Not a day goes by on Twitter when the GOP noise machine doesn’t puke out something like this (these are all from yesterday morning): The biggest problem with passing the budget, of course, is that the GOP is using it to push forward their dangerous and radical right-wing social agenda (as even Newt Gingrich readily admitted, calling Ryan’s budget “right-wing social engineering”; see video above). The Republicans seem convinced this is a winning issue for them– ending Medicare and Medicaid. In fact, Boehner and Ryan are threatening to insert it into this year’s budget again. Boehner was on Fox News Sunday citing how Ryan and Democrat Ron Wyden have a “bipartisan” idea of how to push forward the Republican Party’s dangerous right-wing social agenda. At a GOP strategy session on Friday, Ryan told the Republican House Members, many of whom are scared to death that trying to destroy Medicare may not prove to be a good idea in an election year, “We’re not backing off on the kinds of reforms that we’ve advocated, but we have to write it… We’ve done more to normalize the idea of premium support than anything at all. We’re confident that these are the right policies. There’s an emerging bipartisan consensus that’s occurring on doing premium support reform to Medicare is the best way to save Medicare.” By bipartisan he means Wyden and a motley crew of reactionary and despised Blue Dogs. Rob Zerban, Ryan’s Democratic opponent, is far more in touch with what the American people are looking for than Ron Wyden and the mangy Blue Dogs. “Paul Ryan just announced he is taking a second swing at Medicare,” writes Zerban. “His ‘new’ plan is devastating to Medicare as we know it, but the big difference is that he found one Democrat to help him!” Here is what has been happening– Paul Ryan has introduced a new plan to start the privatization of Medicare. He convinced a “Democrat,” Ron Wyden, to join in this effort. Ron Wyden, like Paul Ryan, has raked in an alarming amount of lobbyist money from the health insurance industry. Make no mistake– this is no bipartisan effort! Almost all Democrats, including President Obama, are strongly opposed to this plan. Here is what the White House Communications Director had to say: [this scheme could] “cause the traditional Medicare program to “wither on the vine” because it would raise premiums, forcing many seniors to leave traditional Medicare and join private plans. It would shift costs from the government to seniors. At the end of the day, this plan would end Medicare as we know if for millions of seniors.” It is clear what this plan is designed to do. Both Paul Ryan and Wyden admit that it will likely not save anyone any money! The only upside is a big giveaway to private insurance companies at the expense of our seniors. This is sham bipartisanship and the voters of Wisconsin are not fooled! Ryan has to be stopped. Wall Street has every intention of making him president someday. The DCCC has studiously ignored him– if not protected him– for a decade. Rob Zerban is taking him on with zero help from “ex”-Blue Dog Steve Israel, the chair of the DCCC. Zerban just forced Ryan to switch his position and back away from supporting SOPA. He deserves our help, and you can give him some right here at the ActBlue Stop Paul Ryan page. (I should add that Ryan has probably taken more sleazy, corporate cash than any other Member of the House and currently has $4.6 million sitting in his campaign warchest, virtually all of it from corporate special interests.)
Video: Medicare and Medicaid: What’s it all mean?
Hospice: A Medicare and Medicaid Profit Center?
A new legal battle has begun to churn, as recently reported at Kaiser Health News. Yet another healthcare company is being accused of taking advantage of the elderly and their families to draw the greatest yield from Medicare and Medicaid coffers. Here a large company, operating across several states, is accused of actively recruiting and cycling patients through nursing home and hospice services.
Mass. dentist admits doing paper clip root canals
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Medicare and Medicaid Cuts Bring Financial Woes To… · Stories · Baltimore Fishbowl
Health care reform and cuts to Medicaid and Medicare have really hit — wait for it — doctors hard. Physicians are probably not the first people you think of struggling from cuts to social programs, but with a little imagination it’s not hard to see how their practices could be adversely affected. The major issue is that Medicare and Medicaid have been paying out less in reimbursements to physicians. A large percentage of physicians say they lose money treating patients on Medicare or Medicaid, and 40 percent plan to “drop out of patient care in [the] next one to three years in response to reform.” It’s already caused many doctors to either restrict the number of Medicare/Medicaid patients they accept or sell their practices. What does a less profitable medical profession mean for us here in Hopkinsville, I mean, Baltimore?
