Recently released CMS data show that the rate of improper Medicare payments dropped from 11% in 2016 to 9.5% this year, representing a $4.9 billion decline and the lowest rate since 2013. The agency attributed the decline to a multipart approach, including a focus on the highest-risk providers through the creation of a more targeted claims auditing process, as well as increased education efforts to ensure proper filing of claims.
North Korean hackers are using two types of malicious software to hack US firms, according to joint alerts issued by the FBI and the Department of Homeland Security. The federal agencies said North Korea is using FALLCHILL and Volgmer malware to hack US industries in aviation, finance, media and telecommunications.
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Seventy-five percent of health care organizations reported offering or planning to provide telemedicine options in 2017, 53% of which intend to expand such services, despite 87% of those surveyed in 2014 saying they were not expecting the majority of their patients to be using telemedicine by 2017, according to a Foley & Lardner poll. The survey also showed that 22% provided international telemedicine, and 32% expressed interest in exploring global expansion.
Survey data from about 120 health system executives found 97% use EHR and population health management systems to report in the CMS Quality Payment Program, but 39% had a low level of satisfaction with their system, according to a report from SA Ignite. Most respondents wanted to maximize payment incentives, but 72% said their EHR does not have a Merit-based Incentive Payment System solution.
The NextSeq 550Dx, a next-generation sequencer that comes with a diagnostic mode and a research mode, was launched by Illumina. The company also announced the inclusion of formalin-fixed paraffin-embedded tissues for the intended use of its existing MiSeq Dx platform.
Playing a virtual reality game was as effective as participating in more physical therapy sessions in helping stroke patients recover motor function, researchers reported in Neurology. Study author Iris Brunner said VR games could be used as a supplement to -- not as a replacement for -- physical therapy and other stroke care.
Wearable biometric monitors that combine heart rate sensors with machine learning algorithms can detect hypertension and sleep apnea in the wearer, according to research from the University of California at San Francisco and startup Cardiogram.
HHS should ensure the cybersecurity of medical devices by requiring manufacturers to provide a list of third-party software components in each device, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., wrote in a letter to HHS on behalf of the committee. The letter also called for a plan for coordinating stakeholders to create a framework for this proposed requirement and said it should be developed by Dec. 15.
The Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions is scheduled to hold a hearing on Nov. 29 to discuss President Donald Trump's nomination of former Eli Lilly and Co. executive Alex Azar for HHS secretary. Azar, who previously served as HHS general counsel and then deputy secretary during President George W. Bush's administration, will likely face questions about his time as a pharmaceutical executive and his plans for the Affordable Care Act.
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The latest figures from the CMS show that almost 1.5 million shoppers selected Affordable Care Act plans in the first two weeks of enrollment this year, nearly 500,000 higher than in the same period last year. Among this year's enrollees are 345,719 who are new to the exchange, compared with 246,433 a year ago.
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