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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

Heart disease, cancer remain top causes of death

The final reports on 2014 death data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show heart disease and cancer as the top two causes of death for Americans, while life expectancy for white women bucked the long-term trends and declined slightly.

The U.S. healthcare system packs significant environmental punch

A recent study has found that if the U.S. healthcare system were its own country, it would rank 13th in the world for greenhouse gas emissions.

How ‘decision fatigue’ may lead physicians to prescribe more antibiotics

Physicians tend to write more prescriptions for antibiotics later in the day, according to a review of prescription data by athenahealth, which may be due to a concept called “decision fatigue.”

U.S. death rate rises for the first time in 10 years

Even when taking into account the aging population, the death rate in the U.S. for 2015 increased for the first time in 22 years, according to preliminary data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

CMS asks for proposals to reduce readmissions by 12% by 2019

CMS has released a request for proposals for hospital improvement plans with the goal of cutting 30-day hospital readmissions by 12 percent and reducing patient harm by 20 percent.

ACA hasn’t stopped sales of short-term, limited benefit insurance plans

Health insurance policies that don’t include common benefits are becoming more popular, according to the San Francisco Chronicleeven though the coverage may not meet the Affordable Care Act’s standards.

Kentucky clinic CEO convicted in $16M Medicare fraud, drug trafficking scheme

A husband and wife team at a Hazard, Ky.-based medical clinic have been found guilty of more than 180 charges, ranging from illegal drug distribution to healthcare fraud. 

Primary care doctors struggle with discussing long-term prognosis with patients

Despite clinical guidelines to incorporate long-term prognosis into decision making, several factors may lead primary care physicians to avoid following through on those recommendations.

Higher CMS star rating associated with lower patient mortality and readmissions.

A study of more than 3,000 hospitals found patient ratings, based on quality scores from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) 5-star hospital rating system, had an association with the rate of patient mortality and readmissions.

Report identifies 6 practices to improve healthcare for disadvantaged populations

A new report issued by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine identifies six promising practices to improve healthcare for individuals in disadvantaged populations.

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