Spending Cuts Implied by Romney’s Proposals
What do such cuts mean to actual people? Well, cutting Social Security benefits by 17% by 2016 would reduce the average monthly benefit from $1,230 to $1,020 and push more than 2.6 million additional people into poverty. But Gov Romney has said he wants to protect current retirees and those 55 and up (like me!) from such cuts. Doing so would push that 17% to 24%, and put Medicaid and Medicare right in the crosshairs:
St. Joseph County COA’s Medicare & Medicaid Assistance Program saves seniors more than $82,000
Swartz said the COA’s three MMAP counselors spent most of their time during the October 15th through December 7th “open enrollment” period assisting with Medicare Prescription Drug Comparison and enrollment, Low Income Subsidy, Medicare Savings, and Advantage Plans comparison. One-on-one counseling was provided to 118 clients and – of that number – 60 benefited from savings totaling $82,124.97 a year. The savings came from “enrolling them in a plan that was cheaper than what they had for last year, enrolling them for the first time in a Medicare Prescription drug plan, enrolling clients in the Low Income Subsidy program through Social Security that would assist them with paying for their prescription drug premium and low co-payments for each of the prescriptions, or enrolling them in the Medicare Savings program that would assist them in paying for their Part B premium of $99.90 a month.”
Medicare: Demonstrating That Patients Should Be In Control
A program that did the former has already been tested in Medicaid, the government health insurance program for the poor. In the early part of the last decade, the states of Florida, Arkansas and New Jersey received permission from the federal government to set up “Cash and Counseling” programs for disabled people on Medicaid. Beneficiaries were given accounts to pay for workers who provide personal assistance and, in some instances, to purchase supplies, assistive devices or home modifications. They would have to meet with a counselor to set up a plan for how to spend the account.
Obama Administration Seeks to Lower $300 Billion Medicare/Medicaid Costs
Those initiatives, says HHS, are a demonstration program to test two new financial models to help states improve quality and share in the lower costs that result from better coordinating care for individuals enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid; another demonstration program to help states improve the quality of care for people in nursing homes by providing these individuals with the treatment they need without having to unnecessarily go to a hospital, and a technical resource center available to all states to help them improve care for high-need high-cost beneficiaries.
Easy to Use Patient Scheduling Software
A scheduling system should be flexible enough to enable scheduling of different types of appointments by patients. Another important feature that a good system should have is security. There are laws that protect patient information and so you should always strive to make sure that patient information is protected and no unauthorized person can gain access to it. The system should have a user login feature that gives access to various staff with different access levels. If the patient scheduling system is online, then data should be protected against hackers by a good security feature to make sure that no one gets into the programs sensitive data. A good scheduling system is supposed to have an automated calling system that can make calls to patients at specific dates to remind them of upcoming appointments.
Medicare and Medicaid Dodge a Bullet – For Now
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THE Consortium: January 3rd Marked the One Year Milestone for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs
January 3rd was the one year anniversary of the start of registration for the Medicare and Medicaid Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Programs. Over the past year, there has been a tremendous amount of interest in the incentive programs as providers across the country have implemented EHRs. Year one highlights include: 43 states have started their Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs Over 176,000 people have registered for the Medicare and/or Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs Over $2.5 billion has been paid in incentive payments to eligible professionals (EPs) and eligible hospitals and critical access hospitals (CAHs) across the country CMS has created useful resources to participants in the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. A few new resources include: An Introduction to the Medicare EHR Incentive Program for Eligible Professionals- this interactive guide walks EPs through every aspect of the Medicare program, and provides helpful resources and tips along the way. Updated User Guides- CMS has updated the registration and attestation user guides, which direct EPs and eligible hospitals through CMS’ registration and attestation system. There are five guides that all can be downloaded from the Educational Materials page of the CMS website. Provider Testimonial Videos- these videos, which can be found on the CMS YouTube channel, highlight providers’ experiences participating in the EHR Incentive Programs. A Look Ahead As we move into 2012 and the second participation year of the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs, CMS is hopeful that providers will begin or continue their participation in the programs, and take advantage of these incentives for meaningful use of EHRs. If you are considering registering for the programs, but have not done so yet, take a look at the CMS EHR website and use our eligibility tool to find out if you can participate. Remember: 2012 is the last year in which EPs can receive a full incentive payment in the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. Beginning in 2013, EPs will receive a smaller overall total payment.
