Grady on Verge of Collapse, report says

Grady Health System will shut its doors, flooding other Atlanta hospitals with a “patient tsunami” of the indigent unless it overhauls its governing system and lines up new funding sources, a Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce task force said in a report to be released today.


PRN Funding, LLC felt that this article might be of particular interest to those vendors who are selling within the Atlanta metropolitan area. To date, our current clients serving Grady Hospital are being paid within 30 days, but things might start to change now that this announcement has been made. Click here to read the entire article: Grady on verge of collapse, report says.

Forbes: The Best and Worst States for Healthcare

In an effort to address the rising costs of healthcare and champion the case for universal healthcare coverage, The Commonwealth Fund conducted a new study of the best and worst states for health care. The report said, “Moving toward universal coverage is critical for improving quality and delivering more cost-effective care, as well as ensuring access to care.”


The independent group ranked each state according to 32 different categories including but not limited to: access to health coverage, costs and preventability of hospital admissions, how the poor and uninsured fare under a state’s particular system, and the general healthiness of people’s lives. Overall, its study rated Hawaii, Iowa, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine as the best states, while Oklahoma, Mississippi, Texas, Arkansas and Nevada as the worst.


Click here to read the story on The Best and Worst States for Health Care.


How immigration reform will affect the nursing shortage

Each year there are about 12,000 to15,000 foreign nurses accepted into the USA through the current immigration system, and if the new proposal is approved, hospital recruiters worry that it will become even more difficult to fill the 118,000 nurse deficit.


Under the new bill, hospitals would no longer be able to seek out nurses with specific expertise, and American-bound nurses would no longer have to be screened by the Commission on Graduates of Foreign Nursing Schools (CGFNS).


Click here to read the article: Hospitals fear the loss of control finding nurses.

MTSOs & Platform Providers Battle for Clients

For years now, small and mid-sized medical transcription services owners (MTSOs) have worried about how new speech recognition technology and off-shoring will or won’t affect the MT marketplace. Now a new issue has arisen, and it has the potential to be the most threatening to the current livelihood of small and mid-sized MTSOs who are already battling for business in a competitive industry.

In an article that appeared in May’s edition of For the Record Magazine, writer Elizabeth S. Roop describes a “high-priced tug-of-war” match with MTSOs pulling on one side of the rope and larger technology companies yanking on the other. Click here to read the article: MTSOs & Platform Providers Battle for Clients, Control.

Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) to stop using preset rates

In a settlement announced last month, the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association (AzHHA) agreed to stop using preset rates for determining what its member hospitals will pay nurse staffing firms. The U.S. Department of Justice said the practice unlawfully prevented the firms from offering their services to higher-bidding hospitals.


A statement from the Justice Department’s antitrust division said that the hospitals’ rate-setting practice was illegally and unfairly depressing the wages paid to registry nurses, saving the hospitals up to $12.7 million a year at the nurses’ expense. The antitrust division statement asserted that the settlement would restore competition in the market for temporary nursing services in Arizona.


According to the lawsuit, AzHHA used advertising materials that estimated that the bill rates its members paid to nurse staffing companies were as much as 12% lower than they would have been if hospitals contracted directly with the staffing firms. Consequently, nurses working for the staffing firms that contracted with the hospital association made less money than nurses not hired through the AzHHA Registry, a group purchasing organization for temporary nursing services.


The proposed settlement deal would prohibit AzHHA member hospitals from exchanging information with other members about what each pays. As long as each hospital gets to directly negotiate rates with nurse staffing companies, the settlement allows the association to maintain its central registry for hiring nurses and to set standards for training, background checks, and insurance. The settlement must be approved by a federal judge.

-Anne Duffy

Q: If this settlement goes through, how do you think it will affect other group purchasing initiatives?

Phil Cohen’s article featured in April e-Perspectives

PRN Funding’s very own president had an article featured in the April 2007 issue of e-Perspectives.  In his article, How to be an A+ Tradeshow Attendee, Cohen gives medical transcription service owners (MTSOs) advice on the importance of attending industry trade shows.  Among the more popular trade shows Cohen suggests attending are MTIA’s and AHDI’s (formerly AAMT) annual conferences.Click here to read Phil Cohen’s article on the PRN web site: How to be an A+ Trade Show Attendee.

Q: Do you have any other suggestions for trade shows worth attending?

Joint Task Force Recommends MT Industry adopt visual black characters

There’s no question that the need for a standard unit of measure within the medical transcription industry is long overdue. With that said, earlier this year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) and the Medical Transcription Industry Association (MTIA) Joint Task Force on Standards Development gave its formal recommendation that the MT industry should adopt visual black character (VBC) as the standard unit of measure for the medical transcription of medical records.


Originally a discussion topic within MTIA’s Billing, Methods and Principles (BMP) Committee, a statement outlining five billing method principles (Verifiability, Definability, Measurability, Consistency and Integrity) was developed to help identify key business practices. The BMP Committee’s principles later helped define the VBC.


As detailed in A Standard Unit of Measure for Transcribed Reports, the Joint Task Force defines VBC as “a character that can be seen with the naked eye.” Spaces, bolding, underlining and spell checking are among the configurations that would not be counted using this new measurement. In order to help MTSOs, medical transcriptionists and other industry professionals better understand the VBC, AHIMA/MTIA released a FAQs.


The medical transcription industry has developed a reputation of questionable integrity based on the unethical actions of a few rogue firms that have taken advantage of the fact that a line was virtually immeasurable. This should serve to level the playing field and let the best companies thrive. Needless to say, PRN Funding supports this standardizing venture.