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Join an Accreditation Specialist Boot Camp near you!

Accreditation and quality professionals are being asked to do more than ever to comply with major changes coming out of CMS and The Joint Commission. Our expert instructors can help you with that.

Throughout the year, HCPro will be hosting a series of two-and-a-half day Accreditation Specialist Boot Camps nationwide. Every class is taught by the industry’s top instructors who have years of real-world experience and expertise in accreditation professional education.

April 11-13: Brentwood, Greater Nashville Area, TN

HCPro Boot Camps logo

June 27-29: Billerica, Greater Boston Area, MA

August 29-31: Schaumburg, Greater Chicago Area, IL

October 3-5: Torrance, Los Angeles, CA

December 12-14: Orlando, FL

We call it a boot camp because it’s focused, in-depth training and when you finish the class, you’ll be an accreditation expert and ready to handle whatever your organization needs, such as:

  • Identifying organizational weaknesses to improve survey results
  • Knowing which regulations are applicable to your organization
  • Interpreting accreditation standards and regulations
  • Maintaining organizational readiness and identify vulnerabilities
  • Implementing continuous survey readiness plans
  • Coordinating site visits
  • Identifying future trends likely to affect organizational compliance,
  • Responding to survey results, findings, and Requirements for Improvement

The Accreditation Specialist Boot Camps provide in-depth explanations of CMS and Joint Commission requirements, and briefly cover HFAP and DNV standards if students are accredited by those bodies. Instructors focus on teaching participants how to integrate continuous survey readiness into daily operations. Plus, you will leave with an entire catalogue of tools, templates, and resources that you can use at your organization.

Unique features of this Boot Camp include:

  • Custom-designed course materials: All course materials were custom developed for the Boot Camp’s intensive learning format
  • Take-home tools: Head home armed with customizable tools that will save you time
  • Hands-on teaching methods: Each course module includes exercises that are reviewed and discussed in class
  • Small class size: The number of participants is limited to retain a low student-teacher ratio

Sign up today! 



Senate overwhelmingly confirms new FDA Chief


Dr. Robert Califf was confirmed as the new FDA Commissioner by the Senate on Feb. 24.

Dr. Robert Califf was confirmed as the new FDA Commissioner by the Senate on Feb. 24.

On February 24, the U.S. Senate voted to confirm Robert Califf, MD, as the new Food and Drug Administration (FDA) commissioner. The Senate vote in Califf’s favor was 89-4, ending a yearlong debate over his suitability.

Califf, a former medical researcher at Duke University, was nominated for the position by President Obama back in January 2015. Despite having widespread support from many patient advocacy groups, academics, and medical societies, his confirmation had been delayed by a small group of senators who said they were concerned about how Califf’s links to the pharmaceutical industry would affect his response to the prescription opioid epidemic.


Sepsis redefined

The definition of sepsis and septic shock was updated on February 22, to eliminate nonspecific and misleading criteria previously used for diagnosing. An international task force said the updated definitions no longer require two or more systemic inflammatory response syndrome (SIRS) criteria as part of a sepsis diagnosis.

“The SIRS criteria do not necessarily indicate a dysregulated, life-threatening response,” the task force wrote. “SIRS criteria are present in many hospitalized patients, including those who never develop infection and never incur adverse outcomes.”

The new sepsis definition includes evidence for infection, plus life-threatening organ dysfunction. Septic shock is now defined to include sepsis with fluid-unresponsive hypotension, serum lactate level greater than 2 mmol/L, and the need for vasopressors to maintain mean arterial pressure of 65 mm Hg or greater.

Read the full article at HealthLeaders Media

Joint Commission releases Sentinel Event Alert on suicide screening

A new Sentinel Event Alert from The Joint Commission focuses on how primary, emergency, and behavioral healthcare facilities and staff can better identify and treat suicidal patients.

Suicides are the 10th leading cause of death in America, resulting in 41,149 deaths in 2013.  The Joint Commission’s Sentinel Event Database has logged 1,089 reports of patient suicides between 2010-2014, with the most common cause being failure to assess a patient as suicidal.

Sentinel Event Alert 56 advises physicians how to conduct screening, risk assessment, safety, treatment, discharge, and follow-up care recommendations for at-risk individuals.

Click here for the Joint Commission’s infographic on detecting and treating suicide ideation. 

