All 50 states may not be on board the telemedicine train as of now, but don't count the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs among the detractors. According to a report from Politico, the VA's Chief Officer for the Office of Connected Care, Neil Evans, announced at an American Telemedicine Association event that the VA performed approximately 750,000 medical visits via telemedicine in 2015.
The ICD-10 transition last October brought much stress to the healthcare community. With more than 144,000 codes and so much to learn, providers wondered how it would impact their practices, financially and administratively.
While the current ICD-10 “grace period” offers physicians at least some protection against gratuitous rejections as everyone adjusts to the new system, this concession will end on October 1 2016. This means that, in a matter of months, all physicians in the U.S. will be expected to code in ICD-10 with a high level of proficiency and specificity. Those who cannot will likely experience a sudden uptick in rejected claims, as well as open themselves up to the possibility of non-compliance fines from Health and Human Services (HHS).
ICD-10 may be only six months old in the United States, but new codes have already been proposed for October 1, 2016. Previously, the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had placed a five-year code freeze on ICD-10 to help ease the healthcare industry into the new code set. Well, that ended in late March. The CDC announced proposed, new ICD-10-CM codes, while the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced proposed, new ICD-10-PCS codes. In total, approximately 1,943 new ICD-10-CM codes were announced along with 3,651 new ICD-10-PCS codes.
Settled into ICD-10 yet? The infamous transition to the new coding system last October was met with a significant amount of controversy, but now almost six months out, it appears it wasn't as rocky as many believed, despite the 155,000 total ICD-10 codes.
If you’ve been paying attention to current events these days, you’re likely already aware of the Zika virus outbreak that’s hitting the Americas. Cases of Zika are now beginning to pop up in North America, which has prompted the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) to order their Emergency Operations Center to assume a Level 1 activation status (its highest level), in preparation for a possible nationwide outbreak in the United States. A Level 1 activation places CDC personnel into overdrive, allowing for 24/7 response capabilities. Just to give you an idea of how serious this is, the CDC has only ordered Level 1 activations three times in their 70-year history—after Hurricane Katrina in 2005, during the H1N1 outbreak of 2009, and during the 2014 Ebola epidemic. Of course, the World Health Organization (WHO) already declared the Zika virus a “global health emergency” back on Feb. 1, 2016.