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April 23, 2015 In This Issue
National News
What PATIENTS Are Reading
National News

After 17 years of kicking the proverbial can down the road, Congress has come together in bipartisan fashion to repeal and replace Medicare’s flawed formula for reimbursing doctors with an improved payment plan. With President Obama’s April 21 signature of the Medicare and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA), Medicare beneficiaries can finally feel more secure in knowing that they can keep seeing their physicians each year. To continue reading please click here.

Editor’s note: Don’t miss APMA’s reporting about how the historic SGR legislation affects the profession on APMA.org.

 
While the majority of medical providers are preparing for the ICD-10 transition deadline and are utilizing diagnostic coding accurately, there are certainly outliers who have attempted to defraud the healthcare system and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). These outliers may even affect the CMS’ stance on meaningful use audits. Former Central Texas Hospital owner Tariq Mahmood is one such individual that has been sentenced to 135 months in federal prison last Monday for submitting false and fraudulent claims to healthcare payers including CMS.
 
A study of the efficacy of topical platelet derived growth factor in the treatment of diabetic foot ulcers found that it did not appear to significantly improve healing in comparison with a placebo, according to results published in Wounds.
 
Fungi are everywhere, and can easily sneak beneath your toenails and cause an unpleasant infection. The American Podiatric Medical Association suggests these preventive steps.
 
One common misconception surrounding diabetes is that you don’t have to worry about complications until you get older. A recent study conducted at the University of Colorado School of Medicine in Aurora has revealed that currently more young people in America are developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a potentially life-threatening condition tied to diabetes, at the time of their type 1 diabetes diagnosis compared to 15 years ago.
 
Diabetes is a data-intensive disease. For those living with diabetes, managing their condition involves never-ending calculations: How much insulin to take to keep blood sugar in a targeted range, how many grams of carbohydrate are in a sandwich, or how an average monthly blood sugar reading fluctuates with different levels of exercise.
 
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What Patients are Reading
As the weather warms up, it's hard to resist the urge to break out the truest sign of summer: flip-flops. But most experts are horrified by the idea. Here's why you should reserve your flip-flops for the beach, pool, spa, and shared showers — and keep your feet out of them, otherwise, according to Dr. Jackie Sutera, DPM, a podiatrist and spokesperson for the American Podiatric Medical Association.
 
The most common running injuries are due to overuse, over training, improper training shoes or a flaw in running form. The important thing is that most running injuries can be prevented.
 
A leading podiatrist has told of the horrific damage he has seen London Marathon runners suffer - and revealed his tips on how to avoid a similar fate.
 
The Supreme Court won’t hear an appeal from an Arizona salon owner challenging a decision by local regulators to stop her from offering pedicures using fish that nibble dead skin off people’s feet.
 
Sandal season is back and so is the desire for pretty, pedicured toes. Whether treating yourself to a pedicure at home or at a salon, make sure you’re playing it safe, said Dr. Charles J. Daniel, owner of Grand Valley Foot and Ankle Center.
 
As millions of avid golfers get ready for another season of pars and bogeys, they should be aware of potentially serious foot problems that can result from years of playing the game. Although golf is not considered a rigorous sport, the physical act of repeatedly swinging a golf club in practice and on the links can lead to a condition known as hallux limitus, a jamming and deterioration of the big toe joint.
 
Whatever our political divisions, one thing Americans agree on is that dealing with health insurance is a Kafka-esque hassle. Oscar, an oddball start-up health insurer in New York state, aims to change that. It's got a user-friendly website that offers providers after you type in your symptoms, along with free 24/7 internet consultations with doctors. It lets you compare prices from different providers and refill prescriptions with one click. It's even partnering with CVS to build care locations throughout the state, and it's hiring nurses to offer in-home follow-up services, especially for new moms.
 
It’s generally Vogue’s purview to hock shoes that render your feet numb after walking five blocks in them — that is, toe-pinching stilettos, sky high heels, and other extremely expensive, gorgeous, but undeniably torturous kinds of footwear. But judging from a recent story on Vogue.com, it’s possible that Vogue is ready to endorse Crocs. You heard me right folks, Crocs. Could it be that Vogue is finally ready to embrace comfort over couture?
 

St. Louis-based MediNurse, now in its 30th year as the premier provider of community wellness services and private duty nursing, reminds the public that years of wear and tear, disease, bad circulation, poorly trimmed toenails and wearing ill-fitting shoes can all cause foot problems and discomfort. Foot problems can also be the first sign of more serious medical conditions such as arthritis, diabetes and nerve or circulatory disorders. Click here to continue reading.