Why Medicaid Matters to Medicare Beneficiaries and Their Families
 Kaiser Family Foundation, Medicaid Matters: Understanding Medicaid’s Role in Our Health Care System, March 2011, available at http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/8165.pdf (site visited Mar 25, 2011); Total Number of Medicare Beneficiaries 2010, available at http://www.statehealthfacts.org/comparemaptable.jsp?ind=290&cat=6 (Site visited Mar 25, 2011)  Kaiser Family Foundation, “The Medicaid Program At a Glance,” March 2007, available at http://www.kff.org/medicaid/upload/7235-02.pdf (site visited Mar 25, 2011) See, e.g., The Burden of Out-of-Pocket Costs on Medicare Beneficiaries, Feb. 24, 2011, at http://www.medicareadvocacy.org/2011/02/the-burden-of-out-of-pocket-costs-on-medicare-beneficiaries (Site visited Mar. 28, 2011)  Gretchen Jacobson, Tricia Neuman, Anthony Damico, Barbara Lyons, “The Role of Medicare for People Dually Eligible for Medicare and Medicaid,” Kaiser Family Foundation, Jan 2011, available at http://www.kff.org/medicare/upload/8138.pdf (Site visited Mar 25, 2011)  See note i.  The Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. 111-148 (Mar. 23, 2010) §§4103, 4104, eliminates cost-sharing for Medicare preventive services.  David Rousseau, Lisa Clemans-Cope, Emily Lawton, Jessica Langston, John Connolly and Jhamirah Howard, “Dual Eligibles: Medicaid Enrollment and Spending for Medicare Beneficiaries in 2007,” Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, December 2010  Genworth Financial, Executive Summary – Genworth 2010 Cost of Care Summary, April 2010, available at http://www.genworth.com/content/etc/medialib/genworth_v2/pdf/ltc_cost_of_care.Par.85518.File.dat/Executive%20Summary_gnw.pdf (Site visited Mar 25, 2011). The median daily rate for a semi-private nursing home room is $185, or $67,525/year in 2010, according to this report.  “Spending for non-Medicare-covered services was also high. Among users of services, median OOP spending was highest for LTC facility services. In fact, the majority of LTC facility users incurred high OOP costs. Median OOP spending for users of such facilities was $7,611, with 10 percent of users paying at least $41,937 OOP for room and board and health care-related services during 2006. It is likely that these residents were self-financing their nursing facility stay before eventually qualifying for Medicaid.” Nonnemaker, Lynn, and Shelly-Ann Sinclair. Insight on the Issues: Medicare Beneficiaries’ Out-of-Pocket Spending for Health Care, AARP Public Policy Institute. January 2011, pg 7, available at http://assets.aarp.org/rgcenter/ppi/health-care/i48-oop.pdf (Site visited Mar. 28, 2011). (Hereafter Nonnemaker, et al.)  See note 1.  See note 2; see also Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission (MACPAC), “Report to Congress on Medicaid and CHIP,” March 2011, Figure 1-3, p. 20.  The Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured, “Medicaid’s Optional Populations: Coverage and Benefits,” February 2005, available at http://www.kff.org/medicaid/loader.cfm?url=/commonspot/security/getfile.cfm&PageID=51052 (Site visited Mar 25, 2011)  Id.  Note, however, that the maintenance of effort requirement included in the Affordable Care Act protects individuals who maintain Medicaid eligibility under a Medicaid category currently offered in their state from losing their Medicaid coverage. See Affordable Care Act, Pub. L. 111-148 and 111 -152 (Mar. 23, 2010 and Mar. 30 2010) § 2001 (b) amending 42 U.S.C. § 1396(a) and adding § 1396(gg).  Nonnemaker, et al at note 10.
Neural Technologies Launches Real
Neural Technologies’ solutions empower organizations to minimize financial risk to their business, providing comprehensive risk management capability in the areas of fraud, bad debt, customer attrition, collections, revenue assurance and security. Neural Technologies has been ranked several times in the Sunday Times Tech Track 100 league table of the UK’s top technology companies. It was named Large Technology Supplier of the Year 2008 by the British Computer Society and was awarded an IT Excellence Award in 2011. Visit http://www.neuralt.com for more information.
iMedicor to provide CMS Certified Gateway for Secure and Private Exchange of Health Information over the Internet
“Our new association with iMedicor’s SocialHIE allows The SunCoast RHIO to build upon the iMedicor technology with our planned certification of the CMS esMD and HIH platform beginning in April 2012,” added Louis Galterio, CEO and Managing Director of SunCoast RHIO. “Being an HIH is a natural fit for us and allows the provider community a direct way to address reporting, security and compliance so that the revenue cycle is not slowed down by the introduction of new regs. In fact, our solution gives our participants new tools to enhance revenue. The iMedicor SocialHIE package is the perfect delivery method that wraps all the new standards and regulations into an easy-to-use format that we know the healthcare community will respond to in a very favorable manner.”
Bull Of The Day: UnitedHealth Group (UNH)
Though certain headwinds such as high unemployment, growing medical cost, pressure from Health Care overhaul, etc. remains, we believe the company will beat the odds given its diversified business model with leading market share positions in the Commercial, Medicare and Medicaid markets. A solid balance sheet and a highly conservative investment portfolio will further help it to outperform its peers. UNITEDHEALTH GP (UNH): Free Stock Analysis Report To read this article on Zacks.com click here.