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The New CMS Emergency Management Rule: Tips for Successful Implementation

Date: Tuesday, January, 24, 2017 1:00–2:30 p.m. EST

Summary: After much anticipation, CMS has approved its own emergency preparedness rules separate from The Joint Commission and other accreditation agencies. Hospitals and healthcare organizations now have until November 15, 2017 to enact the changes and maintain compliance.HCPro Webcast Icon

Join expert speakers Marge McFarlane, PhD, MT(ASCP), CHSP, CHFM, CJCP, HEM, MEP, CHEP, and Thomas Huser, MS, CHSP, CHEP, as they guide you through the changes. They will help you identify resources for implementation, provide helpful tips, outline the special focus on fire drills for critical access hospitals, and list the optional and required CMS emergency management standard categories.

This webcast will teach you:

  • The list of required and optional categories of the CMS emergency management regulations
  • The tips, resources, and potential challenges to implementing an emergency prep plan
  • How to conduct fire drills for critical access hospitals

Registration: To order the webcast on demand, call HCPro customer service at 800-650-6787 or visit hcmarketplace.com

Joint Commission publishes 2017 Survey Activity Guide

The Joint Commission just published its 2017 Survey Activity Guide, with information on how to prepare for your next survey. It also contains details on policy changes in 2017, such as the new antimicrobial stewardship program standard for hospitals, critical access hospitals, and nursing homes.

Report: $28 billion saved through patient safety efforts

Efforts to improve patient safety are paying off, according to a new Health and Human Services (HHS) department report. Between 2010 and 2015, increased patient safety efforts have:
•    prevented 3.1 million hospital-acquired conditions (HAC), a 21% decline
•    saved 125,000 lives
•    saved $28 billion in healthcare costs

In the announcement, HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell cited the Affordable Care Act as a major cause of the improvement in patient safety.Money

“The Affordable Care Act gave us tools to build a better healthcare system that protects patients, improves quality, and makes the most of our healthcare dollars and those tools are generating results,” said HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell. “Today’s report shows us hundreds of thousands of Americans have been spared from deadly hospital-acquired conditions, resulting in thousands of lives saved and billions of dollars saved.”

There are other federal patient safety efforts mentioned in the report as aiding in patient safety improvement. Among those cited were the Partnership for Patients initiative, a public-private partnership launched in 2011 though CMS Innovation to target a specific HACs. CMS also worked with hospital networks and aligned payment incentives to improve focus on making care safer.

“These achievements demonstrate the commitment across many public and [more]

Study: Link between CMS hospital star ratings and socioeconomic factors

It’s been almost five months after CMS publicly released its hospital star ratings system amidst widespread controversy and opposition. Now, a new study by WalletHub has provided evidence that hospitals’ ratings are highly linked to their location and socioeconomic factors.

CMS LogoEver since CMS announced the star system, many had argued that it was biased against facilities that treat impoverished, sicker patients. To study this, WalletHub looks at the ratings of 657 hospitals in 150 cities across the U.S. comparing ratings to each city’s “stress level,” a composite of stressor caused by work, money, family, and health and safety. Star Rating

Hospitals in Detroit and Newark, N.J. (the first and ninth most stressed cities) earned an average of 1.5 and one stars respectively. However, hospitals in the California cities of Fremont and Irvine (the least and second-least stressed cities) earned an average of three and five stars, respectively. Meanwhile, CMS reports that safety net hospitals earn slightly lower ratings on average compared to non-safety net hospitals (2.88 to 3.09 stars).

“When we look at hospital quality ratings and rankings, what we are seeing has less to do with what the hospitals themselves are doing and more to do with the communities they are located in and the patients they serve,” said David Nerenz, co-author of the study and the director of the Center for Health Policy and Health Services Research at the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit, to Modern Healthcare. [more]

CMS releases potential reporting measures

CMS last week released a list of 97 reporting measures for hospitals, clinician practices, nursing homes, dialysis facilities, and other settings. The measures are being considered for use in Medicare’s quality and value-based purchasing programs.

This year, 39% of the measures focus on patient outcomes, while the remainder focus on patient safety, cost, and appropriate use of diagnostics and services. There was also an increase in measures submitted by specialty societies. CMS annually publishes a list of potential Medicare quality measures to hear back from patients, clinicians, payers, and purchasers on the which measures they think are the best. CMS is teaming up with the National Quality Forum (NQF) for the sixth year in a row on this effort. The feedback the NQF collects will be sent to the multi-stakeholder Measure Applications Partnership (MAP) for consideration.

“We invite you to review the Measures under Consideration List in detail and to participate in the public process during the MAP review,” wrote Kate Goodrich, MD, MHS, CMS director of the Center for Clinical Standards & Quality, in a blog post. “We believe it is critically important to hear all voices in the selection of quality and efficiency measures that are used for accountability and transparency purposes and look forward to another successful pre-rulemaking season. We are committed to working with patients, clinicians, and others on how to best measure the quality and value of care while reducing burden on providers and driving improved outcomes for patients at lower costs.”

The proposed measures are available on CMS and NQF websites, and comments on can be made until 6 p.m. on December 2 at the NQF website.

Mental disorders and substance abuse are the top U.S. health condition

In its newest Health Index, Blue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS) found that mental disorders are the chief cause of shortened longevity and health in America. The top five conditions cause about 30% of commercially insured Americans’ overall reduction in optimal health, and are as follows:

1. Depression, anxiety, and other mood disorders
2. Hypertension
3. Diabetes
4. High cholesterol
5. Substance use disorders

The BCBS Health Index compares 200 different conditions using millions of BCBS claims, along with healthcare costs and global burden of the disease to find out which ones have the largest impact on American’s quality of life and health.

American Psychiatric Association (APA) President Maria A. Oquendo, MD, PhD, told Medscape that the report, “highlights the impact of mental health and substance use disorders on people’s health and quality of life and reinforces the importance of making access to quality mental healthcare for all a national priority.”

Study: Quality isn’t affected by physician employment

A new study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine found that between 2003 and 2012, the number of hospitals hiring physicians jumped up by 13%. Despite this, the authors caution that the glut in physicians will have little impact on care quality.

Forty-two percent of hospitals were employing physicians in 2012, the majority of which were teaching hospitals, nonprofits, and larger facilities. The study’s authors then looked at key quality metrics between 803 hospitals that switched to the employment model vs. 2,085 hospitals that didn’t. They wanted to see if there was a noticeable difference in length of stay, patient satisfaction, mortality, and 30-day readmissions when hospitals changed their employment style. What the researchers found was that hiring physicians had almost no impact on any of these metrics. Mortality rates, for example, were only 0.1% better in hospitals that switched compared to those that didn’t. The only exception was for pneumonia (secret and public) which saw a 0.6% improvement in switched hospitals.

“Our study, which used contemporary national data, suggests that a fundamental improvement in care delivery will require more than mere changes in hospital-physician integration, and if physician employment is a key ingredient, it must be linked to other key goals, such as hospital prioritization of quality, to be successful,” the authors wrote.
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