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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

California hospitals with high infection rates have gone 5+ years without inspection

In California, 131 hospitals have gone at least five years without being inspection by public health officials, including 80 facilities that have reported significantly higher rates of hospital-acquired infections.

McKesson settles ‘suspicious’ pharmacy orders case for $150 million

McKesson has agreed to pay $150 million and suspend sales of controlled substances from distribution centers in four states to settle allegations that it failed to notice and report pharmacies’ suspicious orders of opioid painkillers.

Adding UVC light to hospital cleaning can reduce ‘superbugs’—but not cheaply

Using a certain type of ultraviolet (UV) light while disinfecting hospital rooms can cut down on transmission of antibiotic-resistant bacteria by as much as 30 percent.

ACO hospitals reduced readmissions from SNFs more quickly

While all hospitals have reduced readmissions of skilled nursing facility (SNF) patients, those affiliated with accountable care organizations (ACOs) did so more quickly, according to a study published in the January 2017 issue of Health Affairs

Patient safety indicators need to be optimized

A link between patient safety indicators (PSIs) and patient outcomes can be found—but only after researchers went deeper than claims data would allow and questioned the accuracy of billing based on PSIs.

Financial penalties successful in reducing readmissions

Being penalized under the Hospitals Readmissions Reduction Act (HRRA) led to lower 30-day readmissions at those hospitals compared to non-penalized facilities, according to a study published in JAMA.

Female physicians have lower mortality, readmission rates

Elderly patients have better outcomes when hospitalized if cared for by a female physician than a male, according to a Harvard University study published in JAMA Internal Medicine

FDA finalizes ban on powdered gloves

Beginning January 19, 2017, powdered medical gloves will be banned by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which cites “an unreasonable and substantial risk of illness or injury.”

Joint Commission explains safety goals on UTIs caused by catheters

The Joint Commission has released a report offering the rationale behind its updated safety goals on catheter-associated urinary tract infections (CAUTIs) for hospitals.

$28 billion saved by patient safety efforts

Hospital-acquired infections and the deaths caused by them plunged between 2010 and 2015, according to a new report released by HHS.

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