Contact us



Choose your currency

Choose your preferred language

News and Promotions

National health information network soon will stand on its own

A once-conceptual “network of networks” that evolved into the Nationwide Health Information Network Exchange is leaving the direct oversight of the Health and Human Services’ Office of the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology to stand as its own nonprofit organization. The ONC is making the newly coined “NwHIN Exchange” into an independent, nonprofit, public-private partnership that includes the Dept. of Defense, the Social Security Administration, the Dept. of Veterans Affairs, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and a host of non-federal hospitals and health care organizations, as well as local health information exchanges. Details of the new business model are being worked out, including a sustainability plan. The network is expected to continue evolving as new technologies are introduced and new partners come aboard. The planning process and transfer of power are expected to be complete by the fall. Physicians who use a health information e ...

HHS says insurance rate reviews are working

The Dept. of Health and Human Services says its authorization under the health system reform law to review double-digit premium increases by insurers has led to fewer such rate hikes being proposed in the first place. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced March 22 that the department had undertaken 186 reviews of health plans that had proposed raising premiums on subscribers by 10% or more. After the reviews, HHS determined that two insurers had proposed unreasonable rate hikes as high as 24% on enrollees in nine states — Arizona, Idaho, Louisiana, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The two insurers named in the reviews were John Alden Life Insurance Co. and Time Insurance Co., both Assurant Health plans that are based in Milwaukee. “Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, consumers are no longer in the dark about their health insurance premiums,” Sebelius said. “Now insurance companies are required to justify rate increases of 10% or higher. It ...

Congress told more prescription drug monitoring programs are needed

More monitoring programs are needed to counter the abuse of prescription drugs in Medicaid and Medicare programs, physicians told lawmakers during a March 22 Senate hearing. An epidemic of prescription drug use for non-medical purposes has hurt families and communities across the country, said Sen. Jay Rockefeller (D, W.Va.), chair of the Senate Finance health subcommittee. He called for the hearing after concerns about abuse of medications in his home state. Problems such as misunderstanding the strength of addictive painkillers also can lead to unintentional misuse by elderly patients and tragic overdoses. “Patients need better education so they are sure how to use powerful prescription drugs correctly,” Rockefeller said. Taking multiple prescriptions is not uncommon for seniors, said internist and geriatrician Timothy C. Schwab, MD. He’s the chief medical officer of SCAN Health Plan, a private Medicare plan in Long Beach, Calif. Different medications, prescribed by di ...