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Quality

 

The annual hospital rankings from U.S. News and World Report will now be released a week later than scheduled after errors were discovered in data which affected 12 “data-driven specialty rankings.”

The U.S. Department of Justice charged 412 people, including 56 doctors, for allegedly participated in false billing schemes netting $1.3 billion, with many cases involving prescriptions of opioids or other narcotics.

CMS has proposed requiring private accrediting organizations (AOs), like the Joint Commission, to publicly release what have been confidential survey reports of hospitals. Dozens of AOs and the facilities they inspect asked the agency to take that change out of the final Medicare Inpatient Prospective Payment System (IPPS) rule for 2018, arguing the reports shouldn’t be treated like healthcare quality data.

Coverage on the Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance exchanges, where narrow network plans are dominant, is more likely to exclude doctors associated with National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated cancer centers, according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Advance directives, like awarding power of attorney on health care decisions or completing a living will, haven’t been completed by most patients, including those with chronic illnesses, potentially complicating decisions by hospitals and physicians on end-of-life treatment.

 

Recent Headlines

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. 

Surgical checklist improves mortality—if leadership, surgeons are engaged

Hospitals in South Carolina that implemented a 19-point checklist for surgeons and the operating room team saw a 22 percent reduction in post-surgical deaths, according to a study due to be published in the August issue of Annals of Surgery.

Hospital inspections from accrediting organizations could become public

Located more than 1,400 pages into the regulation, the provision means CMS would require the private health care accreditors it approves, such as the Joint Commission, to publicly detail problems they find during what have been confidential inspections of hospitals and other medical facilities, as well as the corrective actions taken afterward. 

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