AAHPM signs letter urging Congress to repeal SGR formula | Expert: IOM offers ideas for advance care planning reimbursement | Hospice nurse says caring for patients is act of humanity

March 20, 2015
Hospice and Palliative Medicine SmartBrief
News for physicians caring for the seriously ill

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AAHPM signs letter urging Congress to repeal SGR formula
The American Academy of Hospice and Palliative Medicine was one of more than 750 medical groups that signed a letter to Congress urging repeal of the sustainable growth rate formula. Congressional leaders on Thursday announced a bipartisan plan that repeals the SGR and introduced bills in the House and Senate that would provide for a 0.5% payment update each year for five years. BeckersHospitalReview.com (3/17), Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (3/19), CNN (3/19)
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Healthcare is under pressure. So is your network.
Compliance with Meaningful Use is putting a huge strain on systems. Bandwidth requirements are increasing, yet hospital budgets are shrinking. Comcast Business can help design and monitor a cost-effective, high-performance Ethernet solution that scales up to 10Gbps, and supports the growing data demands of new healthcare initiatives. Learn more.

Palliative & Hospice Care Update
Expert: IOM offers ideas for advance care planning reimbursement
CMS' proposed payment codes for advance care planning do not yet have reimbursements attached to them, and the agency may be waiting to see how they are used before making a final determination, writes Thomas Harter of Gundersen Health System. An Institute of Medicine report on end-of-life care suggested Medicare should pay for advance care planning models that emphasize open, clear and respectful communication. Health Affairs Blog (3/19)
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Hospice nurse says caring for patients is act of humanity
Hospice Diary blogger and nurse Amy Getter says caring for dying patients goes beyond research and treatment and is ultimately an act of humanity. Shortages and higher costs for atropine and Octreotide, commonly used in hospice, make caring for patients more difficult, she writes. GeriPal blog (3/17)
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NET offers rehab benefits for dementia patients
Neurocognitive Engagement Therapy involves best dementia care practices and occupational, physical and speech therapies, and one study found patients receiving it had better engagement and functional gains, writes psychologist Eleanor Feldman Barbera. "As we incorporate person-centered care models into various aspects of long-term care, NET therapy holds promise as a technique to bring the benefits of rehab to people with dementia who need a more individualized approach to rehabilitation," she writes. McKnight's Long-Term Care News (3/17)
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Getting Paid: How to Get Customers to Pay Up
Dealing with the money isn't fun, but it's a necessary evil for staying in business. While every business has their ups and downs, the key to positive cash flow is collecting payments in full and on time to keep the cash coming in as predictably as possible. Seem impossible? Learn how these small-business owners did it.

Patient & Family Perspective Sponsored By
Cancer survivor learns why dying patients turn to social media
Steven Petrow did not want to share details of his cancer battle and writes that he struggled to understand why dying patients turn to social media to chronicle their final months. He writes that he has since developed a better understanding of how social media can fight societal isolation and that posts by dying patients can show not just suffering but love. Time.com (3/17)
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How to Achieve IT Agility: A Survival Guide for IT Decision Makers
When business teams add new apps and services to already-strained networks, IT departments are accountable for making everything work. Is your team ready for this challenge? Read this eGuide to learn how IT teams are automating their networks, why they're utilizing Ethernet fabrics and SDN, and what success looks like as they regain network control and business relevance.

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Sponsored Links from American Express OPEN on openforum.com
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Medical Research
Study: Coronary angiography may help some elderly heart patients
Research found that some heart patients ages 80 and older who had coronary angiography and subsequent procedures may be less likely to have a heart attack or stroke or need emergency cardiac procedures than those who received conservative, medication-based care. The study was to be presented at the American College of Cardiology conference. HealthDay News (3/16)
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Study warns antipsychotics are dangerous for dementia patients
Researchers found that antipsychotic drugs may raise dementia patients' risk of premature death more than previously thought, and risk is correlated to dose with newer antidepressants. The study was reported in JAMA Psychiatry. "The harms associated with using these drugs in dementia patients are clear. ... These results should raise the threshold for prescribing further," study author Dr. Donovan Maust said. HealthDay News (3/18)
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Health Policy & Practice
MedPAC calls for higher hospital payments, repeal of SGR
The Medicare Payment Advisory Commission recommended that Congress approve a 3.25% inpatient and outpatient hospital payment rate increase for fiscal 2016 and repeal the sustainable growth rate formula. The recommendations also include reducing payment rate differences between outpatient departments and physician offices for some ambulatory payment classifications and eliminating the skilled nursing facility market basket update. Healthcare Finance News (3/18)
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CMS outlines how physicians can report on quality measures just once
The CMS has outlined how physicians can report quality measures to meet requirements for the physician quality reporting system, the EHR meaningful use program and the value-based modifier program. To do so, however, physicians or practices will have to use a qualified registry, a certified EHR or a special online interface. Medscape (free registration) (3/19)
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Trends & Technology
Many care professionals consider incorporating apps into practices, survey says
A Research Now survey found that 46% of care professionals, including nurses and physicians, were interested in using smartphone applications in their practice by 2020. About 86% of the professionals said the tools could shed light on the conditions of patients, while 46% saw potential for improved patient relationships. MobiHealthNews.com (3/18)
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Interested in assessing your level of knowledge in psychiatry and cognition?
HPM FAST, 2nd edition, is an online practice test with 25 questions to test your knowledge of psychiatry and cognition. It includes explanations and up-to-date reference to provide guidance for further study on mental illness, delirium, and decision-making ability. Learn more.
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Review articles from the recent issue of JPSM
The March issue of the Journal of Pain and Symptom Management (JPSM) is now available. Read the highlights at AAHPMBlog.org.
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Laughter is an instant vacation."
-- Milton Berle,
comedian and actor
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