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EHR and Health IT Consulting
Technical Doctor's insights and information collated from various sources on EHR selection, EHR implementation, EMR relevance for providers and decision makers
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Florida governor fights Obama administration over healthcare funding

Florida governor fights Obama administration over healthcare funding | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

Florida Governor Rick Scott said on Thursday he will sue to stop U.S. health leaders from ending more than $1 billion in federal funding for low-income patients, arguing it stems from the state's refusal to expand Obamacare for the working poor.


Scott pledged to take legal action, but provided no details, amid an escalating fight between Florida's Republican leaders and President Barack Obama's administration.


The dispute has become entangled in Florida's rejection, so far, of about $51 billion in federal dollars available over 10 years to expand Medicaid coverage to some 1 million Floridians under the Affordable Care Act, known as Obamacare.


Scott singled out a letter this week in which federal officials acknowledged a connection between Medicaid expansion and ongoing negotiations with Florida officials over the state's "Low Income Pool." Florida stands to lose about $1 billion in federal funding to pay hospitals for treating needy patients.


He contends the Democratic president is "crossing the line into a coercion tactic" in violation of a 2012 Supreme Court ruling allowing each state to decide whether to accept the expansion.

"It is appalling that President Obama would cut off federal healthcare dollars to Florida in an effort to force our state further into Obamacare," he said in a statement.


Debate over expanding Medicaid has deadlocked Florida's GOP-controlled legislature. State senators want to take the money, but their counterparts in the more conservative House of Representatives remain staunchly opposed.


Florida's low-income pool, launched in 2006, had been designed to support safety-net hospitals for a limited time, U.S. health officials said. Expanding Medicaid would reduce the financial burden of uncompensated care in Florida, they noted.


Medicaid expansion and low-income pool funding "are linked in considering a solution for Florida's low income citizens, safety net providers, and taxpayers," Vikki Wachino, an acting director for the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said this week in the letter to state officials.


Following a one-year extension, the federal funding is now due to expire in June.


Scott, once a tepid supporter of expansion, recently backpedaled. He said he no longer trusts the federal government to honor its funding commitment amid the dispute over the low-income funding for hospitals, which has stalemated negotiations over the state's more than $80 billion budget.

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Without Obamacare, Jobs Report Might've Been Worse

Without Obamacare, Jobs Report Might've Been Worse | EHR and Health IT Consulting | Scoop.it

The Affordable Care Act, which is infusing millions of new paying customers into the economy who previously couldn’t afford medical care services, continues to boost jobs growth as the health industry emphasizes outpatient care and value-based medicine.


The health care industry added 22,000 jobs last month, which was about on par with February totals for health services jobs, according to the jobs report issued Friday by the U.S. Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics.


In the past year alone, 363,000 jobs have been added in the health sector. The entire U.S. economy added 126,000 jobs in March though such totals ended a string of 12 consecutive months when 200,000 jobs or more were added to employment rolls.


The growth in health care continues to come in the ambulatory care sector which is key to the shift away from fee-for-service medicine to value-based care models that emphasize outreach to patients, encouraging them to take their medications and see a primary care provider, typically in a less costly outpatient care setting.


The labor department said there were 19,000 jobs added in the ambulatory care sector. By comparison, hospitals added just 8,000 jobs. And the nursing home sector actually contracted by losing 6,000 jobs.


As an example of the shift going on in health care, technology firms are benefiting as well as hospitals and other traditional medical care providers look to cloud-based platforms to help them manage populations of patients. Value-based care emphasizes health outcomes.


On Friday, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said health technology company ZirMed, which helps hospitals manage populations of patients in part with predictive analytics and help with claims management, is openings its first Chicago office and would add 200 or more jobs, including “advanced healthcare technologists” to what it calls a “Healthcare Analytics Center of Excellence.”


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