In Case You Missed It — Daily Healthcare Digest for Thursday, 20 December

Call it the narcissistic blindspot of the still-kind-of-young (I turned 40 this year), but my assumption is: Medicare won’t exist when I turn 60whatever. (Also not in existence: social security, most of my retirement money, and large parts of the state of California.) However, looking at the bumper crop of Medicare fraud cases that are springing up, it’s possible Medicare won’t survive into 2013, Fiscal Cliff or not. North Carolina-based WakeMed recently admitted to false Medicare billing and agreed to pay $8 million in order to “settle an investigation into its practice of billing Medicare for expensive overnight care when the patients had been treated and discharged the same day.” Bill Atkinson, WakeMed’s president and CEO, doesn’t believe the hospital’s actions were necessarily criminal, instead suggesting that the whole silly mess was just a big misunderstanding of complicated federal Medicare guidelines. Sigh.

Over in Colorado, a woman was convicted this week for felony forgery after submitting “fraudulent documents to Medicaid regarding personal health care services provided to her father after he died.” It’s possible that that, too, was just a silly misunderstanding of complicated “no, really, he’s dead and not just really still” guidelines.

And then, you can take a look at this Associated Press round-up of Medicare overcharges. It’s fun to play “The Price is Right” along with Medicare, who thinks it should pay $900+ for a $99.99 back-brace.

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Other headlines you’ll want to take a gander at:

News for the Nerds in Your Department: (1) Tell them about the new HIPAA tools for mobile devices. (2) Show them that you know they’re more than just the guys you turn to when the Internet goes weird: Healthcare Providers Learn IT’s Value In Patient Care. (3) And follow up that last one with this report: “IT Essential to Accountable Care Organization Success.

Like a Snake Eating Its Own Tail: “Nearly a third of U.S. adults said they put off getting medical care because of costs in 2012, according to a new Gallup poll.” And where do folks who put off medical care end up? The ER. And what costs a whole lot of dollars? Right. So then we’re back to “not being able to afford medical care in the first place.” YOU CAN’T TREAT BERIBERI ON YOUR OWN, PEOPLE.

Community Benefit Report: You can read Benedictine Health System’s Community Benefit Executive Summary at the link you just read.

“We Did It!”: We are delighted to report that a Community Benefits Agreement has been reached between Achievement First and the Newhallville community! As Alderwoman Brenda Foskey-Cyrus put it, it’s a ‘win-win-win.’. Someone get me Brenda Foskey-Cyrus on the phone; there’s one too many “wins” in her win-win-win.

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