VA less likely to use stress tests after PCI than fee-for-service providers | Cholesterol-lowering drugs set stage for conflict over costs | Expert: CDS might address some of the issues seen under prior authorization
 
 
July 22, 2015
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VA less likely to use stress tests after PCI than fee-for-service providers
Patients in the Veterans Affairs health system receive stress tests at lower rates following a percutaneous coronary intervention compared with patients in fee-for-service settings, according to a study in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes. Close to 40% of VA patients had a stress test within two years after PCI, compared with past estimates of 60% in fee-for-service systems. The rate of stress testing also varied among VA facilities. TCTMD.com (7/21)
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Cholesterol-lowering drugs set stage for conflict over costs
Payers and providers could clash over how widely a new class of cholesterol drug should be prescribed, said Dr. Steven Nissen of the Cleveland Clinic. The first PCSK9 inhibitor is expected to be approved this week, and the drug class is projected to be priced at $7,000 to $12,000 a year. The drugs are seen as an important advancement in care, but the lack of long-term cardiovascular event data is expected to spark payer pushback. The Washington Post (tiered subscription model) (7/21)
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How Physicians Can Use Technology To Bring A Mega Group To Life
In an increasingly complex business environment, U.S. Physicians are banding together into mega groups that gain leverage with payers without sacrificing independence. Innovative technology platforms are playing a major role in making it happen. One leading mega-group shares its story in this whitepaper.

Medical Focus
Expert: CDS might address some of the issues seen under prior authorization
It is not yet known how successful clinical decision support will affect the appropriateness of and spending on imaging, Liz Quam, executive director of the Center for Diagnostic Imaging's Quality Institute, told imaging managers at a meeting this week. She said radiology benefits management has been problematic, delaying care and posing other issues, but clinical decision support is different, with more flexibility and a number of benefits to practitioners and patients. AuntMinnie.com (free registration) (7/21)
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Study finds greater likelihood of cardiac arrest among black patients
Researchers who looked at cardiac arrest data from Oregon found black patients are more likely than white patients to experience sudden cardiac arrest, and black patients tend to be more than six years younger when the event occurs. The study, reported in the journal Circulation, found more heart problems among black patients, such as thickened ventricle walls, rhythm disorders and conditions that impair the pumping of blood. Black patients also were more likely to have diabetes, kidney disease and high blood pressure. Reuters (7/20)
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Crunching the Numbers
Your passion may have led you into business, but tracking cash flow and other key numbers will help keep your company up and running. Read Boomtown: Think Like a Startup

Regulatory & Policy
HIPAA misinterpretations can cut off flow of information
The Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act was designed to protect the privacy of patient health information, but it often is misinterpreted, preventing allowable and sometimes medically important discussions or information exchanges, experts said. A House bill would require the HHS to make its HIPAA guidance part of regulations and to develop a training model for providers, administrators, families and patients. The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (7/17)
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Measure would use telehealth to boost care access of Medicare patients
A measure proposed by Reps. Devin Nunes, R-Calif., and Frank Pallone Jr., D-N.J., would open the door for Medicare providers to offer telehealth care across state lines. The Telemedicine for Medicare, or TELE-MED, Act is intended to address the need for more providers while increasing access to care by Medicare patients in underserved areas. Health Data Management (7/20)
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Auditors: Medicare needs better screening of health care professionals
A report from the Government Accountability Office found that Medicare did not catch thousands of questionable addresses submitted by medical professionals, and allowed enrollment for dozens who faced disciplinary action by state boards. The report to Congress said using an invalid address was "an indicator of potential fraud." The New York Times (single-article access for SmartBrief readers) (7/21), The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (7/21)
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ASNC News
Free webinar Aug. 12: Optimal Risk-Benefit Ratio for Stress Myocardial Perfusion SPECT
Using a case-based format, speakers Prem Soman, MD, PhD, FASNC, and Brian Abbott, MD, FASNC, will discuss how to optimize the risk-benefit ratio for myocardial perfusion imaging by appropriate selection of patients and the use of best practices and patient-centered imaging in nuclear cardiology. This Aug. 12 webinar is part of our 2015 "Best Practices in Nuclear Cardiology" complimentary webinar series brought to you by ASNC and the International Atomic Energy Agency. Register today.
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Prep for your Nuclear Cardiology Board Exam and earn CMEs: Sept. 16-17
The Nuclear Cardiology Board Exam Preparation Course will be held in conjunction with ASNC2015 at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C., Wednesday and Thursday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 16-17. This course is designed for physicians preparing for the certification or recertification exam in nuclear cardiology as well as physicians interested in a broad review in nuclear cardiology topics. Learn more and register.
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SmartQuote
An imitation may be quite successful in its own way, but imitation can never be Success. Success is a first-hand creation."
-- Henry Ford,
industrialist
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