By Chris Willman | February 16, 2019 at 8:19 am The former members of R.E.M. are becoming old hands at responding to Donald Trump appropriating their music for his own purposes. And they’re actually getting kinder and gentler — or maybe just more sardonic — in their reactions. When the president retweeted a meme that makes a mocking use of “Everybody Hurts” to mock Democrats on Friday, the band struck back by invoking another of their classic songs. “World Leader PRETEND!!!” the group said in a statement. “Congress, Media — ghost this faker!!! Love, R.E.M.” That was in response to Trump spreading a video that rips off R.E.M.’s 1992 ballad of consolation amid emotional devastation — a song that’s been associated with suicide prevention causes — as the soundtrack for a montage of Democratic lawmakers with glum or stern faces during his State of the Union address. In prior instances of Trump borrowing the … [Read more...] about R.E.M. responds to Trump lifting ‘Everybody Hurts’ for a mocking meme: ‘World Leader PRETEND!!!’
Recently, I got this e-mail forwarded to me. It started out with the headerWorld shame coast in COSTA RICA Followed by images like these: and it concluded with the message:Please distribute widely. The Turtle eggs are stolen to be sold. The planet is thankful for the forwarding of this email. The e-mail isn't an isolated incident. A quick internet search will immediately bring up sites like this one, heralding the extinction of sea turtles in Costa Rica due to the illegal harvest of their eggs. Look, I know it looks bad. Yes, the photos are real and of people taking thousands of sea turtle eggs from the Ostional Wildlife Refuge in Costa Rica. Yes, all seven species of sea turtles in the world are endangered. And yes, in general, it's illegal to even touch a sea turtle egg without a permit. But the people in these photos aren't doing anything illegal, and the Costa Rican olive ridley population is just fine. In fact, harvesting eggs may be helping the sea turtle populations. Let me … [Read more...] about I get e-mail, too.
Dive Brief: CMS has finalized the Physician Fee Schedule for 2019, pushing back a controversial flattening of E/M codes to 2021 after a backlash from providers and physicians. The rule also cuts some E/M documentation requirements and removes duplicative notation requirements. New payments for a number of telehealth services, including prolonged preventative services, virtual check-ins and evaluation of videos and photos submitted by established patients are also part of the rule. In following the Trump administration's efforts to lower the cost of drugs, it halves the add-on percentage CMS pays when acquiring new drugs under Medicare Part B, from 6% to 3%. Time-sensitive rules were also finalized for Accountable Care Organizations under the Medicare Shared Savings Program. CMS is now allowing voluntary six-month extensions for ACOs whose agreements end in December and providing relief for ACOs impacted by recent natural disasters. The agency has also cut eight … [Read more...] about After provider uproar, CMS steps back from major E/M revamp
Most healthcare players agree the evaluation and management billing codes used by CMS need an overhaul, but few like the manner to do so proposed by the agency. Some specialists are calling for the proposed rule to be put on hold (a final rule drop is expected next month). Oncologists in particular are voicing their frustration, and would be among those hardest hit financially, with office visit payments likely to drop about 15% under the proposal. While clinicians and hospital groups have pushed for an easing of paperwork requirements for years, what they weren't expecting, and what many say they never asked for, was a change to E/M billing codes proposed in 2019 Physician Fee Schedule. The change would consolidate billing codes for office visits, an effort to reduce documentation and reporting requirements. The overwhelming majority oppose the proposal, which would whittle payment rates for eight existing office visit services for new and established patients down to … [Read more...] about CMS bid to overhaul E/M codes leaves few happy
Dive Brief: Nearly 300 patient and provider groups and other health organizations sent two separate letters to CMS Administrator Seema Verma to protest proposed evaluation and management (E/M) service changes in the 2019 Physician Payment Rule. A letter that included the American Medical Association and about 150 other groups did praise the rule's effort to cut back on physician paperwork. However, another letter that was signed by 126 groups said "this proposed approach to reducing paperwork would have unintended consequences for Medicare beneficiaries" like doctors responding to the rate cuts by spending less time with patients or cherry-picking the healthiest patients. Dive Insight: CMS proposed a change in its 2019 physician fee schedule that would consolidate billing codes for E/M office visits. It's part of a move to reduce Medicare provider documentation and reporting burdens. However, opponents to the proposal say it will hurt specialists and lead to flat payments … [Read more...] about Hundreds of groups raise concerns about E/M payment proposal