iMAXX Medical Billing Solutions Knowledge Hub

iMAX Medical Billing Knowledge Hub

Here’s how Ohio is working to reduce opioid prescriptions


Ohio has the second highest rate of drug overdose-related deaths in the country. Alternatives to traditional medical treatments may be preventing the problem from worsening. Patients who suffer from pain might see alternative forms of relief besides opioid related medication, according to new standards from the Joint Commission. The Ohio health organizations, many of which are certified by the Joint Commission (which certifies thousands of healthcare organizations throughout the country), released a new pain assessment and management standards on Jan. 1 in response to increasing reliance on opioid medication used to treat pain in hospital patients. Ohio has the second highest rate of drug



CMS Makes Late Changes to 2018 HCPCS II


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced January changes to the 2018 HCPCS Level II code set, released in November 2017.  The changes to C codes include retroactive effective dates and to several elements in G codes. The changes are below and do not show up in any publishers’ books: CODE ACTION EFF DATE SHORT DESC LONG DESC C9488 Change ASC Ind/ASC eff date 4/1/2017 C9745 Change ASC Ind/ASC eff date 7/1/2017 C9746 Change ASC Ind/ASC eff date 7/1/2017 C9747 Change ASC Ind/ASC eff date 7/1/2017 C9748 Change ASC Ind/ASC eff date 1/1/2018 G0279 Revise Long Desc 1/1/2018



Fear of heroin turning drug users toward methamphetamine


Law enforcement and treatment center officials are seeing a trend of drug users turning to methamphetamine out of fear of heroin’s deadly consequences. Numbers across the state and locally reflect that trend from samples sent to Ohio’s Bureau of Criminal Investigation to indictments through the U.S. 23 Task Force. In 2016, the U.S. 23 Task Force reported it seized 44 grams of methamphetamine. Last year, it reported it seized 1,130 grams of meth. The task force reported 101 total indictments in 2016 and 211 the following year. According to the Ohio Attorney General’s Office, the number of meth cases BCI



Stuck in an opioids crisis, officials turn to acupuncture


Marine veteran Jeff Harris was among the first to sign up when the Providence VA hospital started offering acupuncture for chronic pain. “I don’t like taking pain medication. I don’t like the way it makes me feel,” he said. Harris also didn’t want to risk getting addicted to heavy-duty prescription painkillers. Although long derided as pseudoscience and still questioned by many medical experts, acupuncture is increasingly being embraced by patients and doctors, sometimes as an alternative to the powerful painkillers behind the nation’s opioid crisis. The military and Veterans Affairs medical system has been offering acupuncture for pain for several



Waging the war against overdose deaths in Athens County


Over the last seven years, a total of 66 people have died in Athens County as a result of overdoses – many of those due to abuse of opioid drugs such as heroin. Athens County’s not immune to the opioid addiction crisis sweeping much of America. But the death rate here in recent years (an average of about 10 per year) hasn’t been as bad as it has been in other poor Appalachian or rural counties in Ohio (many of them in the southern tier of rural counties along the Ohio River). Why is that? But more importantly, what is



Access to synthetic opioids keeps overdose number climbing


The toll of fatal overdoses only continues to climb, driven by an increase in potent, deadly synthetic opioids. Despite a growing awareness of the problem, access to treatment, more law enforcement, and everyday citizens carrying the antidote naloxone, the number of fatal overdoses is growing in Ohio. A major contributing factor has been the increased potency of synthetic opioids. In 2016 there were 4,050 fatal drug overdoses statewide. A majority of those deaths were attributed to opioids including heroin, fentanyl, and prescription drugs, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Fentanyl and related drugs were involved in 58.2 percent of



ODH Issues Advisory on Continuing Increase in Fentanyl-Related Overdose Deaths Involving Non-Opioids


The Ohio Department of Health issued the following advisory today concerning the continuing increase of fentanyl-related overdose deaths involving non-opioids such as cocaine and methamphetamines/other psychostimulants, urging first responders to administer naloxone for drug overdoses even when non-opioids are indicated.   Preliminary 2017 data shows a continuing increase in fentanyl-related drug overdose deaths, including an increase in overdose deaths involving both cocaine and fentanyl, as well as methamphetamines/other psychostimulants and fentanyl.   Preliminary 2017 data indicates that 71 percent of all unintentional drug overdose deaths involved fentanyl or a fentanyl analogue. By comparison, 58 percent of overdose deaths did so



Physician practices forced to use paper records lash out at Allscripts over ransomware response


Allscripts is still working to bring its cloud-hosted services back online after a ransomware attack took down several applications, prompting an outcry from physicians who lost access to their EHR and appointment systems. In a notice to Allscripts clients early Monday morning, the company said its Electronic Prescriptions for Controlled Substances (EPCS) had been restored, but the company is still working to restore cloud-hosted services like Allscripts PM and its Professional EHR. Those outages are becoming increasingly frustrating for smaller physician practices that have resorted to pen and paper after having no access to medical records, scheduling or payment systems



In just two hours, Amazon erased $30 billion in market value for healthcare’s biggest companies


Amazon has disrupted fashion, books, furniture, food, cloud-based storage services, and much else besides. Now, it’s coming for one of the biggest, most complex industries in the US: healthcare. Today (Jan. 30), Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, and JPMorgan announced a vague but market-moving plan to launch an independent company that will offer healthcare services to the companies’ employees at a lower cost. The venture, which will be managed by executives from the firms, will be run more like a non-profit, than a for-profit entity. The market value of 10 large, listed health insurance and pharmacy stocks 1 dropped by a combined $30 billion in the



The Opioid Crisis Is Getting Worse, Particularly for Black Americans


  The epidemic of drug overdoses, often perceived as a largely white rural problem, made striking inroads among black Americans last year — particularly in urban counties where fentanyl has become widespread. Although the steep rise in 2016 drug deaths has been noted previously, these are the first numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to break down 2016 mortality along geographic and racial lines. They reveal that the drug death rate is rising most steeply among blacks, with those between the ages of 45 and 64 among the hardest hit. Drug deaths among blacks in urban counties rose