And click here for Joint Commission requirements involving suicide.

President Obama says no to capping opioids

With opioid addictions and deaths on the rise, members of the National Governors Association (NGA) recommended that physicians be given a limit to the number of opioids they can prescribe. On February 22, the association presented its proposal to President Obama, who politely rejected it, saying that sometimes painkillers are the only effective treatment for patients.

CDC Age-adjusted rates for drug-poisoning deaths, by type of drug: United States 2000-2013

Age- CDC Age-adjusted rates for drug-poisoning deaths, by type of drug: United States 2000-2013

“If we go to doctors right now and say ‘Don’t overprescribe’ without providing some mechanisms for people in these communities to deal with the pain that they have or the issues that they have, then we’re not going to solve the problem, because the pain is real, the mental illness is real,” Obama said. “In some cases, addiction is already there.”

The NGA also hadn’t developed a solid number to cap prescriptions at, and Obama said that any attempt to limit prescriptions needs to be a part of a comprehensive approach.

The president’s opinion was supported by Steven Stack, the president of the American Medical Association.

“The complexity of the problem makes it difficult to create a successful one-size-fits-all approach,” Stack said in a statement.

Obama applauded the NGA’s bipartisan commitment to ending the opioid crisis, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention now reports kills 78 Americans per day.

Joint Commission seeks comments on proposed National Patient Safety Goal on pediatric CT imaging

The Joint Commission is seeking input on a proposed National Patient Safety Goal (NPSG) on Pediatric Computed Tomography (CT) Imaging. The NPSG is being used to examine how often CT scans are used unnecessarily on children, increasing their exposure to radiation.

Interested parties can click here to read the proposed requirements. The comment section will be open until March 31, 2016 and you can respond to the Joint Commission via:

The Joint Commission
Standards and Survey Methods
NPSG on Pediatric Computed Tomography
One Renaissance Blvd.
Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181


New Diagnostic Imaging Services standards released

The Joint Commission has just released new prepublication standards for any facilities with diagnostic imaging services. The requirements address the minimum qualifications needed for personnel to conduct diagnostic computed tomography exams. The changes will be released in print on July 1 but won’t go into effect until September 1.

CMS: Nationally recognized hospital quality measures released

CMS and a consortium of health organizations and insurers on February 16 revealed a new agreement to create a nationally accepted set of quality measures for hospitals and physicians. The agency said the new measure sets will improve consumer decision-making, value-based payment and purchasing, reduce the variability in measure selection, and decrease the collection burden and cost for providers.

“In the U.S. healthcare system, where we are moving to measure and pay for quality, patients and care providers deserve a uniform approach to measure quality,” acting CMS Administrator Andy Slavitt said in a news release. “This agreement today will reduce unnecessary burden for physicians and accelerate the country’s movement to better quality.”

CMS has been working with members of the Core Quality Measures Collaborative (CQMC) on the seven measure sets, with links to the new measures included below:

  1. Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), Patient Centered Medical Homes (PCMH), and Primary Care
  2. Cardiology
  3. Gastroenterology 
  4. HIV and Hepatitis C 
  5. Medical Oncology
  6. Obstetrics and Gynecology 
  7. Orthopedics

CMS says the promotion of evidence-based measurement will help patients, consumers, and physicians.  Some of the CQMC members now recognizing the new measures include:

  • Aetna
  • America’s Health Insurance Plans, Inc.
  • Anthem
  • BlueCross BlueShield Association;
  • Cigna
  • HealthPartners
  • Humira
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • The American Academy of Family Physicians
  • The American Medical Association
  • The National Partnership for Women and Families
  • The National Quality Forum
  • United Health Insurance




Report: Vaccines the key to reducing superbugs

Developing new antibiotics is a notoriously difficult task and the rampant misuse of existing antibiotics have made them ineffective against many types of diseases, known as superbugs. Superbugs have become a global health concern, with governments and drug makers joining forces to tackle the problem.

Suggested solutions have included behavioral changes to how doctors prescribe antibiotics, increased collaboration between medical researchers and no longer giving antibiotics to livestock.

The United Kingdom’s Review on Antimicrobial Resistance (RAR), which hosts the industry’s “Declaration on Combating Antimicrobial Resistance” on its website, issued a new report on February 11 saying increasing the use and spread of vaccines can drop the number of superbug cases.

