April 12, 2016

Physician Quality Grading for Consumers

Columbia University Medical Center has just this week published a guide to the Physician Compare quality data. While the release of physician quality data has been delayed, expectations are that it will appear in 2017.

CMS will generate star ratings based on data drawn from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS), the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), as well as Accountable Care Organization (ACO) and claims data. CMS will set benchmarks based on the Achievable Benchmark of Care (ABC) methodology.

The data will be made available with the intent to help consumers to make informed decisions and to encourage physicians to improve performance, leading to more efficient and healthful outcomes.

CarePrecise will continue to monitor the project, and will begin including physician quality data in an upcoming product, The Definitive Physician Database™, as it currently does with its product The Definitive Hospital database™. CarePrecise is a leading supplier of healthcare provider data used in consumer-facing web and mobile applications, through special licensing arrangements.

March 7, 2016

Medicare Fraud Steals $60 Billion a Year

Six months after a provider performs a particular medical procedure, they can bill it again. And, exactly six months to the day, the provider photocopies the original claim, changes the date, and sends the scammed claim it off to Medicare.

$60 billion worth of fraud is roughly 10% of the total amount Medicare pays out every year on healthcare for 54 million people. According to a March 7 WIRED article, "Since 2007 more than 2,300 providers have been charged with fleecing Medicare, and more than 1800 defendants have been convicted of felony offences, ranging from claiming phantom services to performing unnecessary surgeries."
Among CarePrecise Clients are the Federal Bureau of Investigation and state anti-fraud law enforcement bodies. CarePrecise provides comprehensive data on healthcare providers.
How will ever stop these scams? There are just too many of them for CMS' dedicated investigators to keep up. But the government is getting help from hundreds of citizens: whistle-blower lawsuits allow any medical office staff or other insider to sue their employer and collect 15% to 30% of the settlement. The number of bounty hunters is growing; in 2014 there were 469 such settlements resulting in $2.2 billion in fines.

Professional whistle-blower lawyers can help skittish employees to rat correctly, but they may not have the investigative chops. Now one clever business has begun to turn medical office whistle-blowing into a growth industry. National Healthcare Analysis Group may do more to help recover this money than has been possible in the past by organizing the process and "packaging" it. Read more about it...

February 16, 2016

COMING: Standard Quality Measures

The Obama administration, acting in concert with the health insurance trade group America's Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), announced today an agreement to develop a standardized set of healthcare quality measures for physicians. In particular, the new quality measurement system will track care given by accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, primary care physicians, cardiologists, gastroenterologists, HIV and hepatitis C care providers, medical oncologists, orthopedists, obstetricians and gynecologists.

As physician's pay from insurance plans is more and more tied to quality outcomes - did the patient get well, or will there be additional claims down the road? - a system for measuring outcomes has become necessary. In recent years, government and private health plans have been working separately, and a confusing array of different measures for different companies has been growing. The CMS/AHIP agreement will seek to create a single standard system of measurement, relieving much of the burden caused by separate systems. In their news release, acting CMS administrator Andy Slavitt stated that "this agreement today will reduce unnecessary burdens for physicians and accelerate the country's movement to better quality." Representatives of the American Medical Association and the Americal Academy of Family Physicians praised the effort.