CMS proposes changes in shared savings measures for ACOs | ACOs, value-based care models gain popularity | Standard hand-off policies reduce care failures, study shows
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July 15, 2014
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CMS proposes changes in shared savings measures for ACOs
The CMS has proposed to increase the number of quality measures that evaluate accountable care organizations in the Medicare Shared Savings Program from 33 to 37. The agency also recommends retiring eight measures, most of which focus on diabetes and heart disease care. (7/11)
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ACOs, value-based care models gain popularity
Accountable care organizations, patient-centered medical homes, bundled care agreements and other value-based care models are becoming increasingly common and promise to reduce spending while improving outcomes, a survey of insurers found. More insurers are partnering with health care providers on delivery models that offer financial rewards as well as risks, and some are offering plans with no deductibles for care received from providers affiliated with an ACO or PCMH. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (7/9)
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Standard hand-off policies reduce care failures, study shows
Children's hospitals that used an evidence-based standardized patient hand-off process reduced related care failures by 69%, researchers reported in Pediatrics. Data from 23 children's hospitals found having a common understanding about the patient and a clear transition of responsibility, as well as minimizing interruptions and distractions, all improved during the study. Medscape (free registration)/Reuters (7/9)
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The VEINS: Premier National Venous Meeting, October 9-12
The VEINS, Venous Endovascular Interventional Strategies, meeting provides attendees with the tools needed to develop and refine their venous practice. Interventional cardiologists, surgeons, radiologists, internists, fellows-in-training, nurses, and technologists are all welcome to attend and benefit from the multidisciplinary faculty. Click here to learn more.
Practice & Hospital Management
Report highlights differences between satisfied, dissatisfied physicians
In a national survey, Jackson Healthcare found that 76% of satisfied physicians felt the amount of time they spent with patients had not changed in the past year, and 70% were likely to encourage young people to become a physician. Of dissatisfied physicians, 88% reported they likely would not accept new Medicaid patients due to low reimbursements, and 75% were apt to work more than eight hours a day. (7/2)
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Poll shows more U.S. doctors are employed by hospitals
A Jackson Healthcare survey revealed that 20% of responding primary care physicians were employed by hospitals this year, up from 10% in 2013. Among doctors in all specialties, 21% reported being hospital employees. (7/14)
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E-Health Watch
CMS unveils tool to guide providers about proposed MU flexibility
The CMS has unveiled an interactive online tool to inform hospitals how a proposal, which would allow providers to use their 2011 Edition certified EHR technology to attest to stage 1 or stage 2 meaningful use, could affect them. The tool was also designed to help users identify the attestation options available to them based on the EHR system they are currently using. (7/9)
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Poll looks at EHR adoption hurdles among practices
Seventeen percent of responding physicians and medical practices cited seamless integration as a major hurdle in electronic health record adoption, data from the Physicians Practice 2014 Technology Survey revealed. Researchers also found 16% of respondents reported lack of interoperability as a cause of concern, while 13% cited costs as a key challenge. Healthcare Informatics online (7/10)
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Spotlight on Innovation
Organoids could improve biomedical research
Researchers are growing organoids -- mini-organs that look and function like full-grown human organs -- in the hopes of improving disease research and drug development. Because these organoids are made from the patient's own stem cells, the chances of rejection are slim. While organoids lack the full components of a functional organ, researchers believe that they may still be used to replace parts of organs, to test the toxicity of new drugs, and to study developmental disorders. USA Today/ (7/11)
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Costs & Reimbursement
HHS announces $100M in grants to improve state Medicaid payment systems
States will receive $100 million in funding from the HHS to help them streamline Medicaid payment systems and boost patient care. The Medicaid Innovation Accelerator Program "will give states the opportunity to even further strengthen their great work," HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said. The Hill (7/14)
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Insurer finds PCMHs save $130 million in health costs
CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield said patients in its patient-centered medical homes had fewer hospitalizations and shorter hospital stays last year than those in fee-for-service plans. The insurer said it saved $130 million using PCMHs compared with projected spending for fee-for-service. Reuters (7/10)
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ACC News
Physician Payments Sunshine Act Preview Period Starts July 14
The CMS announced that beginning July 14, physicians and teaching hospitals can preview reports of the payments they received from industry from Aug. 1 through Dec. 31, 2013. Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, payments to physicians and teaching hospitals must be reported by manufacturers and distributers of Food and Drug Administration-approved products prescribed to patients and paid for by one of the federal health care programs. Physicians and teaching hospitals will have until Aug. 27 to preview and dispute information contained within the reports. To preview your report, you must first create an account through the Enterprise Portal, a system designed to verify your identity. You must then register specifically with the Open Payments System. Instructions for both phases of registration are available at Educational resources from CMS will be coming soon. Additional information is available on
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Case Challenge: Young Woman With Hypercholesterolemia Desires to Get Pregnant
A 31-year-old female patient with newly diagnosed hypercholesterolemia presents to the preventive cardiology clinic for new patient consultation. Approximately six months ago, she had her lipid levels measured as part of her annual physical. On no medical therapy, her low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was elevated at 318 mg/dL. She has no other medical comorbidities, is a nonsmoker and remains physically active. Her father also had markedly elevated cholesterol levels and sustained his first myocardial infarction at the age of 36. Learn more about the patient and take the case challenge on the ACC's Dyslipidemia Clinical Community page.
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No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave."
-- Calvin Coolidge,
30th U.S. president
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This news roundup is provided as a timely update to ACC members and partners interested in quality health care topics in the news media. Links to articles are provided for the convenience of the health care professionals who may find them of use in discussions with patients or colleagues. Opinions expressed in ACC Quality First SmartBrief are those of the identified authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or policies of the American College of Cardiology. On occasion, media articles may include or imply incorrect information about the ACC and its policies, positions, or relationships. For clarification on ACC positions and policies, we refer you to
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