Contracting News

CMS moves back compliance date for ICD-10 by one year
CMS (Baltimore, MD) moved back the compliance date for implementing ICD-10 diagnosis and procedure codes to October 1, 2014 from October 1, 2013. According to a recent survey conducted by CMS, up to 25 percent of healthcare providers believe they would not be ready for a 2013 compliance date. Based on recent industry feedback, CMS believes that larger healthcare plans and providers generally are more prepared than smaller entities. The delay will give organizations more time to prepare for the transition to ICD-10 and conduct thorough testing, allowing them to avoid obstacles and save money. In the Regulatory Impact Analysis (RIA) of this final rule, CMS estimates that there would be a cost avoidance of approximately $3.6 billion to nearly $8 billion. For more information about this final rule, visit

Joint Commission launches Lab Central Connect
The Joint Commission (Oakbrook Terrace, IL) launched Lab Central Connect™, which will help Joint Commission-accredited laboratories centralize storage of important survey-related documents, and improve safety and quality by helping to maintain continuous compliance with Joint Commission standards. The Lab Central Connect portal can be accessed through The Joint Commission Connect extranet site. Accredited laboratories are asked to enter a small amount of information, including key personnel, cytology workload and annual statistics as well as whether the lab accepts referral testing and the lab’s test systems menu. Accredited laboratories must enter certain information mandated by the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendment (CLIA) to Lab Central Connect by January 1, 2013.

Commonwealth Fund finds 13% of hospitals participating in ACO
A new report by the Commonwealth Fund (New York, NY), a private foundation that “aims to promote a high performing healthcare system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency,” found that only 13 percent of hospitals are participating in an accountable care organization (ACO) or plan to do so in the next year. The data comes from a survey of 1,700 hospitals conducted by the Commonwealth Fund. The survey found that more than half of the hospitals that are participating or plan to participate in an ACO call patients within 72 hours of their discharge in order to follow-up, and almost 35 percent arrange home visits by advanced practice nurses or physicians. About 57 percent of the ACOs that hospitals are participating in are joint ventures between hospitals and physicians, and 26 percent are physician-led. About 2.4 million Medicare beneficiaries are receiving healthcare services from 154 ACOs.

NCH Healthcare System joins Mayo Clinic Care Network
NCH Healthcare System (Naples, FL) joined Mayo Clinic Care Network (Rochester, MN) in a move that allows NCH physicians to collaborate with those at Mayo Clinic Health System (Rochester, MN) facilities. It also allows patients to access Mayo Clinic expertise without having to travel far from home. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. NCH is the seventh health system to join the network, following New England Alliance for Health (Lebanon, NH), which joined in July 2012.

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