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Public Health Series 

Part II of IV

Over the past several years, access and community need have become increasing concerns. As such, issues of public health have become contentious topics leading to significant political debate. HC Topics' Public Health Series will include four articles address this changing areas of public health, including: healthcare nomenclature; health disparities; and, quality indicators.  The second article examines several causes of health disparities in the United States and describes what is being done to provide a healthy environment.

  Public Health Series: Health Disparities - What is Being Done?   

Recent U.S. healthcare reform initiatives have brought to the forefront attention regarding the growing number of people in the U.S. without health insurance. While studies show that lack of health insurance, socioeconomic status, and individual characteristics certainly contribute to health disparities, many less obvious factors combined together have the potential to contribute to increased health disparities in the U.S.

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Congress Approves "Doc-Fix" to Maintain Medicare Payment Amounts  

In the latest installment in the continuing saga over Medicare physician reimbursement cuts suggested by the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), less than two weeks prior to the scheduled cuts, Congress passed a measure on February 17, 2012,which halted the Medicare physician payment cuts that were scheduled to decrease by decreased by 27.4% beginning March 1, 2012.   

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 CMS Continues Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol (SRDP) Settlements    

In January of 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS) announced that two additional providers had agreed to voluntary settlements of Stark Law violations under the Self-Referral Disclosure Protocol (SRDP), bringing the total number of settlements published since the Protocol's inception in 2010 to four despite over 100 submissions as of September 2011.  

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Retrospective: Whistling Past the Graveyard - Part II: The Software Solution  

 Part II of this series describes the "Software Solution," which was developed to allow a group of physicians to meet the rapid incursion of managed care into this heretofore fee-for-service only reimbursement environment. A portfolio of software applications was selected and an initial assessment as to the relative risk of each software application based on its relative cost and complexity of installation and use was pursued. Risk mitigation strategies and related issues were addressed.   

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