Healthcare News January 29, 2013

  • OVERNIGHT HEALTH: Immigration reform brings debate on ACA benefits

    The immigration reform debate is hot out of the gate this week, raising questions about whether undocumented immigrants who receive papers should be eligible for healthcare benefits like tax subsidies or Medicaid coverage under President Obama’s healthcare law.

    Currently, illegal aliens are prohibited from purchasing coverage through the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) insurance exchanges. They are also ineligible for Medicaid under most circumstances, making the ACA’s expansion of the program fruitless for many low-income workers who lack coverage.

    Probationary legal status for millions of undocumented immigrants is one goal of a new proposal unveiled Monday by eight senators. The bipartisan group, however, would prohibit those immigrants from accessing federal benefits.

    Tuesday will see President Obama address his own objectives for immigration reform at an event in Las Vegas. And another group of lawmakers, in the House, is reportedly on the verge of finalizing its own proposals.

    Hispanic House members are hopeful that the process will yield opportunities for newly legal immigrants to insure themselves, either through their employers or through publicly facilitated systems like the ACA exchanges.

    “I think hospitals and healthcare providers would see it as a huge plus,” said Rep. Raúl Grijalva (D-Ariz.) recently, noting that many undocumented immigrants cannot fully pay for care they receive in emergency rooms.

    “The bottom line is, these people would be contributing toward their own healthcare and not being dependent. They’d be paying taxes. I’d see that as a plus rather than a negative.”

  • Merge’s Hemodynamic System Ranked Number 1 Category Leader in KLAS for Second Straight Year

    “2012 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services” Report States 94% of Merge Hemo Clients Would Purchase System Again
    CHICAGO, Dec. 20, 2012 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) – Merge Healthcare Incorporated (Nasdaq:MRGE), a leading provider of clinical systems and innovations that seek to transform healthcare, today announced that Merge Hemo™ has been named the “Category Leader” in the “2012 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services” report for Cardiology Hemodynamics rankings for the second consecutive year.

    Currently running in over 500 cardiac cath labs in some of the country’s largest health systems, Merge Hemo captures real-time data and documents procedural events to enable efficient workflow. “We are extremely proud that Merge Hemo has maintained its number one status with KLAS for two years running,” said Jeff Surges, CEO of Merge Healthcare. “We have worked diligently to ensure Merge Hemo provides seamless EHR integration, enhances workflow and reporting and provides quality patient care. We are pleased to be recognized for our innovative solution, and for our customers to rank us number one is a significant accomplishment.”

    Merge Hemo provides physicians and staff the ability to capture information through a simple touch-screen user interface at the point of care, leading to enhanced reporting and care. Because the data captured on Merge Hemo can be easily integrated with EHRs, cath lab information is cohesively incorporated into the overall electronic patient chart, leading to a more complete record.

    KLAS is a research firm on a global mission to improve healthcare delivery by enabling providers to be heard and be counted. Working with thousands of healthcare executives and clinicians KLAS gathers data on software, services, medical equipment, and infrastructure systems to deliver timely reports, trends and statistical overview about the healthcare industry. The research directly represents the provider voice and acts as a catalyst for improving vendor performance.

    About Merge

    Merge is a leading provider of clinical systems and innovations that seek to transform healthcare. Merge’s enterprise and cloud-based solutions for image intensive specialties provide access to any image, anywhere, any time. Merge also provides health stations, clinical trials software and other health data and analytics solutions that engage consumers in their personal health. With solutions that are used by providers and consumers and include more than 20 years of innovation, Merge is helping to reduce costs and improve the quality of healthcare worldwide. For more information, visit merge.com.

  • Drag seen on smokeless-tobacco regulations

    The Obama administration is moving forward with an effort to bolster warning labels on chew, dip, snuff and other forms of smokeless tobacco — but not fast enough for the American Lung Association.

    The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking comments on what — if any — changes to warning labels on smokeless tobacco products would better inform the public on the health risks associated with using them, according to a notice to be published in Tuesday’s Federal Register.

    Under current law, one of the following four warnings must appear on any smokeless-tobacco package or advertisement:

  • Oversight panel to grill NFL players on use of human growth hormone

    The House Oversight committee warns the players’ union not to “interfere” in its questioning of football players about HGH use. 

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