EMRs; financial fraud; investor education; online real estate listings; new-car problems.
After several other major medical societies declined to support the initiative, the American Academy of Family Physicians is proceeding with development of an electronic medical record system, and has applied for a grant for a pilot test from CMS.The AAFP hopes its open-source EMRusing a core program donated by one vendor and allowing others to write applications for itwill lower the cost barrier for members to acquire an EMR and will promote standardization. The basic EMR software, developed by Santa Clara, CA-based MedPlexus, will cost a physician as little as $125 a month, according to FP Douglas E. Henley, executive vice president of the AAFP.
The IRS is snaring a high number of doctors for tax fraud during the current fiscal year. Between October 2002 and March 2003, the IRS initiated 43 investigations of health care professionals for tax and financial-related crimes, and convicted 18 in schemes ranging from failing to file returns to money laundering. Those convicted will serve an average sentence of 10 months.
Are you at risk of becoming a victim of financial fraud? An online quiz can help you measure your financial savvy. The North American Securities Administrators Association and the Canadian Securities Administrators have published an interactive investment fraud awareness quiz. To take the 12-question quiz, visit the NASAA's Web site at www.nasaa.org . The questions cover investment risk, fraudulent products, dealing with securities salespeople, and the role of government securities regulators.
The Federal Reserve has beefed up its investor education site to help consumers make better financial decisions. The Web site, at www.federalreserveeducation.org , offers articles on banking, consumer protection, loans, interest rates, and financial matters.
How can home buyers get access to all the information about available properties compiled under multiple listings? They'll be able to do it online by the end of the year, but they'll have to sign an agreement with a real estate agent before getting a necessary password to Web sites maintained by the realty agency, under new rules adopted by the National Association of Realtors.
Multiple listing services include more information than online advertisements now displayed at most real estate sites. MLS listings show how long houses have been on the market and whether their prices have been reduced, among other information.
Although many new car buyers are wary of new or redesigned models, their quality is actually pretty good, says J.D. Power and Associates. Since 1998, redesigned models have had an average of only five more problems per 100 vehicles during the launch year than in the preceding year. For 2003 models, vehicles manufactured by Toyota Motor Sales USA (Lexus and Toyota) were the most problem-free. Suzuki is the most improved, due largely to the new Aerio.
Yvonne Wollenberg. Online UPDATES.
Jul. 11, 2003;80.