In recent months, we have discussed both the basics of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). MACRA changes how Medicare pays for physician services, repeals the Medicare physician sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and instead provides predictable payment increases. MIPS is one of the two-path Quality Payment Program (QPP). (more…)
A record-breaking season! The perfect storm! No, we’re not talking about the movie that garners a mediocre 47% Rotten Tomatoes rating. If you recall, last month we discussed the perfect storm of a flu season that the U.S. experienced in 2017-2018. A particularly vicious strain, combined with other factors such as a flu test shortage and a less effective vaccine, which resulted in 30,429 laboratory-confirmed flu-associated hospitalizations in the U.S. Other parts of the world saw staggering numbers as well: North Korea reported more than 80,000 confirmed cases of the influenza strain H1N1 between December 1, 2017 and January 16, 2018; Japan saw almost three million cases by January 2018; and Britain experienced a severe season with a sharp increase in hospitalizations. (more…)
Hopefully you have the basics of MACRA mastered by now. As a refresher, the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act changes how Medicare pays for physician services and repeals the Medicare physician sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula and instead provides predictable payment increases. If you need an additional review of the program, read last month’s blog. (more…)
The flu. Patients don’t want to think about it and, this time of year, neither do physicians, especially after the 2017-2018 “perfect storm” of a season. We all have flu fatigue, if you will. So what happened to cause such a rampant season, and how can you prepare for next year? (more…)
What is MACRA, Anyway?
MACRA. MIPS. APMs. BLT. PB&J. Yes, the government is throwing more acronyms at you (it’s also possible one of those doesn’t belong!). So what is MACRA, and how do MIPS, APMs, and a plethora of other acronyms relate?
The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, or MACRA, was signed into law in 2015, and went into effect last year. It changes how Medicare pays for physician services and repeals the Medicare physician sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula providing predictable payment increases.
The Can’t-Miss Show in the Clinical Laboratory Community
The American Association for Clinical Chemistry (AACC) is holding its 70th Annual Scientific Meeting & Clinical Lab Expo on July 29 – August 2, 2018 in Chicago! This is the largest global scientific conference and tradeshow in laboratory medicine, with ~20,000 attendees from around the world and offers 750 exhibitors. AACC also provides Plenary Sessions featuring world-renowned scientists and scientific sessions covering a broad range of subjects at various experience levels, and focused “Brown Bag” sessions that give attendees the opportunity to pose questions in small groups. So get those safety glasses ready for a conference that showcases “the cutting-edge science and technology shaping the future of clinical testing and patient care.” (more…)
The use of Point of Care Testing (POCT) in hospitals is on the rise across Europe. In particular Emergency Departments (EDs) are adopting flu rapid tests to speed up time-to-diagnosis and address the burden on departments during flu season.
Rapid influenza diagnostic tests (RIDTs) are immunoassays for the identification of influenza A & B viral antigens in respiratory samples. In Europe, influenza generally occurs in epidemics between November and April each year – similar to the U.S. and other regions in the Northern Hemisphere. (more…)
Group A Streptococcus (Strep A) is one of the most important causes of acute upper respiratory tract infection. “Early diagnosis and treatment of Group A Streptococcal pharyngitis has been shown to reduce the severity of symptoms and further complications such as rheumatic fever and glomerulonephritis. “
Current Strep A Testing Methods
Labs have traditionally used conventional identification procedures for Group A Streptococcus from throat swabs, which involve the isolation and subsequent identification of viable pathogens by culture techniques that require 18-24 hours or longer. (more…)