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Sunday, Feb 14, 2016
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  • 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: November 23, 2015
SMA Informatics Partners, LLC BBB Business Review
News Item - 02/10/2016
Why Americans Have Shorter Lifespans Than People in Similar Nations
Study finds shootings, crashes and drug overdoses contribute to a 2-year gap in life expectancy

Car crashes, shootings and drug overdoses, which cause more than 100,000 deaths a year in the United States, may explain why Americans' life expectancy is lower than in similar countries, a new study suggests.

Americans' life expectancy is about two years shorter than residents of Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. For U.S. men, that difference translates into 76.4 years versus 78.6 years, while it means 81.2 years versus 83.4 years for women, the researchers reported.

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News Item - 02/09/2016
Why People Visit the Emergency Room
These are the top 250 products that people injure themselves on or with in a year.

When you think about what it's like to work in a hospital's emergency room, what comes to mind? For me, I used to imagine something that resembles ER, the medical drama series from the late 1990s full of actual emergencies. However, being married to an ER doctor, I've learned that the workplace is much more routine (for most hospitals, at least).

While there are certainly life-or-death situations that I can only imagine as high-stress for everyone involved, the bulk of patients injure themselves in minor ways while doing everyday things. You can see this in injury data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

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News Item - 02/04/2016
UnitedHealth sues feds over Medicare Advantage overpayment rule
Insurer and its affiliates say CMS penalizes plans that conduct most through coding reviews

UnitedHealthcare and 40 other affiliated companies have sued the federal government in an attempt to change what they argue are unfair regulations governing Medicare Advantage overpayments.

To ensure health plans are appropriately compensated for covering Medicare beneficiaries, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is supposed to conduct a "true apples-to-apples comparison" of the health status of traditional fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries with those in MA plans, according to the suit, UnitedHealthcare Ins. Co. v. Burwell.

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News Item - 02/03/2016
How the Super Bowl could be bad for your health
If your home team is playing in the Super Bowl (looking at you, Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers fans), the parties you attend could give you more than just heartburn, a hangover or temporary psychological discomfort.

They could give you the flu.

According to a new study published in the American Journal of Health Economics, the death rate from the flu is appreciably higher among those whose home team makes it to the Super Bowl.

This seemingly puzzling finding actually makes some sense. The Super Bowl occurs during the heart of flu season and is the reason many mingle at Super Bowl parties. And fans with their team in the big game are probably more likely to attend one.

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News Item - 02/03/2016
U.S. metro areas must look beyond job growth to measure economic progress
Jobs, jobs, jobs.

That’s what many states and metro areas desperately needed in the aftermath of the Great Recession. So our program launched the Metro Monitor in 2009 to track jobs, housing prices, and other indicators of post-recession recovery in the nation’s 100 largest metro areas.

Today the U.S. economy has more jobs than before the recession, as do most metro economies. Yet many workers and households are not better off.

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News Item - 02/01/2016
CMS Reveals Methodology for its Hospital Compare Website
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has revealed the methodology it uses to calculate and display star ratings for its Hospital Compare website.

The overarching goal of the Overall Hospital Star Ratings is to improve the usability and interpretability of information posted on Hospital Compare, a website designed for consumers to use in order to make healthcare decisions. Late last year, CMS announced that that it had updated its quality performance data on its Physician Compare and Hospital Compare websites.

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News Item - 01/31/2016
New Proposal to Give Providers and Employers Access to Information to Drive Quality and Patient Care Improvement
MACRA provides expanded opportunity for the use of Medicare and private sector claims data to drive higher quality, lower cost care

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) today proposed rules that will expand access to analyses and data that will help providers, employers, and others make more informed decisions about care delivery. The new rules, as required by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), will allow organizations approved as qualified entities to confidentially share or sell analyses of Medicare and private sector claims data to providers, employers, and other groups who can use the data to support improved care. In addition, qualified entities will be allowed to provide or sell claims data to providers. The rule also includes strict privacy and security requirements for all entities receiving Medicare analyses or data, as well as new annual reporting requirements.

