CMS releases list of quality measures for value-based care initiatives | Few hospitals adhere to CLABSI prevention guidelines, survey says | Rule change could let hospitals help patients choose safer nursing homes
A list of 97 quality measures to be considered for use in various Medicare value-based care purchasing programs has been published by the CMS in conjunction with the National Quality Forum. These measures will be applicable to major Medicare initiatives such as the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System, the Medicare Shared Savings Program and the EHR Incentive Programs for hospitals and critical access hospitals, as well as to other patient safety and data reporting programs, and quality reporting projects for health, psychiatric, hospice and rehabilitation facilities.
Survey results published in the journal Antimicrobial Resistance & Infection Control revealed that few hospitals around the world follow established guidelines intended to reduce cases of central line-associated bloodstream infections. According to the results, 80% of hospitals in middle-income countries and 81% in high-income countries have written clinical guidelines for CLABSI prevention, but only 23% and 60% comply with a bundle of recommended central line insertion practices, respectively.
A Medicare requirement that says patients' nursing home choices cannot be restricted by hospitals has meant that for years hospitals have given patients lists of all local facilities without sharing quality information, leading patients to unknowingly select substandard homes. A new rule drafted by the Obama administration but not yet finalized says hospitals should still provide patients with all options, but they also must share data about quality, and some hospitals are already doing so.
Patients are not patient, and many are demanding faster and more convenient access to doctors, says Kathy Severa of Family Medicine Associates in Kansas. Severa and physician Nathan Bloom, M.D., say practices can accommodate current patients and improve care continuity by keeping more slots open for same-day appointments, offering a walk-in clinic and opening earlier in the morning.
Baystate Franklin Medical Center in Greenfield, Mass., is transitioning to an accountable care model under a Medicaid waiver effective next July. "We're moving away from being paid for every visit and every encounter, and instead a group of patients is assigned to a group of primary care doctors, we have to hit on certain quality measures," said Baystate Health President Mark Keroack.
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A pilot program in Arkansas uses technology to provide medical care to students in rural schools. The program includes a mobile cart outfitted with high-definition video and medical devices, which staff members can use to connect virtually with participating physicians.
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A 900-patient study presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions showed positive results for HeartLogic, a system of sensors developed by Boston Scientific for tracking vital signs, connecting to defibrillator devices and providing doctors with alerts on symptomatic patients. Researchers from the Penn State College of Medicine reported that the system detected 70% of heart failure events at about 34 days before an event, with the number of false positives occurring within "an acceptable range."
House Republicans have long called for major changes to Medicare, and House Speaker Paul Ryan has advocated for a plan involving premium support for beneficiaries, who would shop an exchangelike structure for coverage, choosing from private plans and traditional Medicare. President-elect Donald Trump's transition website lists "modernize Medicare" among his priorities, but he has not shared any specifics.
Rising prices for prescription drugs and medical care pushed health care spending for privately insured consumers up 4.6% in 2015, compared with increases of 2.6% a year earlier and 3% in 2013, the Health Care Cost Institute found. Emergency department utilization, surgical hospital admissions and primary care visits fell, while utilization of outpatient care, laboratory tests and specialty care have increased.
New changes to ACC's public-facing public reporting website on CardioSmart.org make it easier for hospitals to showcase their commitment to quality improvement, while also providing patients with access with a more complete picture of individual hospital participation in NCDR registries, as well as public reporting activities. Hospitals are now able to filter their search results to see which facilities are voluntarily publicly reporting data. Additionally, new procedures including left atrial appendage occlusion, PCI (emergency STEMI only), PCI (elective and emergency), cardiac surgery program, surgical backup, and atrial fibrillation ablation have been added as searchable fields. Hospitals participating in the new NCDR LAAO and AFib Ablation registries are also recognized. Learn more at CardioSmart.org/FindYourHeartAHome.
As part of the ACC's innovation efforts, the College has launched a first-of-its-kind institutional page on Doximity, the largest online network of physicians and other health care professionals. This expands the College's social media presence beyond Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube into the leading professional networking space for clinicians. ACC's page provides a "home" for the entire cardiovascular care team on the secure, online platform. As part of this effort, the ACC logo now appears on members' Doximity profiles to showcase their credentials and dedication to ACC's mission of transforming cardiovascular care and improving heart health. Now, ACC members from across the country can connect with one another and collaborate to improve cardiovascular patient care in a novel manner. Visit ACC's page.
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