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Sebelius chosen to replace Daschle as HHS secretary

For those anxiously awaiting President Obama’s second nomination for Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS), the wait is over. The governor of Kansas, Kathleen Sebelius, democrat, is the president’s next choice for the position. Sebelius, who I mentioned in this posting on the Patient Safety Monitor blog as a possible candidate as secretary of HHS, has a track record of working closely with health insurers in her home state. In fact, prior to working as the governor, Sebelius served as Kansas’ state insurance commissioner. Her nomination has received praise from both republicans and democrats alike. Unlike Obama’s first nomination for HHS secretary, Tom Daschle, Sebelius will not serve as both HHS secretary and “healthcare czar,” a position that will specifically focus on reforming healthcare.

Should Sebelius be confirmed, she will have a lot on her plate as soon as she starts. A commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration has yet to be named, mostly because of the delay in confirming an HHS secretary. Known for her pro-abortion and stance and bipartisan policies, Sebelius successfully blocked the sale of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Kansas to Anthem Inc. because she said it would have raised insurance premiums for residents of the state.

You can read more about Sebelius in these articles from the Wichita Tribune and New York Times.

Do you have any initial thoughts about President Obama’s choice?

Joint Commission releases sentinel event statistics through 2008

The Joint Commission has released its latest statistics for sentinel events through December 31, 2008. Perhaps not surprisingly, wrong-site surgery tops the list at 13.2% of reported events. The data released by The Joint Commission date back to 1995, and the database contains 5,632 total events. Second to wrong-site surgery is suicide at 12.4%.

Does this list reflect the most reported events at your hospital?

If you’d like more details about the specific events on this list, you can click here and find options for looking at trends by year and by state.

Only 80 days until the AHAP conference

Just wanted to let you all know that there are only 80 days between now and the AHAP conference on May 14 and 15! For those who have already signed up, I hope you are as excited as we are to get together with peers and learn about the latest trends in accreditation. I’m particularly interested to sit in on the panel scheduled that will have speakers from The Joint Commission, DNV, and HFAP to discuss accreditation options.

For those who haven’t signed up yet and are interested, you can check out the agenda and any related registration information by clicking here. The early-bird rate is still available and will be through March 13.

It’s sure to be a good time with fellow healthcare accreditation buffs, Vegas style!

Working group calls: Save the date

Our next round of working group calls are coming up this month. This time around we’ll be talking about infection control issues. Jodi Eisenberg will facilitate the first call, 2/24, at 2:30 pm EST (1:30 Central, 11:30 Pacific). We’d like to welcome Marsha Barnden, MSN, RNC, an infection control expert and former Joint Commission surveyor, who will facilitate the second call on 2/26 (12:30 EST, 11:30 Central, 9:30 Pacific).

We’re looking forward to an active, lively discussion both days. Hope you can join us!

Last chance to participate in the latest AHAP survey!

Last week an invitation went out to all AHAP members inviting you to participate in our latest benchmarking survey. This quarter we’re taking a look at infection control and related National Patient Safety Goals. We’ll be closing the survey soon in order to put together our quarterly benchmarking report, but if you’d still like to participate, all you have to do is click here and you’ll be taken directly to the survey.

Not an AHAP member but interested in our quarterly benchmarking surveys? Sign up here!

Members–we’re already looking ahead at next quarter’s benchmarking survey. What topics are you most interested in? Comment below, or feel free to shoot me an email directly.

Enforcing Joint Commission standards the hard way

Now, we here at AHAP don’t condone using brute force for getting staff to comply with Joint Commission standards, National Patient Safety Goals, and the like, but I thought you might get a kick out of this Youtube video doing just that.

It’s a little over the top on comedic/slapstick violence, and a tad dated, but definitely laugh-worthy for anyone working in survey coordination and standards compliance.

Simple solutions for patient safety

The HealthLeaders Media Industry Survey 2009, released earlier this week, shows that many healthcare leaders think that while technology is an important part of patient care, driving home the fundamentals of patient safety is actually more important. For example the notion that handwashing is far more effective at preventing HAIs than implementing some sort of technology that monitors infection rates. In fact, only 12% of who answered the survey said that their electronic medical records played a large part in improving quality and patient safety.


Restraints questions answered

Restraints use never stops generating questions from the field. During their upcoming audioconference, AHAP Chair Jodi Eisenberg, MHA, CPMSM, CPHQ, CSHA, and Susan W. Hendrickson, MHRD/OD, RN, CPHQ, FACHE, will be fielding questions from the audience on the latest restraints challenges as well as those ongoing areas of confusion which still demand clarification.

For example:

Q: Does everyone who provides care to patients required to have the same amount of training?

Jodi:Not everyone needs the same training. The role the staff plays in the care of the patient in restraints determines the content, the depth and the frequency of training. The best way to meet this standard is to develop an educational plan which highlights the levels of education necessary for staff in the care of the patient in restraints.

Q: Are lap belts to prevent patients from falling out of bed or a chair considered a restraint if they could unfasten it because it fastens in front (like a seat belt)?

Susan: No, devices that the patient can easily remove themselves are not considered a restraint.

If you’d like to join us on March 11 for this program–yours truly will be acting as moderator–more information can be found here.

If he can do it… so can you!

I wanted to take a minute to let you know that Matt Phillion, my fellow blogger and colleague has passed the Certified Specialist in Healthcare Accreditation exam! He is now an official CSHA and surely will continue to keep us up-to-date on all accreditation-related news. Congrats Matt!

If anyone is interested in finding out more about the exam, visit the Certified Specialist in Healthcare Accreditation Web site.

Have a great afternoon! 

Med rec: feedback from the field

The latest news from The Joint Commission about medication reconciliation has everyone talking. I thought you might be interested in hearing the reactions to yesterday’s announcement. The following will appear in Monday’s Accreditation Connection e-newsletter, but I thought you might enjoy an early look just in time for the weekend: