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Speaker Gingrich and Dr. Culter discuss need for intelligent innovation and lowering costs in healthcare at HBMA annual Conference

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09/28/2012
LAGUNA BEACH, CALIFORNIA – September 25, 2012 – The Healthcare Billing & Management Association (HBMA), the premier non-profit association of over 700 third-party medical billing companies and billing professionals, focused on advocacy during its three-day 2012 Fall Conference in the Washington, D.C. area.

Eighty HBMA members traveled to the Hill to hold meetings with their congressional representatives or aides, for a total of 120 meetings. Key topics discussed were: a) the strong possibility of a 27% cut in Medicare reimbursement effective January 1 due to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) index as a payment foundation, and ramifications of such, and b) Administrative Simplification – with so much duplication in the credentialing and enrollment processes.

The Opening Keynote for the HBMA conference was given by Speaker Newt Gingrich. He emphasized how we live in a fast-paced electronic world, yet CMS still conducts paper based audits. He spoke about the need for “intelligent innovation,” going to the people outside of Washington with the most knowledge in a given area. He referred to innovators in this country such as Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, the Wright brothers, and others, and all the failures they endured before achieving their successes. Speaker Gingrich stressed the importance of trying out new ideas, experimenting, and the need of having citizens bring answers to Washington rather than looking to Washington for answers. He stated, “I always believe you walk in with solutions.” Washington can implement solutions rather than address problems; there are always too many issues and no time to find answers.

The afternoon Keynote Address was on “The Future of Healthcare”, presented by David Cutler, PhD of MIT. Dr. Cutler served on the Council of Economic Advisors and the National Economic Council during the Clinton Administration and was the senior health care advisor for the Obama presidential campaign. Dr. Cutler spoke to the HBMA membership about major healthcare changes in the next decade, including exchanges through Medicaid and private insurances. Cutler stated, “we spend approximately $90 billion a year in lower back pain diagnoses; at least $50 billion could be eliminated.” There are pathways for almost every area in healthcare that are designed for higher quality outcomes. When they are followed, costs are lowered. He discussed the underlying cause of high expenses, one being poor organization.

Additional HBMA educational sessions included a presentation by Bill Rogers, MD, FACEP, Medical Officer, Office of the Administrator Director, Physician Regulatory Improvement Team Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). He addressed excessive spending and the unhealthy state of this country (number one in obesity). “The driver of these costs is defensive medicine,” stated Rogers. He also addressed quality reporting initiatives by CMS and other healthcare reforms.

Other important topics crucial to healthcare addressed at the HBMA conference included sessions on evolving client models and whether electronic health records (EHRs) increase liability, Stage 2 Meaningful Use, consolidation of revenue cycle management (RCM), ICD-10 update, process improvement with EHRs, compliance, and operational EHR opportunities for the medical biller.

HBMA President, Don Rodden, CHBME opened and concluded the conference with his remarks.

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