The CMS reported an average 8% decrease in hospital readmission rates from 2010 to 2015. Agency officials credited much of the improvement to the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program that cuts Medicare reimbursements for hospitals with 30-day readmission rates that are higher than expected for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure and pneumonia.
Data showed similar racial disparities in preventive care before and after the CMS Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration in Medicare Advantage, which was introduced in 2012, researchers reported in the journal Preventing Chronic Disease. Researchers studied whether program incentives affected preventive care in the areas of improving bladder control, reducing risks of falls, and physical activity monitoring.
Study data from the OhioHealth hospital system found median hospice stays increased from 19.7 days to 39.6 days when hospice care was considered a quality measure, researchers told the 2016 Palliative Care in Oncology Symposium. OhioHealth implemented a quality improvement program allowing oncologists to compare their performance, benchmarks and standards to results from their peers.
The New Jersey Sepsis Learning-Action Collaborative has reduced sepsis patient mortality by more than 10%, a report said, by allowing hospitals to compare protocols and share information to develop better ways to identify, respond to and treat the blood infection. The collaborative created a bundle of evidence-based actions for patients with suspected sepsis and its second-year goal is to reduce sepsis mortality by 20%.
Incorporating extensivists -- specially trained physicians and advanced practice registered nurses -- into primary care to coordinate care of patients with multiple complex medical conditions could reduce spending while improving outcomes, experts say. Five keys for a successful extensivist model include focusing on the post-discharge period, prioritizing quality over productivity, planning for financial challenges, possibly using a hospitalist-extensivist model and being realistic about patient volume.
Bon Secours Kentucky Health System and Hardin Memorial Health, both based in Kentucky, are working to ensure physicians are educated and ready to shift from volume-based to value-based care delivery. Executives say employed physicians are generally further along on the journey because hospitals have been focusing on value for some time, but they also are working to engage independent doctors, noting the importance of primary care to managing population health.
EHR and computerized physician order entry systems "will evolve" and improve, National Health IT Coordinator Vindell Washington said in response to a survey of physicians that showed those who used these technologies felt they contribute to burnout and didn't like their EHRs. Washington cited the role of EHRs in reducing missed information in physician reports and illegible orders, and stressed the importance of health IT to improve health care delivery.
Vice President Joseph Biden outlined new measures for the National Cancer Moonshot initiative aimed at improving patient access to clinical trials and increasing transparency about trial results, so patients can make more-informed decisions about participating in research studies. Included in the announcement were the changes to be made to the NIH's ClinicalTrials.gov website to make it more user-friendly and the NIH's publication of a final rule for clinical trials that will require all investigators to publish summaries of trial results.
Medicare Shared Savings Program cost benchmarks should account for national and regional spending trends as the Next Generation accountable care model does, with adjustments capped at 3.5% to boost participants' chances of success, according to a study in The American Journal of Accountable Care. MSSP participants' benchmarks are recalculated every three years and are lowered as health care spending declines, and changing the benchmark calculation would remove the correlation between prior performance and an ACO's savings, the study authors say.
JACC Leadership Page: The Diverse Functions of Advocacy
In a recent Leadership Page published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, A. Allen Seals, MD, FACC, chair of ACC’s Board of Governors discusses how the College’s advocacy efforts transform cardiovascular care, help members maintain professional competency, and support population health management in the changing health care landscape. He focuses on the top advocacy priorities for the College this year, including tackling MACRA, as well as the hard work of ACC chapters to ensure patient access to care and cardiovascular practice stability, promote the use of clinical data to improve care, fund research and innovation in cardiovascular care, and improve population health and prevent cardiovascular disease. Seals concludes with a call to action for ACC members to become more active in advocacy, writing, “The future of cardiovascular care is at stake, and it behooves each of us to make advocacy a professional and personal priority.” Read more.
CardioSmart’s Metabolic Syndrome Infographic Now Available
Metabolic Syndrome has been called the “perfect storm” when it comes to heart disease risk. Since this condition is a combination of health problems that often occur together and raise the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, oftentimes patients have trouble managing it. With CardioSmart’s Metabolic Syndrome Infographic you can better explain to your patients how to recognize this condition and prevent it. CardioSmart’s infographic posters are ideal point-of-care graphics for waiting and exam rooms, and can be downloaded for free at CardioSmart.org/Posters.
The first step toward success is taken when you refuse to be a captive of the environment in which you first find yourself.
Mark Caine, writer
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