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News Item - 01/29/2016
Substance Abuse, Suicide Only Partly to Blame for Middle-Aged Whites’ Higher-Than-Expected Mortality
Recent research has called attention to an unexpected rise in death rates among middle-aged, white Americans between 1999 and 2014. The full extent of the phenomenon may be underappreciated, however. If one assumes, based on historical trends, that mortality rates should have declined by 1.8 percent per year, then whites in 2014 had higher-than-expected mortality rates from age 19 to age 65. Furthermore, while increased substance abuse and suicides explain the elevated mortality rates for younger adults, middle-aged whites also seem to be experiencing stalled or rising mortality rates for most ailments and diseases. While a national phenomenon, middle-aged whites face much more adverse mortality trends in certain states and regions. The especially broad reach of these negative mortality trends suggests there is an urgent need for further investigation of its causes and potential remedies.

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News Item - 01/28/2016
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released a proposed rule to update the methodology used to measure the performance of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (Shared Savings Program).
The proposal builds on the momentum of growth in the Shared Savings Program and charts a path for long-term sustainability by improving the long-term incentives for ACOs as they continue to provide efficient, high quality health care to Medicare beneficiaries.

Under the proposed rule, CMS would modify the process for resetting the benchmarks, which are used to determine ACO performance for ACOs renewing their participation agreements for a second or subsequent agreement period. The proposed methodology would incorporate factors based on regional fee-for-service expenditures, into establishing and updating the ACO’s rebased historical benchmark, including an adjustment to the benchmark based on regional spending that is phased-in over several agreement periods.

Key proposals include:

  • Recognizing that health cost trends vary in communities across the country by using regional, rather than national, spending growth trends when establishing and updating an ACO’s rebased benchmark.

  • Adjusting an ACO’s rebased benchmark when it enters a second or subsequent agreement period by a percentage (increased over time) of the difference between fee-for-service

  • Spending in the ACO’s regional service area and the ACO’s historical spending, which will provide a greater incentive for continued ACO participation and improvement.

  • Giving ACOs time to prepare for benchmarks that incorporate regional expenditures by using a phased-in approach to implementation.

Other changes would include:
  • Adding a participation option to facilitate an ACO’s transition to performance-based risk arrangements by allowing eligible ACOs to elect a fourth year under their existing first agreement and defer by one year entering a second agreement period under a performance-based risk track.

  • Streamlining the methodology for adjusting an ACO’s benchmark when its composition changes.

  • Clarifying the timeline and other criteria for reopening determinations of ACO shared savings and shared losses for good cause or fraud or similar fault.

The proposed rule will be open to a 60-day comment period.  The proposed rule is available for viewing at: Comments may be submitted by March 28, 2016 at:
News Item - 01/27/2016
The next level of on-demand expert medical care is here
The University of Southern California (USC) Center for Body Computing (CBC), the digital health innovation accelerator for the Keck Medicine of USC medical enterprise, today announced its eight foundational partners for its Virtual Care Clinic (VCC). The disruptive digital health care model does not require patient or care providers to be present in the same place for seamless, integrated solutions designed to provide on-demand access to care. The VCC extends Keck Medicine of USC experts to anyone with a smartphone by harnessing cutting-edge technologies and creative solutions developed at the renown USC Institute of Creative Technologies (ICT) in Playa Vista, the heart of Los Angeles' digital zone known as Silicon Beach.

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NHA White Paper - 12/08/2015
CMS receives 380+ submissions and commentary about Joint Replacement Program Proposed Regulations.
CMS has issued the final Joint Replacement program regulations, which are complex.

SMA White Paper - 80/31/2015
New Health Analytics, a national  healthcare software developer and data analytics firm, is pleased to announce that it has released a special report with an concise  review of the FY 2016 Hospital Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) Final Rule recently posted by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

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SMA White Paper - 80/31/2015
Contents extracted from Health Affairs publication August 2015.
Health spending growth in the United States is projected to average 5.8
percent for 2014-2024.

This paper provides an overview to National Health Expenditures which can be
used as reference data.

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ACO Chart via PulsePilot
Interactive ACO Chart via PulsePilot
News Item - 01/26/2015
HHS seeks to have 85 percent of Medicare fee-for-service payments in value-based purchasing categories 2 through 4 by 2016 and 90 percent by 2018
Improving the quality and affordability of care for all Americans has always been a pillar of the Affordable Care Act, alongside expanding access to such care. The law gives us the opportunity to shape the way health care is delivered to patients and to improve the quality of care system-wide while helping to reduce the growth of health care costs.

When it comes to improving the way providers are paid, we want to reward value and care coordination – rather than volume and care duplication.  In partnership with the private sector, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is testing and expanding new health care payment models that can improve health care quality and reduce its cost.

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