Politics & policy

Insight into federal and state health care legislation & CMS regulation

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The Year 2000 bug is quite the menace. HCFA doesn't really have a handle on the problem, according to Illinois Republican Rep. John Porter, chairman of the House panel that oversees the agency's operations. Porter said HCFA is in deep trouble because only 40 percent of its almost 500 "mission-critical" computer systems currently are compliant with Year 2000 requirements.... It's called Smart Choices — and it's expected to receive hundreds of thousands of hits in the near future. This new section of HHS's Web site www.healthfinder.gov helps consumers locate doctors and hospitals, report fraud and complaints in the health industry and obtain information on chronic diseases and preventive health care.... Managed care enrollees — for the first time — were included in the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission's annual survey of 16,500 Medicare beneficiaries. And guess what? The MedPAC survey found that a higher number of managed care beneficiaries were satisfied with the availability of health care than were fee-for-service beneficiaries.... New long-term, acute-care hospitals will receive a 15-percent reimbursement hike. The agency increased their reimbursement limit under Medicare to $21,494 per discharge. The change is expected to take effect this month.

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