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Information technology systems provide some assistance for hospitals’ data-collection initiatives but fall short of completely automating the processes.
That’s one finding from a Government Accountability Office report about hospitals’ efforts to collect data for a series of quality measures.
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ annual payment update program requires hospitals to submit the information every quarter to avoid reductions in Medicare payments. Continue Reading GAO: IT systems falling short in data collection

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The Food and Drug Administration has indicated it will close its laboratory in Denver, according to the Sen. Ken Salazar’s office.
Salazar has joined with Pennsylvania Republican Sen. Arlen Specter to save the lab, which has 52 employees. Continue Reading FDA puts Denver FERN laboratory on closure list

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Affiliated Computer Services will continue to manage the state’s Medicaid records for the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing as part of a three-year, $67 million contract.
ACS has held the contract since 1996. The company processes more than 25 million claims annually. Continue Reading State Medicaid records contract awarded to ACS

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The Health Maintenance Organization industry in Colorado saw massive profits in 2006, according to Colorado Managed Care, a newsletter published by James Hertel.
The HMO industry doubled its 2005 profits during 2006.
The combined before-tax profits grew to $213.78 million — up 111 percent. Continue Reading Health maintenance organization profits double

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Health departments eye immunization awareness

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Bibs for babies and a Web conference for local doctors’ offices about vaccination updates top the list of a month-long push to increase immunization rates in El Paso and Pueblo counties.
The bibs will be handed out free to WIC, Nurse-Family Partnership, immunization clinics and birth certificate clients in both health departments and have an “immunize me” message. Continue Reading Health departments eye immunization awareness

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With the date for complying with National Provider Identifier regulations looming May 23, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has developed a contingency plan for health care providers who will not meet the deadline.
Required as part of the 1996 Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, every health care provider is supposed to have applied for a unique identification number. But many providers have not obtained the required documentation, according to CMS acting administrator Leslie V. Norwalk. Continue Reading CMS allows more time for health care ID numbers

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Colorado’s economic loss during a severe flu pandemic could be nearly $12 billion.
According to a report by Trust for America’s Health, Colorado’s economy could face a 5.4 percent loss — or $11.7 billion — during a severe flu pandemic. The loss represents the 38th highest percentage loss of the 50 states. Continue Reading Pandemic could cause billion dollar losses in Colo.

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Breast cancer is the No. 1 killer of women between the ages of 40 and 49.
Thanks to a grant from the Colorado Women’s Cancer Control Initiative, Planned Parenthood of the Rocky Mountains is able to screen low-income women for breast and cervical cancer. Continue Reading PPRM gets help detecting breast, cervical cancers

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Fewer employers are offering health insurance to parents with modest incomes — and the rate has fallen three times faster than offerings to parents who earn more money, according to a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Nationally, only 47 percent of parents earning less than $40,000 a year are offered health insurance through their employer, a 9 percent decline since 1997. Continue Reading Modest income workers losing health care benefits

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The costs of health care — and quality information about hospital performance — are difficult to obtain, and are often meaningless, according to a study from the National Center for Policy Analysis.
The study says the only area of health care marketplace where price and quality are easily available is where patients pay for the service themselves. Continue Reading It’s tough to determine the cost of health care

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