Archive for February, 2012

AMA Lobbies Sebelius to Stop ICD-10

07 Feb

The American Medical Association is doing what it can to halt implementation of the ICD-10 code sets. They are doing so by sending a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.

Signed by AMA executive vice president and CEO James Madara, M.D., the letter also asks Sebelius to reexamine penalty timelines associated with multiple Medicare health IT initiatives that are underway.

“The timing of the ICD-10 transition that is scheduled for October 1, 2013, could not be worse as many physicians are currently spending significant time and resources implementing electronic health records into their practices,” says Madara.

Madara points out that adoption of the ICD-10 codes is an unfunded mandate that will cost medical practices between $83,000 to $2.7 million to implement (depending on their size). He also invoked President Obama’s executive order that calls for federal agencies to reassess and streamline regulations.

“This is a perfect opportunity for HHS to make good on its commitment to improve the regulatory climate for physicians,” says Madara.

Madara noted that physician investments in government-sponsored EHR meaningful use, electronic prescribing and quality reporting programs coincide with falling Medicare payment rates and tough penalty programs for failing to comply.

“Physicians are being required to meet separate requirements under these three overlapping health IT programs and have been and will be unfairly penalized if they decide to participate in one program over the other.”

Madara had just issued a similar appeal to House Speaker John Boehner.


ASA President Gives Anesthesiology Forecast for 2012

02 Feb

We’re already a month into 2012, but it’s not too late to take a look at what the year has in store for the world of anesthesiology. Dr. Jerry A. Cohen, President of the American Society of Anesthesiologists, recently wrote an article about what he thinks 2012 will bring, entitled “A 2012 forecast for anesthesiology.” In reality, it’s more of a longview forecast. Regardless, here are some of the highlights:

– Drug shortages will continue to pose a serious challenge for anesthesiologists. Here’s the scary truth: According to an ASA survey from last year, more than 90 percent of physicians say they experienced at least one anesthetic drug shortage. The University of Utah Drug Information Service also reported a record 267 drug shortages. What’s worse is this shortage problem is only expected get worse this year.

“It is essential that all parties, including manufacturers, distributors, pharmacists and others, come together to solve this problem to reduce the negative impact shortages have on patients,” says Dr. Cohen. “ASA will continue its support for legislative and executive efforts aimed at stifling the drug shortages pandemic.”

– As the population continues to grow and the elderly numbers also continue to rise, physician demand will be on the rise. This includes an increase in the number of patients who will who undergo surgical procedures, putting particular demand on anesthesiologists.

– The growing demand for anesthesiologists coincides with a shortage of anesthesiologists. According to a 2010 study by the RAND Corporation, there was a shortage of 3,800 anesthesiologists and 1,282 nurse anesthetists. If these trends continue, a dramatic shortage of anesthesiologists is projected by 2020.