News in Brief: Week of July 8-12

July 10, 2013 04:42 pm News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

CMS Delays Enforcement of DME Face-to-Face Requirement

CMS recently announced that it would delay until Oct. 1( enforcement of a portion of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that establishes a face-to-face encounter requirement for durable medical equipment (DME) items.

The law requires physicians to document that a physician, nurse practitioner, physician assistant or clinical nurse specialist had a face-to-face encounter with the patient within six months before placing a DME order.

The agency cited concerns that some physicians and suppliers might need additional time to establish protocols that would enable them to comply with the requirement; the new deadline gives them an additional three months to prepare for implementation of the law.

AAFP/USPSTF Issue Updated POAG Recommendations

The AAFP and the United States Preventive Services Task Force( (USPSTF) have said that insufficient evidence exists to assess the balance of benefits and harms of screening for primary open-angle glaucoma in adults.

According to the USPSTF, the task force reviewed more than 100 studies on the accuracy of various screening tests for glaucoma, citing methodological limitations, variability in study designs and a lack of a diagnostic standard for glaucoma as the main reasons for the latest recommendation.

Approximately 2.5 million individuals in the United States have glaucoma, and many are unaware that they have it. Important risk factors include older age, family history of the condition, and being black. The overall estimated prevalence of glaucoma in the United States is 1.9 percent.

Free Webinar Focuses on CMS Quality Programs

Registration is now open for a free CMS webinar( titled "Quality Measurement 101: What Providers Need to Know About CMS Quality Programs."

During the webinar, which is scheduled for July 16 from 12-1:30 p.m. EDT, CMS quality experts will explain the basic elements of CMS' Physician Quality Reporting System(, the value-based payment modifier( and maintenance of certification.

Registered participants will receive follow-up e-mail instructions about how to access the webinar.

Bipartisan Policy Center Launches Effort to Improve Employee Health

The Bipartisan Policy Center has launched a new CEO Council on Health and Innovation( that will share innovative strategies and encourage the adoption of best practices to improve the health and wellness of employees in large and medium-sized companies.

The CEO Council, made up of chief executives of some of the nation's largest employers, will promote workable strategies that have the greatest opportunity for widespread adoption and impact. The council plans to publish the strategies and best practices in early 2014.

As part of this effort, the council will engage national employers and will rely for guidance on a health care advisory board(, which will include leaders of the AAFP and other organizations representing consumers, clinicians, health plans, health professionals and hospitals.

Community Health Centers Receive $150 Million to Help Uninsured Access Care

HHS has announced( it is providing $150 million in new grant funding to help health centers enroll uninsured Americans in new health insurance options provided as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The health centers are expected to use the grant money to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers who will educate consumers about their insurance options and help them enroll in various programs if they qualify, according to HHS. The Affordable Care Act has sought to increase health insurance coverage through expansions in the Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Programs and through a new Health Insurance Marketplace.

The awards are part of the Obama administration's efforts to facilitate access to the new insurance options, says HHS. The administration has launched a consumer-focused website and a 24-hour-a-day consumer call center to help consumers understand their coverage options and apply for programs that best meets their needs.