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Sunday, Dec 21, 2014
  • Contact Information
  • We are located in the BioTech One building of the VA Bio•Technology Research Park.

    SMA Informatics
    800 E. Leigh Street
    Suite 206-14 Building One
    Richmond, VA 23219

    Phone: (804) 344-8111
    FAX: (804) 344-8113

    Contact Form: Web Contact Form
Last Modified: March 25, 2014
News Item - 12/19/2014
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) published “Comparing the Costs of the Veterans' Health Care System with Private-Sector Costs,” on Dec. 11, 2014.
In this report, CBO describes some of the features that distinguish the health care system run by VHA from health care provided in the private sector. It also examines the available evidence about the relative costs of VHA and private-sector care and explores possible reasons why costs might differ in the two settings and why they can be difficult to compare. Finally, CBO briefly considers some factors that could influence the cost-effectiveness of alternative means of expanding health care services to veterans in the future.

Read the report.
News Item - 12/17/2014
Study: Admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions declining
Hospital admissions for conditions that might be avoided with better outpatient care declined 14% for adults between 2005 and 2011, according to a new report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. The report uses AHRQ’s Prevention Quality Indicators to estimate the change in potentially preventable hospitalizations over the period, which decreased by 20.2% for acute conditions and 9.5% for chronic conditions. Remote rural areas, which tend to have less access to health care, continued to have a much higher rate of preventable hospitalizations than small metropolitan areas. “Highlighting geographic variation may serve to narrow disparities in health outcomes and identify strategies for reducing hospitalizations by providing adequate and appropriately targeted resources,” the authors said. The AHA last month released a toolkit to help hospitals and health systems reduce preventable inpatient admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions.
News Item - 12/17/2014
257,000 EPs to receive EHR penalties
According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, starting in January, nearly 257,000 eligible professionals will receive penalties for failure to demonstrate meaningful use of electronic health records under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program in a prior year. The penalties will be assessed on the EPs’ Medicare Physician Fee Schedule payments. CMS is sending out penalty notices to affected EPs containing information on how to file for a reconsideration. The instructions are also available on the CMS website. “These wide-spread physician penalties reflect the many challenges providers face with the meaningful use program,” said Chantal Worzala, AHA director of policy for health information technology. “Hospitals cannot be successful without their physician partners. It is time for CMS to address providers’ concerns about the program.”
News Item - 12/16/2014
S&P Releases New Criteria for Not-For-Profit Hospitals
On Dec. 15, Standard & Poor's released its revised methodology and assumptions for rating standalone, not-for-profit hospitals. While the information is highly detailed and represents an effort to increase transparency, it remains unclear as to how exactly how each hospital will be affected.

A year ago, S&P announced it was seeking comments on proposed changes intended to bring increased transparency to the rating process (see S&P Readying for Massive Overhaul of Hospital Ratings).

At the time, we recommended that hospitals concerned about how the changes would impact their rating, turn to their rating analyst.

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News Item - 12/16/2014
HHS awards more than $665 million to design and test state-led efforts to improve health care quality, accessibility and affordability
Twenty eight states, three territories and the District of Columbia will receive over $665 million in Affordable Care Act funding to design and test health care payment and service delivery models that will improve health care quality and lower costs, Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell announced today.  Together with awards released in early 2013, over half of states (34 states and 3 territories and the District of Columbia), representing nearly two-thirds of the population are participating in efforts to support comprehensive state-based innovation in health system transformation aimed at finding new and innovative ways to improve quality and lower costs.

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News Item - 06/02/2014
CMS Releases Medicare Hospital Payment Data, New Online Tools
On June 2, CMS released Medicare hospital pricing data for 2012 in an effort to increase transparency, lower costs and improve the quality of care, The Hill reports (Al-Faruque, The Hill, 6/2).

About the Data

The information, which was revealed at the annual Health Datapalooza conference in Washington, D.C.,  is the agency's first annual update to Medicare hospital charge, which compare the average amount a hospital charges for services provided with a similar inpatient stay or outpatient visit (HHS release, 6/2).

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News Item - 04/04/2014
CMS releases PQRS, eRx progress report
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has released a new report on two of its pay-for-reporting incentive programs for eligible professionals (EPs): the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS) and electronic prescribing (eRx).

The 90 page report on 2012 participation results and trends in the programs demonstrates "exciting progress," according to CMS officials.

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News Item - 01/21/2014
MedPAC Recommends No ASC Pay Increase for 2015; 3.25-5.25% Increase for HOPDs
On Friday, the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission approved a final recommendation for Medicare pay rates in 2015, recommending that ambulatory surgery centers get 0 percent pay raise, according to an AHA News report.

At the same time, MedPAC recommended increasing hospital inpatient and outpatient prospective payment systems by 3.25 percent in the absence of sequestration cuts and 5.25 percent if spending cuts continue. The sequestration that begun last April enacted automatic 2 percent Medicare payment cuts for the next 10 years.

However, MedPAC did suggest reducing or eliminating pay differences between hospital outpatient departments and physician offices for some procedures, as currently hospital outpatient departments are paid significantly more.

News Item - 11/08/2013
NHA is one of the 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies
Companies today recognize that they have opportunities to use data and analytics to raise productivity, improve decision-making, and gain competitive advantage. CIOs understand that analytics will define the difference between the losers and winners going forward. As the market evolves a vast array of data analytics technology and solution vendors are positioning themselves for leadership. A large number of venture-backed startups are battling against established BI and enterprise software providers.

While there are plenty to choose from, organizations that succeed with Big Data analytics will be those that understand the possibilities, see through the vendor hype and choose the right deployment model. In the last few months, we have looked at hundreds of data analytics companies and shortlisted the ones that are at the forefront of tackling the real analytics challenges. We present to you CIOReview's 20 Most Promising Data Analytics Companies. A distinguished panel comprising of CEOs, CIOs, VCs, industry analysts and the editorial board of CIOReview selected the Final 20.

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