Some third-party payers have reimbursed the American Medical Association's Current Procedural Terminology code 99072 for additional supplies, materials and clinical staff time during a public health emergency. However, other payers have not reimbursed, and the CMS added a "B" to the code, indicating that it is bundled with other services provided in the visit. Coding expert Terry Fletcher advises removing CPT 99072 from the chargemaster for Medicare payments and determining third-party payer policies and limits before submitting claims.
NTreatment, which manages patient records, left 109,000 unencrypted records on a Microsoft Azure cloud server that was not password protected, including lab test results, insurance claims, patient records and physician notes. NTreatment co-founder Gregory Katz said the company, which used the server for "general purpose storage," will notify affected health care providers and regulators of the lapse.
Suspected North Korea-backed hackers posing as recruiters on networking sites have reportedly approached AstraZeneca staff with fake job offers and sent them fabricated job descriptions containing malicious code designed to gain access to their computers. The attempted attacks targeted people working on COVID-19 research, among others, and are not believed to have been successful.
The HHS Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT along with Health Level 7, the National Council for Prescription Drug Programs and other standards development groups are launching a project in 2021 to develop an industrywide specification for patient addresses. The initiative, Project US@, will establish standards to normalize address fields and formats, and the ONC and HL7 are inviting interested parties to participate, writes Steven Posnack, deputy national coordinator for health IT.
American workers age 55 and older have more job security than younger workers but face new challenges when job hunting during the pandemic. Employers may appreciate the soft skills of older workers, but may fear they lack knowledge of new technology.
There are three financial factors that should go into determining what the ideal retirement age is, writes Ryan Downie. They are anticipated cash needs, the amount of money saved, and any guaranteed income sources, such as a pension, Downie writes.
A class action lawsuit has been filed against the SAG-AFTRA Health Fund by older actors after the organization's board of trustees announced it was cutting the health plan for about 10% of its participants. The lawsuit, led by actor Ed Asner, notes that many of the older actors gave up their rights to television film residuals for productions made prior to 1960 to fund the plan, and blame the cut on decisions made by the board.
Low interest rates and early retirees have placed further strain on the Social Security system during the pandemic and the trust fund could run out by the end of the 2020s, according to a report by the Bipartisan Policy Center. The Congressional Budget Office has also issued a dire prediction for the fund, saying beneficiaries may see their payments cut 20% by 2031.
EHRs -- as well as policies and legislation for their use --were rolled out before their impacts on usability and patient care were assessed, and the same trend could undermine the promise of telemedicine, artificial intelligence and the next generation of EHRs, writes Daniel Marchalik from MedStar Health. Marchalik writes that following Ted Melnick's six tenets of health IT design can help ensure success along with a seventh: identify problems before proposing solutions.
A scientist who corrects COVID-19 misinformation on TikTok under the user name Dr. Noc has seen an increase in jokes and questions on the platform reflecting fears about vaccine safety and side effects, but his posts are not the ones getting the most attention, he says. Some clinical trial participants have also tried to correct misinformation and allay fears on social media, but some people are "a little too far gone to convince," says Ashley Locke, who participated in a clinical trial of AstraZeneca's vaccine.
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