Mind-Controlled Robot Arm in Pitt/UPMC Study [01-04-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 2:45 pm

JanSmilesAtBarReaching out to high five someone, grasping and moving objects of different shapes and sizes, feeding herself dark chocolate. For Jan Scheuermann and a team of researchers from the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine and UPMC, accomplishing these seemingly ordinary tasks demonstrated for the first time that a person with longstanding quadriplegia can maneuver a mind-controlled, human-like robot arm in seven dimensions (7D) to consistently perform many of the natural and complex motions of everyday life.  In a study published in the online version of The Lancet, the researchers described the brain-computer interface (BCI) technology and training programs that allowed Ms. Scheuermann, 53, of Whitehall, Pa., to intentionally move an arm, turn and bend a wrist, and close a hand for the first time in eight years. (more…)

Pete Stark Leaves a Long Healthcare Legacy [01-04-13]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 2:16 pm

pete-starkThe 113th Congress will be the first one in 40 years to convene without California Rep. Pete Stark as a member.  Stark was defeated in November by a fellow Democrat under new California voting rules. Stark may not be a household name, but he leaves a long-lasting mark on the nation’s health care system.  So just how influential has Pete Stark been on health policy in his four decades on Capitol Hill? “Very”, says John Rother, head of the National Coalition on Health Care.  Stark has “been part of almost every piece of health legislation that’s been enacted, including the Affordable Care Act,” Rother says. “And many of the changes and improvements in Medicare trace to him as well.” (more…)

President Obama Signs the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012 [01-03-13]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 2:23 pm

–New Law Includes Physician Update Fix through December 2013–

On Wednesday, January 2, 2013, President Obama signed into law the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. This new law prevents a scheduled payment cut for physicians and other practitioners who treat Medicare patients from taking effect on January 1, 2013. The new law provides for a zero percent update for such services through December 31, 2013. This provision guarantees seniors have continued access to their doctors by fixing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) through the end of 2013. President Obama remains committed to a permanent solution to eliminating the SGR reductions that result from the existing statutory methodology. The Administration will continue to work with Congress to achieve this goal. (more…)

CMS Publishes 2013 Home Health Prospective Payment System Final Rule [12-13-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 3:37 pm

On November 8, 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (“CMS”) published the Home Health Prospective Payment System Final Rule for Calendar Year (“CY”) 2013 (“Final Rule”) in the Federal Register. This article will some of the most notable components of the Final Rule including key takeaways and clarifications. Specifically, we review: (1) the home health prospective payment system (“HH PPS”) update; (2) the Home Health Quality Reporting Program (“HH QRP”); (3) the home health face-to-face encounter requirement; (4) therapy assessments; and (5) HHA surveys and enforcement requirements. (more…)

OIG Announces Record Setting Financial Recoveries Related to FY 2012 Enforcement Activities [11-30-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 1:56 pm

On November 27, 2012, the Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) Office of Inspector General (“OIG”) released its Fiscal Year (“FY”) 2012 Semiannual Report to Congress (“Report”) for the second half of FY 2012. The Report describes some of the OIG’s major achievements related to the OIG’s enforcement, audit, evaluation and compliance work during the second half of FY 2012, as well as provides a summary of the results of the OIG activities throughout FY 2012. This article summarizes some of the key highlights from the Report. For a copy of the complete Report, click here. (more…)

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