Electronic health records don’t cut administrative costs

first_imgThe federal government thought that adopting certified electronic health record systems (EHR) would reduce administrative costs for physicians in a variety of specialties. However, a major new study conducted by researchers at Duke University and Harvard Business School and published in today’s issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that this benefit has not been achieved.The study found that costs for processing a single bill ranged from $20 for a primary care visit to $215 for an inpatient surgical procedure, or up to 25 percent of revenue. By comparison, the cost to process most payments by credit card is normally 2 percent. Based on this analysis, the study estimates that billing costs for primary care services are about $100,000 per provider per year.To conduct the study, the researchers used time-driven, activity-based costing, a state-of-the-art accounting method, to determine the administrative costs associated with billing and insurance activities in a large academic health care system with a certified EHR.Administrative costs are known to account for at least a quarter of total health care spending in the U.S., twice the amount in Canada and significantly greater than most other high-resource countries. Administrative spending has outpaced overall health care expenditures, and experts estimate that almost two-thirds of these costs are related to billing and insurance. However, these data were developed before widespread adoption of certified electronic health record systems.“We found no evidence that adoption of these expensive electronic health record systems reduced billing costs related to physician services,” said Kevin Schulman of the Duke Clinical Research Institute, the Duke University School of Medicine, and Harvard Business School, one of the study’s authors.“The high billing costs we observed in this study occurred at an institution that had already captured significant scale economies by streamlining all its bill-paying functions within a single dedicated unit,” said Harvard Business School’s Robert S. Kaplan, a co-author of the study. “The high costs were not caused by wasteful, inefficient processes, duplicate or redundant tasks, or the inappropriate use of high-wage personnel to perform low-skilled tasks.”“To a large degree, the significant administrative costs measured in this study are the consequences of heterogeneous payment requirements across the multiple payers and health plans contracting with the academic health center,” said another study author, Barak Richman of the Duke University School of Law and the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy. “We need to understand better how complexity is driving these enormous costs within the system, costs that do not add value to patients, employers, or providers.”“We hope that this work is the first step toward informing policy solutions that could reduce these non-value-added costs largely hidden within the health care system,” Schulman added.The research team also included Phillip Tseng of the Duke University School of Medicine and Mahek Shah of Harvard Business School.last_img read more

Vermont ranked 2nd in nation in impact of poverty relief program 3SquaresVT

first_imgPoverty increased in Vermont and across the nation in 2010: according to the US Census Bureau, over 76,000 Vermonters (including 1 in 6 children) are living below the poverty level ($22,314 for a family of four), with nearly 165,000 Vermonters (1 in 3 children) considered low-income (below 185% of poverty).  Almost 93,000 Vermonters currently receive 3SquaresVT benefits (known nationally as SNAP), which, when added to income, lifted 26% of 3SquaresVT households out of poverty, ranking Vermont second in the nation for its program impact. 3SquaresVT continues to see rising participation as well as all-time high benefits, bringing over $11 million into the Vermont economy each month. ‘Whether it is the Great Recession or Tropical Storm Irene, 3SquaresVT is the most responsive safety net program in tough times,’ says Angela Smith-Dieng, 3SquaresVT Advocacy Manager at Hunger Free Vermont. ‘The extra money for food makes a critical difference for families ‘ it means more fruits and vegetables, lean meats and dairy on Vermonters’ tables, helping them stay healthy and better able to work and learn.’The Vermont Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the anti-hunger community have worked hard in recent years to ensure that more Vermonters needing access to healthy food are able to receive 3SquaresVT and that benefits are an adequate supplement for families on a tight budget.  The USDA has consistently recognized Vermont for its hard work by awarding the State with performance bonuses for its success in reaching many of those eligible for benefits.  ‘Since I started with the program in 2001 we have worked diligently to partner with anti-hunger organizations to do outreach on this program to remove participation barriers and stigma,’ says Reneé Richardson, Director of Food and Nutrition Programs at DCF. ‘Thanks to this collaboration we have almost tripled our enrollment in the last ten years.’With so many Vermonters relying on 3SquaresVT and many more newly eligible, Congress must work to protect this critical nutrition program that combats hunger and poverty so well.  As the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction meets this fall to consider ways to reduce spending, cuts to 3SquaresVT and other anti-hunger programs should not be part of the deal. About Hunger Free Vermont: Hunger Free Vermont (formerly the Vermont Campaign to End Childhood Hunger) is a statewide nonprofit organization that works with state agencies and community groups to end the injustice of hunger and malnutrition for all Vermonters. Since 1993 Hunger Free Vermont’s outreach programs have substantially enhanced Vermont’s nutrition safety net and increased access to nutritious foods. www.hungerfreevt.org(link is external)September 28, 2011 (Vermont) ‘last_img read more

MCELHINNEYS BRIDAL ROOMS NOMINATED FOR PRESTIGIOUS AWARD

first_imgMcElhinneys Bridal Rooms in Ballybofey, have beaten off tough competition to be shortlisted as finalists in the 2014 Wedding Journal Reader Awards. With only 5 stores shortlisted for the whole of Ireland and Northern Ireland this is an exciting time for the local company.The shortlisted retailers are voted for by the general public and it’s thanks to votes from past and future brides and customers that has secured McElhinneys the top 5 spot. Voting now continues until Friday May 16th to select an overall ‘Bridal Retailer of the Year 2014” and you can vote by following the link below –http://weddingjournalreaderawards.com/finalists-revealedMCELHINNEYS BRIDAL ROOMS NOMINATED FOR PRESTIGIOUS AWARD was last modified: May 15th, 2014 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Tags:awardsBusinessEntertainmentFeaturesMCELHINNEYSnewslast_img read more