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Quality

 

Operating revenue fell faster than operating expenses for two years at hospitals which had been merged into or acquired by a new system, with no evidence of improvement on quality measures, according to a report released by the Deloitte Center for Health Solutions and Healthcare Financial Management Association (HFMA).

Communication-and-resolution programs (CRP) at four Massachusetts hospitals led to lower medical liability costs and improvements in patient safety after adverse events, countering concerns that telling patients about errors would motivate more to file lawsuits.

Sacramento, California-based Sutter Physician Services found success in helping to reduce readmissions at its affiliated Sutter Health hospitals by coordinating follow-up appointments and check-in calls with recently discharged patients, but communication and C-suite engagement have been critical to making the effort work.

Oct. 2 is the deadline for clinicians to start collecting performance data for the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and still be eligible for a positive payment adjustment in 2019. With multiple sources showing clinicians and healthcare finance professionals feel unprepared for the first year of the new payment track, some eligible providers may settle for simply avoiding a negative adjustment.

Overall star ratings on the CMS Hospital Compare website will not be updated in October as previously scheduled, according to the American Hospital Association (AHA).

 

Recent Headlines

Hospitals improving on bedsore and injury prevention—but progress is ‘too slow’

A new report from the Leapfrog Group and Castlight Health found hospitals rates of pressure ulcers, or bedsores, and patient injuries steadily decreased over the past four years. However, there remained wide variation between hospitals and the majority haven’t met Leapfrog’s prevention standards on both conditions.

Minorities more likely to receive low-value care

Black and Hispanic patients received more low-value care than whites, according to a study of Medicare data from between 2006 to 2011 published in the June 2017 issue of Health Affairs.

Racial disparities in surgical mortality are shrinking

As mortality rates have improved overall, there have also been improvements in previously-seen racial disparities between the surgical mortality of black and white patients, with reductions occurring primarily within hospitals, rather than between hospitals.

HIEs reduce redundant therapeutic services

Participating in a health information exchange (HIE) “significantly” reduced repetition of therapeutic procedures by providers in western New York, according to research conducted by the State University of New York (SUNY) at Buffalo and the Brookings Institution. 

Metrics changing for U.S. News rankings on children’s hospitals

The methodology for ranking the country’s best children’s hospitals in U.S. News and World Report will contain “several noteworthy changes” affecting the top 10 overall list and the rankings for pediatric cardiology and heart surgery.

Prescribing more opioids won’t affect HCAHPS scores

University of Michigan researchers found no association between prescribing more opioid painkillers to postoperative patients and higher pain management scores on patient satisfaction surveys, undercutting physicians’ perceptions that they’ve been incentivized to prescribe the potentially addictive drugs.  

Joint Commission: No social media posts about nursing home residents

Posting about nursing home residents on Facebook, Snapchat or other forms of social media “violates more codes than you could ever imagine,” according to the Joint Commission, which advised facilities to draft their own social media policies.

CMS: More than 800,000 clinicians will be exempt from MIPS

CMS had expected more than half of Medicare providers to be exempt from the new Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) in its first year. That ended up being a low estimate, as CMS said 65 percent have been notified they won’t be participating in MIPS for 2017.

Higher priced practices don’t necessarily deliver higher value care

The claims that larger, higher priced providers outperform lower-priced practices on quality and efficiency of care don’t hold up, according to a new study from Harvard Medical School researchers.

FAH’s Chip Kahn: We need uniform quality measures when possible

Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals, gave a harsh assessment of current quality measurement processes at a Health Affairs forum in Washington, D.C. 

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