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Final HIPAA rule released

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act's final rule adopting the National Provider Identifier (NPI) as the standard unique health identifier for health care providers. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services expect use of the NPI to increase efficiency and decrease costs, as providers will no longer have to track, maintain, and use multiple identification numbers.


The rule becomes effective 16 months after May 23, 2005, so providers won't need to take action before that date. All covered entities, excluding small health plans, must comply by May 23, 2007; small health plans have until May 23, 2008.


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Study reveals consumer emphasis on quality, not quantity

Reports indicating that health care consumers may use a hospital's procedural volume number as an indicator of quality for coronary artery bypass graft surgery (CABG) drove researchers to conduct a study to determine that theory's veracity. After studying results from 267,089 CABG procedures performed at 439 hospitals across the nation, researchers found that circumstances such as age and low-operative risk affected outcomes. They concluded in a Journal of the American Medical Association article that hospital procedural volume shares a modest association with CABG outcomes. Consequently, volume might not be a proper quality metric for CABG surgery.


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Mark your calendar

Earn up to 10.8 CE credits by joining Nursing Management at this year's Recruitment & Retention Conference in New Orleans, La., April 30 to May 2. Book your attendance by March 30 to receive the super early conference rate; accommodations are available at the New Orleans Marriott. To download a brochure, visit