr. van Terheyden will play a key role in providing our customers access to expertise that is crucial in navigating clinical issues and applying innovative solutions in an increasingly complex healthcare industry.”

As a 25-year veteran of healthcare technology, Dr. van Terheyden is well-regarded for his contributions to the evolution of healthcare technology; as a thought leader and social media evangelist, Dr. van Terheyden will help Dell’s global healthcare customers develop a strategy and apply technology to achieve an IT environment that is interconnected, efficient and patient-focused. Prior to joining Dell, he served as chief medical information officer for Nuance, where he drove the company’s healthcare strategy to improve healthcare utilizing technology including speech recognition, medical intelligence and clinical language understanding to positively impact patient outcomes.

Dr. van Terheyden has impressive international experience in the Middle East, Australia, the UK, Malaysia and New Zealand. His diverse career experiences include collaborations with top healthcare organizations including Philips Healthcare, Mount Sinai Medical Center, KPMG, Healthcare International and Shell. Additionally, he aided in the development of one of the first electronic medical records, served as a business leader in one of the first speech recognition Internet companies. He is a graduate of the Royal Free Hospital School of Medicine, University of London and has several professional memberships including HIMSS, mHealth Executive Committee, AMIA, and AMDIS.

Dell continues to expand its commitment in the healthcare space through its end-to-end integrated solutions combining services, software and hardware—including patient engagement, predictive analytics, Healthcare Cloud & Interoperability, Clinical Applications Management as well as managed infrastructure, application and business process services. Dell has earned the ranking of number one in Healthcare Provider Services for six consecutive years by Gartner.

About Dell
Dell Inc. listens to customers and delivers innovative technology and services that give them the power to do more. As one of the leading providers of end-to-end IT solutions for healthcare worldwide, Dell helps healthcare organizations to simplify administration; coordinate and manage patient care; transition from episodic care to prevention and wellness management; and ultimately to deliver personalized medicine. Follow @DellHealth and @DellServices on Twitter.

Dell World
Join us Oct. 20-22 at Dell World 2015, Dell’s flagship event bringing together technology and business professionals to network, share ideas and help co-create a better future. Learn more at www.dellworld.com and follow #DellWorld on Twitter.

Supporting Resources:

July 20, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

CMS Begins Implementation of Key Payment Legislation

Proposed Update to Physician Fee Schedule is First Since Repeal of SGR

Today, CMS released the first proposed update to the physician payment schedule since the repeal of the Sustainable Growth Rate through the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA).  The proposal includes a number of provisions focused on person-centered care, and continues the Administration’s commitment to transform the Medicare program to a system based on quality and healthy outcomes.

“CMS is building on the important work of Congress to shift the Medicare program toward a system that rewards physicians for providing high quality care,” said Andy Slavitt, Administrator of CMS.  “Thanks to the recent landmark Medicare and children’s health insurance program legislation, CMS and Congress are working together to achieve a better Medicare payment system for physicians and the American people.”

In the proposed CY 2016 Physician Fee Schedule rule, CMS is also seeking comment from the public on implementation of certain provisions of the MACRA, including  the new Merit-based Incentive payment system (MIPS). This is part of a broader effort at the Department to move the Medicare program to a health care system focused on the delivery of quality care and value.

The proposed rule includes updates to payment policies, proposals to implement statutory adjustments to physician payments based on misvalued codes, updates to the Physician Quality Reporting System, which measures the quality performance of physicians participating in Medicare, and updates to the Physician Value-Based Payment Modifier, which ties a portion of physician payments to performance on measures of quality and cost.  CMS is also seeking comment on the potential expansion of the Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative, a CMS Innovation Center initiative designed to improve the coordination of care for Medicare beneficiaries.

The proposed rule also seeks comment on a proposal that supports patient- and family-centered care for seniors and other Medicare beneficiaries by enabling them to discuss advance care planning with their providers. The proposal follows the American Medical Association’s recommendation to make advance care planning services a separately payable service under Medicare.

The release of the rule triggers a 60-day comment period, during which time CMS welcomes the input of stakeholders and the public.  A final rule will be published this fall. For a fact sheet on the proposed rule, please see here. For further information, please see the rule on display here.

