Patients With Online Access To Doctors May Make More Office Visits [11-23-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 11:28 am

Uncle Sam wants you to email your doctor. A federal law passed in 2009 says that physicians have to start offering their patients online communication, or Medicare will start docking how much it pays them in the future.  Some patients hope that having online access to their doctors will mean they can cut down on how often they have to go to the doctor’s office. But fresh research suggests that patients with online access actually schedule more office visits. (more…)

Paraplegics Get An Assist [11-16-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 10:42 am

A robotic suit that gives the wearer superhuman powers sounds like the stuff of science fiction. But technology like that is making the leap from fantasy to reality.  Though much of the gear is still experimental, the equipment is giving some paraplegics a chance to walk again.  Researchers at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., for instance, have developed a robotic exoskeleton that straps over paralyzed limbs. With crutches, paraplegics can stand, walk and even climb stairs.  “It’s really a lot like a legged-Segway,” says Michael Goldfarb, an engineer at Vanderbilt and head of the exoskeleton project. “You lean forward to walk forward, lean less forward and cause it to stop, lean back and cause it to sit.” (more…)

HHS Secretary Agrees to Settle Lawsuit Which Will Improve Medicare Coverage For Therapy Services [11-12-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 3:07 pm

In late October, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (“HHS”) released a proposed settlement in a class-action lawsuit concerning Medicare coverage for medical rehabilitation services. This settlement will likely have a significant beneficial impact on providers of rehabilitative care as well as their patients.  The proposed settlement of the case at issue, Jimmo et. al. v. Health and Human Services Secretary, is currently pending approval by Chief Judge Christina C. Reiss in the U.S. District Court in Vermont. The proposed settlement was negotiated by the lawyers from the Department of Justice and HHS, and was submitted to Judge Reiss last week. She is expected to approve the proposed settlement in the near future. (more…)

Home Health Care Proves Resilient In Face Of Sandy Destruction [11-07-12]

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

One lasting image of Superstorm Sandy will be very sick patients being evacuated from flooded hospitals. But less visible are thousands of patients who rely on visiting nurses and home health aides for care ranging from bathing and feeding to oxygen and ventilators.  Remarkably, home care providers say they know of no patients who lacked for needed care in the storm’s wake. Resourceful nurses, physical therapists, aides and other personnel somehow surmounted flood, impassable roads, downed trees and dwindling gasoline to get to their patients. (more…)

CMS Issues 2013 Physician Fee Schedule Final Rule [11-06-12]

Filed under: Industry Updates — Editor @ 1:49 pm

On November 1, 2013, CMS released a final rule with comment period for Medicare’s payments for physician fees for 2013. The final rule would increase Medicare payments to family physicians by approximately 7% and other practitioners providing primary care services between 3% and 5% for services furnished in 2013. (more…)

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