News in Brief: Week of May 5-9

May 09, 2014 11:00 am News Staff

This roundup includes the following news briefs:

[News in Brief]

CMS Confirms Official Pushback of ICD-10 Implementation

It's official: On April 1, the Protecting Access to Medicare Act of 2014 was enacted, stipulating that HHS may not adopt the ICD-10-CM code sets for outpatient diagnostic coding before Oct. 1, 2015. In accordance with that statute, the agency has announced( it plans to release an interim final rule in the near future that will outline a new compliance date that requires use of the revised codes by all entities covered by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) beginning on that date. The rule will also require HIPAA-covered entities to continue to use ICD-9-CM through Sept. 30, 2015.

Given the delay, CMS has said it is canceling plans for end-to-end testing of physicians' software systems and workflow processes in preparation for the transition; that testing had been scheduled for July 21-25.

Spread the Word to Young Patients About Play It Safe! Video Contest

A recently published report( from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the National Research Council (NRC) states that as many as 3.8 million sports- and recreation-related concussions and other traumatic brain injuries are reported each year in the United States.

As a way to raise public awareness about this public health dilemma, the IOM and NRC have announced the launch of a "Play it Safe" video public service announcement contest(, inviting youth ages 13-22 to create a 30- to 60-second video based on one of the following three themes:

  • How are you changing the culture of sports around concussions? What are you doing to overcome the "tough it out"/"playing hurt" mindset?
  • What message do you have for your teammates, coaches and parents about concussions?
  • How are your teammates and coaches working together to recognize the signs and symptoms of a concussion?

The winning entry in each of three school-age categories -- middle school, high school or post-high school up to age 22 -- will receive a $300 gift card. Entries will be accepted through May 30, and the winners will be announced on June 12.

Concussion Rates More Than Double in Seven Years, Says Study

According to a study( published online April 16 in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, concussion rates among U.S. high-school students increased from 0.23 to 0.51 concussions per 1,000 athlete exposures between 2005 and 2012.

Researchers analyzed data from the High School RIO (Reporting Information Online)( injury surveillance system, which contains observational data from a representative sample of 100 U.S. high schools that have at least one certified athletic trainer on staff.

According to the research team, however, the upward trend in reported concussions is most likely due to a heightened national awareness of concussions, particularly given the fact that the rates went up most steeply after the 2008-09 academic year, when states began passing legislation promoting education about concussions.

"Our theory is that more people are looking for concussions, and athletes, parents and coaches are being educated on the symptoms and importance of removal from participation, as well as treatment," said Joseph Rosenthal, clinical assistant professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Ohio State University and lead author of the study in a news release( "There is a greater emphasis on monitoring for injury."

Per Capita Health Care Spending Rate Among Elderly Slows, CMS Reports

Average annual growth in per capita personal health care spending among elderly Americans was just 4.1 percent between 2002 and 2010, which was the lowest rate seen among any of the age groups evaluated in a report from CMS recently published in Health Affairs(

Yet despite the lower growth rate, per capita spending by the elderly in 2010 ($18,424) remained triple that for working adults ($6,125) and five times more than that for children ($3,628).

The statistics were calculated using National Health Expenditure Accounts data, an annual measure of health care spending in the United States, as well as data from other sources. The spending estimates include costs for hospital care, physician and clinical services, and prescription drugs, and also reflect spending by types of insurers paying for care, such as Medicare and Medicaid.

Although per capita spending for children grew more rapidly between 2002 and 2010 than did spending among the other groups, aggregate spending for children grew at the slowest rate (5.7 percent) of all the groups as this population segment declined.

Also, between 2008 and 2010, the largest difference in average spending growth between males and females was for the working-age group (19-64). During this period, the average annual growth in per capita spending was 4 percent for males and 2.6 percent for females, a difference that researchers posited could be attributed to a decline in the birth rate, among other factors. Spending among females ages 19-44 slowed as they spent relatively less on maternity care.