July 8, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

CynergisTek Expands Leadership Team to Support Company Growth

Adam Hawkins Advances as Vice President of Sales and Marketing to Drive Continued Expansion Amid Increased Demand for Privacy and Security Expertise in Healthcare

Austin, Texas, June 29, 2015CynergisTek™, an authority in health information privacy, security and compliance, today announced it has expanded its leadership team with the addition of Adam Hawkins as Vice President of Sales and Marketing. Effective July 1, 2015, Adam will be responsible for the sales and marketing operations at CynergisTek, as well as the strategic planning, development and implementation of the company’s Managed Services and Vendor Security Management offerings. In addition, Adam will continue to ensure a high-level of support is maintained across the company’s client base of healthcare provider organizations. Adam originally joined CynergisTek as Director of Client Services in 2012, and was an integral part of developing a highly successful sales team as the company restructured its sales and marketing efforts from the ground up.

Adam’s transition to this executive role will be critical in effectively managing unprecedented company growth spurred by increased demand for privacy and security expertise in healthcare. The company has experienced a 70 percent increase in revenue over the last calendar year, and has rapidly expanded its workforce, requiring seasoned leadership in sales, marketing and client services. Adam has more than a decade of experience in healthcare information security and clinical technologies, positioning him well to manage the company’s sales force, marketing department and partner alliances.

“Adam’s commitment to matching providers with the best possible solutions for their privacy and security needs has been instrumental in fostering the trust our clients have come to know and rely on us for,” said Dr. Michael Mathews, CynergisTek Co-Founder and COO. “Adam has a proven track record of ensuring client success, and we are pleased to have him join the executive team where he can exercise his leadership skills and provide strategic direction as we continue to grow.”

Complex regulations, looming enforcement action and prevalent data breaches in the healthcare industry have made data security a top priority for most providers. This increased focus on information security has led many organizations to seek outsourced expertise, driving business for CynergisTek and opening the door to new career opportunities at the company for those with education and experience in information technology.

“It’s been the opportunity of a lifetime to be a part of a company that is leading the healthcare industry at such a critical time,” said Adam. “It has been very rewarding to help CynergisTek clients navigate today’s dynamic threat environment, and I am looking forward to stepping into my new role where I can fully dedicate myself to adding value across the board.”

Prior to joining CynergisTek, Adam was a Regional Sales Executive at Diebold and DrFrist and Director of Sales & Technology at VisionTree. Adam holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Information and Decision Systems and Political Science from California State University, San Diego.

About CynergisTek

CynergisTek is a top-ranked information privacy and security consulting firm. The company offers solutions to help organizations measure privacy and security programs against regulatory requirements and assists in developing risk management best practices. Since 2003 the company has served as a partner to hundreds in the healthcare industry. CynergisTek is also dedicated to supporting and educating the industry by contributing to relevant associations such as HIMSS, AHIMA, HFMA, HCCA, AHIA, AHLA, IAPP and CHIME. CynergisTek was recognized by KLAS®, as one of three firms provider organizations turn to most for privacy and security assistance in its groundbreaking report released in May 2014, entitled “Security and Privacy Perception 2014: High Stakes, Big Challenges.” For more information visitwww.cynergistek.com, call 512.402.8550 or email info@cynergistek.com.

June 29, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

New Medicare data available to increase transparency on hospital and physician utilization

Data serves as a rich resource to clearer look into Parts A and B costs, services, and trends

As part of the Administration’s efforts to promote better care, smarter spending, and healthier people, today CMS is posting the third annual release of the Medicare hospital utilization and payment data (both inpatient and outpatient) and the second annual release of the physician and other supplier utilization and payment data. The announcement was made at the annual Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, DC.

“These data releases will give patients, researchers, and providers continued access to information to transform the health care delivery system,” said acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt. “It’s important for consumers, their providers, researchers and other stakeholders to understand the delivery of care and spending under the Medicare program.”

The Medicare hospital utilization and payment data consists of information for 2013 about the average amount a hospital bills for services that may be provided in an inpatient stay or outpatient visit. The hospital data includes payment and utilization information for services that may be provided in connection with the 100 most common Medicare inpatient stays and 30 selected outpatient procedures at over 3,000 hospitals in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. The top 100 inpatient stays represented in the hospital inpatient data are associated with approximately $62 billion in Medicare payments and over 7 million hospital discharges.