Editor’s note: Take advantage of APMA’s spring foot health awareness campaign resources for members!

 
No woman wears high heels to be comfortable. But those stilettos can do more than just cause sore feet. Several small studies indicate that those who wear heels constantly may be increasing their risk of joint problems — even arthritis — down the road.
 
Think those fancy, too-small shoes with the pointy toes caused that bunion? Genetics probably paid a bigger role, says Scott E. Woodburn, a fellow of the of the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons, who practices in Maryland. That is just one of the misconceptions people have about bunions, Woodburn said. He sets the record straight on other things people get wrong about the disorder. Click here to continue reading.

Editor’s Note: APMA’s free "Beat Bunion Blues" campaign materials are still available to members on APMA.org. 
 
Looking to make it easier to compare hospitals, the federal government has started awarding star ratings to medical centers based on patients' appraisals. Many of the nation's leading hospitals received middling ratings, while comparatively obscure local hospitals and others that specialized in lucrative surgeries frequently received the most stars.
 
Increasingly, payment reform initiatives aim to achieve greater value from the provision of health care services. The emphasis on alternative payment models in the recent bipartisan, legislation reforming Medicare’s sustainable growth rate (SGR) physician payment mechanism highlights this momentum.
 
Headlines consistently warn that prices for prescription drugs are spiking higher and higher. Half of Americans are taking them regularly. Obamacare touched most corners of the health care industry, but didn't address drug costs specifically. Now Hillary Clinton is signaling in public comments that prescription-drug affordability will be a priority in her coming campaign. "We need to drive a harder bargain negotiating with drug companies about the costs of drugs," she said in Iowa last week, per MSNBC. The issue is shaping up to be one of the next frontiers for health care reform in this country.
 
The Affordable Care Act requires all Americans to get health insurance or pay a penalty. To help coax people to buy a health plan, the federal government now subsidizes premiums for millions of Americans. Click here to read more.

Editor's note: Visit APMA's healthcare reform page to learn more about key provisions in the ACA for podiatrists and more.
 
The ability to transfer electronic medical records from one doctor or hospital to another is essential to the smooth functioning of the health care system and to providing the best possible care to patients. Yet all too often these transfers are being blocked by developers of health information technology or greedy medical centers that refuse to send records to rival providers. Click here to continue reading.

Editor’s Note: Review APMA’s EHR resources for more information on purchasing an EHR system.
 
This is the second post in our continuing series on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). Pub.L. No: 114-10. In addition to repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), which was covered in our April 20th post, MACRA includes several other payment provisions and offsets totaling $39.5 billion in savings over ten years. This blog post highlights some of the key payment provisions and offsets in Title II and IV of MACRA.
 
A bill that would return caps to medical malpractice suits has been passed by the Missouri Legislature and is now awaiting Gov. Jay Nixon’s decision on whether to sign it.
 
Medical malpractice is a difficult issue for both patients and doctors. The frequency -- and threat -- of lawsuits have changed the way medicine is practiced, to some degree. This week on "Take Care," WRVO’s health and wellness show, hosts Lorraine Rapp and Linda Lowen speak with health care attorney Chris Stern Hyman of the Medical Mediation Group in New York City. Hyman discusses how frequent medical errors occur and how the healthcare industry has responded.
 
Healthcare reform had a rocky first five years, and the next five are equally uncertain in today's political landscape. Here are five key observations on how future healthcare reform implementation could impact ambulatory surgery centers.
 

Now that the sustainable growth rate (SGR) bill has been signed by the president without any further ICD-10 delay language, it’s time to proceed with ICD-10. Although there are many speculations regarding increased data causing operational bottlenecks, it may not necessarily be due to a huge spike in claims volume on Oct. 1, 2015. Hospitals will not discharge more patients on Oct. 1 than they typically do, nor is an abnormally massive influx of claims transactions anticipated. To continue reading, please click here.

Editor’s note: APMA’s ICD-10 Resources will help you prepare for the transition to happen October 1, 2015.

 

Sometimes the best way to integrate electronic medical record (EMR) systems is not to integrate them -- at least not right away, Jim Walton, DO, MBA, president and CEO of Genesis Accountable Physician Network, said here. Click here to continue reading.

Editor's note: APMA provides information and resources on ACOs at APMA.org.

 
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