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HIT Observer has moved to a self-hosted WordPress solution available at www.hitobserver.com.  Please visit us there as we move into 2011.

Happy New Year!

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New York and Massachusetts to See Changes to Psychiatric CPT Coding

From Psychiatry Online:

“Psychiatrists along with staff in APA’s Office of Healthcare Systems and Financing (OHSF) said that the move marks an important change recognizing that psychiatrists today offer services that are more varied and complex than those reflected in the psychotherapy with E/M codes (the 908 codes)—the only E/M codes that most insurers reimburse psychiatrists for using.”

Practice Fusion Shares Thoughts on ICD-10

Thoughts on ICD-10 from Robert Rowley, MD:

“Changing the fundamental method of encoding diagnoses to a whole new system will have a profound impact. The rationale for making such a change (given the disruption that will occur) is that the ICD-10 code set is more detailed and extensible, allowing for more than 155,000 different codes, and permits the tracking of many new diagnoses and procedures (a significant expansion on the 17,000 codes available in ICD-9). Developed by the WHO and released in 1992, the ICD-10 system was adopted relatively swiftly in most of the world.”

Excellent Overview of Challenges and Opportunities Facing HIT

Megan McArdle of The Atlantic is Paging Dr. Luddite.

“When you interview experts on health-care IT, they inevitably agree on its backward state. Health care now accounts for roughly one-sixth of GDP, yet its IT infrastructure is barely in the 20th century, much less the 21st. Although most hospitals now have electronic medical-record systems, many physicians still do not, and those that do have not necessarily succeeded in integrating their systems with those of other providers—or their own workflow. Physicians will often jot down notes to be entered into the computer later, rather than altering their patient interactions so that they can talk and type at the same time. This behavior not only extends the workday, but also limits how useful the tools are. Though these systems could theoretically harness computing power to enhance diagnosis and patient discussion, many doctors use them as a poor substitute for a pen and paper.”

Drug Industry Settlements In 2010 Largest Ever Under False Claims Act

From NPR’s Carrie Johnson:

“Justice Department officials say the 2010 health care recovery is the largest in history, and the total recovery is the second largest, up from some $2.4 billion last year. Altogether, they’ve taken in $5.4  billion since January 2009 under the Act.

Congress recently strengthened the law and expanded the ability of whistleblowers to recover money if they alert the Securities and Exchange Commission to financial fraud.”