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Half of large practices net bonuses from Medicare P4P demo

The Obama White House has indicated it will continue the move toward more pay-for-performance in Medicare, despite mixed results for physicians in the P4P demonstrations it inherited from the previous administration. On Aug. 17, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services disclosed findings from three ongoing programs -- including first-year results from a small-practice demonstration -- and announced the start of three new value-based purchasing demonstrations. Third-year results were revealed for the Physician Group Practice Demonstration, which is in its fifth year of operation and is slated to end March 31, 2010. Although CMS has extended the demonstration twice beyond its initial three-year limit, the agency said it does not anticipate extending the program again. All 10 of the large physician groups participating in the program achieved benchmark performances on at least 28 of 32 quality-of-care measures, which cover diabetes, congestive heart failure, coronary artery d ...

Warnings issued about bogus board certifications

The American Geriatrics Society is warning that an entity calling itself the American College of Geriatrics is selling a fraudulent board certification through the mail. The geriatric certification being offered is not recognized by the AGS or the American Board of Medical Specialties and its member specialty boards, the AGS said in a notice posted on its Web site ( The ABMS has approved a geriatric medicine certification offered jointly by the American Board of Internal Medicine and the American Board of Family Medicine, as well as certification in geriatric psychiatry offered by the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal began an investigation in his state last April after receiving a complaint from the internal medicine board about the sale of bogus certifications. Blumenthal warned physicians and others that Keith Alan Lasko, who lived in Las ...

Federal government eyes EHR certification change

The Health IT Policy Committee on Aug. 14 approved recommendations to the federal government on establishing a new process for certifying electronic health records. To be eligible for Medicare and Medicaid incentive payments under the federal stimulus bill, physicians and hospitals must be able to demonstrate "meaningful use" of certified EHR technology. Federal certification means that a system is able to achieve the minimum government requirements for security, privacy and interoperability, and that the system is able to qualify the user for bonuses under meaningful use standards. Currently, the Certification Commission for Health Information Technology is the only certifying body recognized by the federal government. But a policy committee work group noted that "considerable confusion" exists about the certification process used by CCHIT, so the panel recommends expanding the number of approved certifying bodies. CCHIT also has been criticized because it both sets criteria and ...