Often, while talking to industry experts for a certain topic, I uncover an entirely new story. And lately, that emerging story is one of fatigue. For recent articles, I’ve reported on 5010, ICD-10 and meaningful use. Conversations that drill down into these topics increasingly begin with the phrase, “We have a lot on our plate.”

Simply put, providers are starting to reel under the weight of these multiple—and concurrent—federal mandates and programs. There are more than these three—there’s also the looming specter of health reform, with its accountable care organizations, adoption of more uniform HIPAA transactions and potential expansion of the insured Medicaid pool. There are looming payment audits under Medicare, whose RAC program is an after-the-fact effort to reclaim inappropriately paid claims, and commercial carriers likely will launch similar audits. As federal officials ramp up privacy and security enforcement, providers will have to enhance their protection of health information. To top it all off, there are some serious labor shortages among the key personnel needed to cope with these programs.

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