The Medicare Part B physician, practitioner, and other supplier utilization and payment data consists of information on services and procedures provided to Medicare beneficiaries by physicians and other healthcare professionals. The data also shows payment and submitted charges, or bills, for those services and procedures by provider. It allows for comparisons by physician, specialty, location, types of medical services and procedures delivered, Medicare payment, and submitted charges. The new 2013 dataset has information for over 950,000 distinct health care providers who collectively received $90 billion in Medicare payments. Hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers determine what they will charge for services and procedures provided to patients and these “charges” are the amount the hospital or provider generally bills for the service or procedure, but the amount paid is determined by Medicare’s physician fee schedule or other payment methodologies. CMS protects beneficiaries’ personal information in all its data releases.

“Data transparency facilitates a vibrant health data ecosystem, promotes innovation, and leads to better informed and more engaged health care consumers,” said Niall Brennan, CMS chief data officer and director of the Office of Enterprise and Data Analytics. “CMS will continue to release the hospital and physician data on an annual basis so we can enable smarter decision making about care that is delivered in the health care system.”

The Administration has set measurable goals and a timeline to move Medicare toward paying providers based on the quality, rather than the quantity, of care they give patients. These data releases are part of a wide set of initiatives to achieve better care, smarter spending, and healthier people through our health care system. Open sharing of data securely, timely, and more broadly supports insight and innovation in health care delivery.

Today’s data release adds to the unprecedented information recently released on Medicare Part D prescription drugs prescribed by physicians and other health care providers.

To view a fact sheet on the 2013 hospital charge data, visit: http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-06-01.html.

To view a fact sheet on the 2013 Medicare Part B physician data, visit:http://www.cms.gov/Newsroom/MediaReleaseDatabase/Fact-sheets/2015-Fact-sheets-items/2015-06-01-2.html.

June 1, 2015 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

National Health Expenditures Continued Slow Growth in 2013

Health spending continued to grow at a slow rate last year the Office of the Actuary (OACT) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported today. In 2013, health spending grew at 3.6 percent and total national health expenditures in the United States reached $2.9 trillion, or $9,255 per person. The annual OACT report showed health spending continued a pattern of low growth—between 3.6 percent and 4.1– percent for five consecutive years. The report is being published today in Health Affairs.

The recent low rates of national health spending growth coincide with modest growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which averaged 3.9 percent per year since the end of the severe economic recession in 2010. As a result, the share of the economy devoted to health remained unchanged over this period at 17.4 percent.

“This report is another piece of evidence that our efforts to reform the health care delivery system are working,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “To keep this momentum going, we are continuing our efforts to shift toward paying for care in ways that reward providers who achieve better outcomes and lower costs.”

Total national health spending slowed from 4.1 percent growth in 2012 to 3.6 percent in 2013.  The report attributes the 0.5 percentage point slowdown in health care spending growth to slower growth in private health insurance, Medicare, and investment in medical structures and equipment spending.  However, faster growth in Medicaid spending helped to partially offset the slowdown.

Other findings from the report:

  • Medicare spending, which represented 20 percent of national health spending in 2013, grew 3.4 percent to $585.7 billion, a slowdown from growth of 4.0 percent in 2012. This slowdown was primarily caused by a deceleration in Medicare enrollment growth, as well as net impacts from the Affordable Care Act and sequestration.  Per-enrollee Medicare spending grew at about the same rate as 2012, increasing just 0.2 percent in 2013.
  • Spending on private health insurance premiums (a 33 percent share of total health care spending) reached $961.7 billion in 2013, and increased 2.8 percent, slower than the 4.0 percent growth in 2012. The slower rate of growth reflected low enrollment growth in private health insurance plans, the continued shift of enrollees to high-deductible health plans and other benefit design changes, low underlying medical benefit trends, and the impacts of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Medicaid spending grew 6.1 percent in 2013 to $449.4 billion, an acceleration from 4.0 percent growth in 2012. Faster Medicaid growth in 2013 was driven in part by increases in provider reimbursement rates, some states’ expanding benefits, and early Medicaid expansion.
  • Out-of-pocket spending (which includes direct consumer payments such as copayments, deductibles, spending by the insured on services not covered by insurance, and spending by those without health insurance) grew 3.2 percent in 2013 to $339.4 billion, slightly slower than annual growth of 3.6 percent in both 2011 and 2012.
  • Among health care goods and services, slower growth in spending for hospital care and physician and clinical services contributed to slower growth in national health care spending in 2013. However, faster spending growth for retail prescription drugs in 2013 partially offset the overall slowdown.
  • Hospital spending increased 4.3 percent to $936.9 billion in 2013 compared to 5.7 percent growth in 2012. The lower growth in 2013 was influenced by slower growth in both price and non-price factors (which include the use and intensity of services). Growth in private health insurance and Medicare hospital spending decelerated in 2013 compared to 2012.
  • Spending for physician and clinical services increased 3.8 percent in 2013 to $586.7 billion, from 4.5 percent growth in 2012. Slower price growth in 2013 was the main cause of the slowdown, as prices grew less than 0.1 percent. Growth in spending from private health insurance and Medicare, the two largest payers of physician and clinical services, experienced slower spending growth in 2013, while Medicaid growth accelerated as a result of temporary increases in payments to primary care physicians.
  • Retail prescription drug spending accelerated in 2013, growing 2.5 percent to $271.1 billion, compared to 0.5 percent growth in 2012. Faster growth in 2013 resulted from price increases for brand-name and specialty drugs, increased spending on new medicines, and increased utilization.
  • In 2013, households accounted for the largest share of spending (28 percent), followed by the federal government (26 percent), private businesses (21 percent), and state and local governments (17 percent).

