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New opioid prescribing guidelines created to stem addiction

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) formally announced a draft of its new opioid prescribing guidelines on December 14. The guidelines aim to stem the rise of opioid addiction in the U.S. while still providing pain relief to patients who need it. Some of the key provisions of the CDC guidelines are:

• Consider the use of non-pharmacologic therapy and non-opioid therapy for chronic pain. Opioids should only be prescribed if the expected benefits for pain and function are greater than the risks.
• Establish treatment goals before starting long-term opioid therapy. Physicians should only continue prescribing opioids if there is “clinically meaningful improvement” that outweighs safety risks.
• When starting opioid therapy, doctors should prescribe short-acting opioids instead of extended-release, long-acting opioids.
• When opioids are started, doctors should prescribe the lowest possible effective dosage.
• When prescribing for acute pain, the lowest effective dose of short-acting opioids should be prescribed and only in quantities for the expected duration of the pain.
• Patients should be evaluated within one to four weeks of beginning long-term opioid therapy, and be reevaluated at once every three months afterwards to assess benefits and harms of continued treatment.

The guidelines are open for public comment until Jan. 13.

Update:
The opioid guidelines have been postponed to later in the year. Within days of being release, the guidelines were criticized as unfairly restrictive to patients needing pain care. The CDC will have the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control’s Board of Scientific Counselors review the guidelines and public comments on January 7. The comment section is still open at this time.

Deadline for December webcast fast approaching; Learning about survey hot spots for 2016

There’s still time to join the December webcast on CMS and Joint Commission hot spots for 2016.

Join Bud Pate, REHS, and Lisa Eddy, RN, CPHQ, on Wednesday, December 16 at 1 p.m. ET as they examine current survey focuses and point out where CMS and The Joint Commission will concentrate their efforts during your next survey.

In just 90 minutes, find out how to prepare for your next accreditation survey and comply with the most troublesome CMS and Joint Commission requirements. Pate and Eddy will provide strategies for preparing your staff for survey and give you valuable tips about what surveyors will expect when they arrive at your facility.

For more information and to register for the webcast, call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787 or visit the HCPro Marketplace.

Joint Commission and AABB partner to establish a patient blood management certification program

Starting in 2016, healthcare facilities that conduct blood transfusions will be able to receive a new form of certification from the Joint Commission and the AABB. The Patient Blood Management Certification program is aimed at educating hospitals on the benefits of an evidence-based, multidisciplinary approach to the transfusion decision-making process.

The AABB is an international association focusing on cellular therapies, transfusion medicine and blood management and the certification is based on their Standards for a Patient Blood Management Program. 

Boston Scientific issues immediate recall of device guidewires

The Boston Scientific Corp. issued an urgent medical device recall of its RotaWire “Elite” core wires and wireClip Torquer guidewires on November 27. The company said the guidewires may crack and detach from the Rotablator Rotational Atherectomy System (RRAS). The RRAS is used to open narrow arteries and cut away at plaque, improving blood flow to the heart. When the guidewires crack, the pieces can be left inside the artery causing tamponade or heart attacks. Boston Medical has learned of three incidents of guidewires cracking so far, with one case resulting in a patient’s death.

The recall comes in the wake of a FDA safety communication on intravascular devices. Since 2014, the FDA has received 500 medical device reports on peeling hydrophilic and/or hydrophobic coatings on intravascular devices, with the majority of reports submitted for vascular guidewires.

The FDA encourages healthcare professionals and patients to report adverse events or side effects related to the use of these products to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program. Facilities still using these guidewires are told to stop using them immediately. All affected products should be returned to Boston Scientific and distributors should notify any customer who may have received the product.

CMS seeks feedback on new survey for long-term, acute-care hospitals

CMS is asking Medicare patients or their family members to help them develop a new patient-satisfaction survey of long-term, acute-care facilities. The comments will help CMS decide what sorts of information the survey will need to collect. Some of the suggested topics areas include:

• Communication with providers
• Mechanical ventilation
• Therapy services
• Wound care
• Pain management/control or non-pain symptom management
• Rehabilitation services
• Medical and nursing care
• Interdisciplinary team goal setting and care planning
• Family training
• Discharge planning

The survey will also be used in Medicare’s quality reporting program, meaning facilities that fail to deliver data could get a 2% reduction in their payment updates. CMS is accepting comments until 5 p.m. on Jan. 19.

Joint Commission puts antimicrobial stewardship standard up for field review

The Joint Commission seeks comments from healthcare facilities about a proposed standard that would require organizations to establish antimicrobial stewardship programs. The purpose of the new standard is to decrease the use of antimicrobials whenever possible to prevent the creation of drug-resistant strains of disease.

The deadline to provide feedback via comments or completing a survey is December 30.

Read the proposed standard and submit your comments here.

Readmissions plummet for elderly joint replacement patients

A recent AARP report revealed a significant drop in elderly patients being readmitted within 30 days of a hip or knee replacement surgery. Between 2009-2013, unplanned readmissions for knee replacement patients aged 65-84 dropped by 36%. Readmissions for hip replacement patients dropped by 38% in the same time frame.

The report attributes this success in part to the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes hospitals for excessive readmission rates for certain conditions.

Lowered readmissions become increasingly important as the number of hip and knee replacements rise. According to the American Association of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS), the number of total hip replacements have doubled since 1993 and knee replacements have tripled.

Read the full AARP report here.

December webcast to highlight survey hot spots for 2016

What are the CMS and Joint Commission hot spots for 2016? Join Bud Pate, REHS, and Lisa Eddy, RN, CPHQ, on Wednesday, December 16 at 1 p.m. ET as they examine current survey focuses and point out where CMS and The Joint Commission will concentrate their efforts during your next survey.

In just 90 minutes, find out how to prepare for your next accreditation survey and comply with the most troublesome CMS and Joint Commission requirements. Pate and Eddy will provide strategies for preparing your staff for survey and give you valuable tips about what surveyors will expect when they arrive at your facility.

For more information and to register for the webcast, call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787 or visit the HCPro Marketplace.

Joint Commission releases list of top performing hospitals

The Joint Commission just released its annual report on improving quality and safety in 3,300 American hospitals. The report recognizes 1,043 hospitals as the best facilities in the “Top Performer on Key Quality Measures” program. Within that group, 23 hospitals collected and reported data on seven or more core measure sets in 2014 and were named top performers in all of those areas.

The Joint Commission shows its results as “composites,” or the sum of all the accountability measures and steps taken to meet certain measure sets. This is the first year the accreditor had data on its new tobacco treatment and substance use measure sets, reporting tobacco measure compliance at 75.8% and substance use at 58.2%. The report found that the most improved area was perinatal care, which jumped from a composite score of 74.1% in 2013 to 96.3% in 2014.

However, only 80.3% of accredited hospitals that received a total composite score greater than 95% this year. This marks a 0.8% decrease from the prior year, which the report claims is due to hospitals adjusting to the new tobacco treatment and substance use measure sets.

Read the full report here.

We need your feedback on accreditation books!

Hi there,

We’re in the process of planning for 2016 and would love your feedback to ensure that we provide you with the information that is most useful for you. What are your biggest accreditation-related challenges and priorities?

Now is your chance to tell us what topics you would like covered in 2016 and beyond.

Click here for the survey. As always, your information will be kept confidential.

Everyone who completes the survey will be registered for chance to win $50 to be used at www.hcmarketplace.com.

Thanks!