Medicare "doc fix" bill passes Congress | SPECT system shows promise in detecting CAD in obese patients | Cardiology initiative to improve chest pain treatment decisions
April 15, 2015
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Medicare "doc fix" bill passes Congress
Congress approved a bill Tuesday that would prevent a 21% cut in payments to Medicare physicians. The 92-8 vote in the Senate came hours before the cut was supposed to be implemented. The bill, which is expected to be signed by President Barack Obama, also extends the Children's Health Insurance Program for two years. Reuters (4/14), USA Today (4/14), CNN (4/14)
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SPECT system shows promise in detecting CAD in obese patients
High-efficiency cadmium-zinc-telluride SPECT shows promise for pinpointing coronary artery disease in patients who are morbidly obese, a condition that can complicate detection, according to a study in the Journal of Nuclear Cardiology. The study team said the quality of images produced by the system was high, with no nondiagnostic stress SPECT studies. They said image accuracy, normalcy and specificity were highest when participants' supine and upright images were combined. (4/10)
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Making the Most of Meaningful Use: Why Choosing the Right EHR Matters
Healthcare professionals understand how EHRs can increase patient engagement and the quality of care. What's not clear is how to choose the right EHR vendor or how to transition to a new EHR smoothly and within government guidelines. This guide provides an overview of Meaningful Use, highlights the requirements for 2015, and provides tips for selecting the right EHR to avoid penalties and position your practice for continued success in the future. Read now.

Medical Focus
Tufts cardiologist disputes use of 30-day readmissions as quality measure
Quality measures are not created equal and some are not well-backed by evidence, Tufts Medical Center Physician-in-Chief Dr. Deeb Salem writes in a perspective piece in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. Salem says there is little evidence to show the 30-day readmissions measure has an impact on overall survival and questions its use as a quality measure tied to financial incentives. HealthLeaders Media (4/9)
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Study: Blood thinners frequently prescribed to A-Fib patients who may not need them
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine found that about 25% of patients with atrial fibrillation at low risk of stroke receive prescriptions for blood-thinning drugs. Such treatment is not recommended for low-risk patients because blood thinners also carry a risk of excessive bleeding. Researchers, who looked at almost 11,000 atrial fibrillation patients below the age of 60, also found that men, older patients and overweight patients lacking risk factors for stroke were more likely to be prescribed blood thinners. HealthDay News (4/14)
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Weight concerns impede smoking cessation among U.S. women
The belief that smoking helps control weight makes women less likely to attempt to quit smoking, compared with female smokers who believe otherwise, according to a study in the journal Tobacco Control. Researchers found that an increase in cigarette prices and exposure to anti-smoking messages were associated with an increase in attempts to quit smoking, but not among women who think smoking helps control weight. HealthDay News (4/13)
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FEATURED ARTICLE: Understanding the Power of the Pareto Principle
Here's how the Pareto Principle, also known as the 80-20 rule, can show you which customers you should spend the most time with. Read the article to learn more.

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Experts: Pact with Iran could advance science and boost isotope supply
Six countries including the U.S. have secured a preliminary deal with Iran that would convert the Fordow nuclear-enrichment facility into an international physics hub, something that experts say could advance science within the country and beyond its borders. The proposed agreement would convert some uranium-enrichment centrifuges at Fordow for generation of isotopes used for medical purposes, such as molybdenum-99, and scientists say international research collaborations could blossom under the agreement. Nature (free content) (4/15)
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Complex Compliance Regulations Raise the Stakes for Organizations
Wage and hour lawsuits are steadily rising thanks to increasingly complex compliance regulations. Insulate your organization from FLSA issues and reduce costs with automated workforce management solutions.
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Farewell SGR: Congress sends SGR repeal bill to the president
Last night, the Senate voted overwhelmingly by a vote of 92-8 to repeal the Medicare sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and chart a new path toward a physician payment system that rewards not for volume, but for value. Throughout the recent debate, ASNC issued several "calls to action" to which ASNC members responded by contacting their members of Congress and asking them to vote in favor of H.R. 2. We look forward to working with the CMS to implement a new payment system that we hope will create stability and reward physicians for the value of care they provide.
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Next Wednesday: Choosing Cardiac Stress Test Wisely Webinar
The Massachusetts Medical Society in collaboration with ASNC is pleased to offer a complimentary webinar on Choosing Cardiac Stress Tests Wisely, April 22 at 12 p.m. ET. Please join us for a review of the application for appropriate use criteria in your clinical practices. Learn to choose the appropriate test for the right patient at the right time. The Mass. Medical Society designates this live activity for a max. of 1.0 AMA PRA Category 1 Credit™. Register today!
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