Since 2010, the share of health spending financed by the federal government decreased—from 28 percent to 26 percent in 2013. At the same time, the share financed by state and local governments increased—from 16 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2013. These shifts resulted primarily from the June 2011 expiration of additional Medicaid funding provided by the federal government to the states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The report includes all of the net impacts of the Affordable Care Act provisions as well as the budget sequester through 2013.  The Affordable Care Act provisions that exerted downward pressure in 2013 were:

  • productivity adjustments for Medicare fee-for-service payments
  • reduced Medicare Advantage base payment rates
  • increased Medicaid prescription drug rebates
  • the medical loss ratio requirement for private insurers

The Affordable Care Act provisions that exerted upward pressure in 2013 included:

  • early Medicaid expansion initiatives
  • a temporary increase in Medicaid primary care provider payments
  • reducing the size of the Medicare Part D donut hole
  • the implementation of prescription drug industry fees

The OACT report will appear at http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html

December 3, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Broader Approach Urged for Evaluating Financial Performance of Employed Physicians

(Nov. 21, 2014, Westchester, Ill.) – Current approaches to measuring the financial performance of employed physicians can obscure the value that employed physicians bring to an organization, according to new research released today by the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Based on productivity alone, fewer than 25 percent of senior financial executives surveyed expected to see a positive return on investment during the first two years of physician employment, a finding that researchers described as “not surprising” in light of current payment methodologies and productivity decreases that often occur when physicians move into an employment setting. However, instead of using “loss per physician” as a financial metric, researchers say, a health system should fully account for the value that employed physicians bring to the system. That is, looking at the system as a whole, management should determine an acceptable level of expense to generate sufficient revenues to maintain the system’s financial health and invest in physician financial support accordingly.

“It’s vital to ensure that the contributions of physicians are accurately valued and described,” said HFMA president and CEO Joseph J. Fifer, FHFMA, CPA. “Physician commitment to care transformation is critical to an organization’s success in making the transition to a value-based health system.”

The report was issued against a backdrop of continued growth in physician employment by hospitals and health systems, with 64 percent of hospital- and health system-based senior financial executives surveyed pursuing a physician employment strategy. The report also addresses clinically integrated networks and accountable care organizations as viable alternatives to physician employment for those providers seeking greater alignment.

Fundamental elements of a physician strategy identified and addressed in depth in the 24-page report include the following:

  • Determining the best alignment opportunities for physician practices in a particular market
  • Building a sufficient primary care base to support specialty services
  • Communicating the need for flexibility and change in physician compensation agreements
  • Developing physician leadership and governance structures

The research findings are detailed in Strategies for Physician Engagement and Alignment, based on quantitative and qualitative research conducted by HFMA in March 2014. Of 118 responses to the survey of senior financial executives, 55 percent represented stand-alone hospitals and 45 percent represented health systems. Site visits and interviews also were conducted with five hospitals, health systems, and medical groups.

To download the full report, visit hfma.org/valueproject.

About HFMA
With more than 40,000 members, the Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA) is the nation’s premier membership organization for healthcare finance leaders. HFMA builds and supports coalitions with other healthcare associations and industry groups to achieve consensus on solutions for the challenges the U.S. healthcare system faces today. Working with a broad cross-section of stakeholders, HFMA identifies gaps throughout the healthcare delivery system and bridges them through the establishment and sharing of knowledge and best practices. We help healthcare stakeholders achieve optimal results by creating and providing education, analysis, and practical tools and solutions. Our mission is to lead the financial management of health care. hfma.org

November 21, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.