“Vaccines prevent infections and so reduce the need to use antibiotics,” wrote RAR Chairman Lord Jim O’Neill in the report. “This is true for vaccines that prevent bacterial infections, and it is also true for vaccines that prevent viral infections, such as the flu, which should not be treated with antibiotics but often are anyway.”

The report urges governments and drug makers worldwide to increase the distribution of existing vaccines, as well as develop new vaccines for common ailments. O’Neill singled out the pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, which treats Streptococcus pneumonia, as an example. The vaccine is widely used in parts of the world. O’Neill wrote that global coverage could prevent 800,000 annual deaths of children under five and reduce antibiotic usage.

“Universal coverage by a pneumococcal conjugate vaccine could potentially avert 11.4 million days of antibiotic use per year in children younger than five, roughly a 47% reduction in the amount of antibiotics used for pneumonia cases caused by S. pneumonia,”the report states.

The RAR’s report estimates that antimicrobial resistance could kill 10 million people per year and cost up to $100 trillion by 2050 if not brought under control.

Click here to read the full RAR vaccine report. 

FDA releases fact sheet about new opioid action plan

Amidst the growing opioid epidemic, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has now released details about its Opioid Action Plan. The fact sheet details the agency’s policy changes and the outcomes it hopes will result.

Expanding use of advisory committees

  • The FDA will convene an expert advisory committee before approving any new drug application for an opioid that does not have abuse-deterrent properties.
  • The Pediatric Advisory Committee will make recommendations regarding a framework for pediatric opioid labeling before any new labeling is approved.
  • The FDA will consult an advisory committee on abuse-deterrent formulation (ADF) opioids when it raises novel issues.

Outcome:Before the approval of any new opioid that does not have abuse-deterrent properties and expert advice on pediatric opioid labeling, it will be reviewed by external experts who will give advice on the drug. In addition, there will be opportunity for public input for every new opioid.

Develop warnings and safety information for immediate-release (IR) opioid labeling

  • The agency is developing changes to IR opioid labeling, including additional warnings and safety information, similar to the labeling for extended-release/long-acting (ER/LA) opioid analgesics.

Outcome:Better information for doctors about the risks and how to prescribe safely.

Strengthen postmarket requirements

  • There is a substantial lack of an evidence base to guide the use of opioid medications, particularly for their long-term use.
  • The agency is strengthening the requirements for drug companies to generate postmarket data on the long-term impact of using ER/LA opioids.

Outcome:Better evidence on the serious risks of misuse and abuse associated with long-term use of opioids, predictors of opioid addiction and other important issues.

Update Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy (REMS) Program

  • ER/LA opioids are currently subject to a REMS program that requires sponsors to fund low-cost or free continuing medical education courses on the appropriate use of ER/LAs.
  • The FDA will update the REMS program requirements for opioids after considering advisory committee recommendations and review of existing requirements.

Outcome: Increase the number of prescribers who receive training on pain management and safe prescribing of opioid drugs to decrease inappropriate opioid prescribing.

Expand access to ADFs to discourage abuse

  • The FDA will issue draft guidance with its recommendations for the approval standards for generic ADFs.
  • Release of this guidance is a high priority, since the availability of less costly generic products should accelerate prescribers’ uptake of ADFs.

Outcome:Spur innovation and generic ADF product development.

Support better treatment

  • The FDA is reviewing options, including over-the-counter availability, to make naloxone more accessible to treat opioid overdose, building on the agency’s recent approval of intranasal naloxone.
  • The FDA also supports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for prescribing opioids and will facilitate the development of evidence and improved treatments.

Outcome:Broader access to overdose treatment, safer prescribing and use of opioids, and ultimately, new classes of pain medicines without the same risks as opioids.

Reassess the risk-benefit approval framework for opioid use

  • The FDA will seek advice from its Science Board in March 2016 on how to take into account our evolving understanding of the risks of opioids, not only to the patient but also the risks of misuse by other persons who obtain them.
  • The FDA is already working with the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on the same topic.
  • Once completed the reports will be made publicly available.

Outcome:Formal incorporation of the broader public health impact of opioid abuse in approval decisions.

Check out our previous coverage on the FDA and CDC’s response to the opioid crisis.