Feds Give Go Ahead for Arkansas’ Medicaid Expansion

cmsAccording to a breaking news report from Modern Healthcare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced, today, that Arkansas will be allowed to move forward with a Medicaid expansion demonstration designed to cover 200,000 additional residents through provision of premium assistance for plans in the state health insurance exchange.

Lawmakers nationwide will be paying close attention to the level of success generated by the demonstration, which was promoted by Arkansas’  Gov. Mike Beebe, a Democrat, and approved by the state’s Republican-led legislature.

“Arkansas and CMS worked together to find flexibilities that gave the state the tools to build a program that worked for them and their residents,” the agency said in a statement. “We appreciate the collaboration with Arkansas throughout the process and applaud their commitment to providing Arkansans with access to high-quality health coverage.

To read the Modern Healthcare article regarding Arkansas’ Medicaid expansion plan, click here.

What do you think of Arkansas’ Medicaid Expansion Plan? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

5 Stories You Need But May Have Missed This Week

mednews-roundup-logo-300x122We know you’re busy, but we don’t want you to miss important healthcare quality and patient safety news. Below is a roundup of stories you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. BREAKING: Feds OK Arkansas’ Plan for Medicaid Expansion
    According to a breaking news report from Modern Healthcare, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced, today, that Arkansas will be allowed to move forward with a Medicaid expansion demonstration designed to cover 200,000 additional residents through provision of premium assistance for plans in the state health insurance exchange.
  2. The Business Case for Virtual Urgent Care
    Learn more about Franciscan Health System’s new telemedicine service, which, priced at only $35 per visit, is promising to reduce ED visits while making care faster, better and cheaper.
  3. Why Aren’t Hospitals More Attentive to the Needs of Patients?
    Read one physician’s reflection on why changing hospital culture is easier said than done and why she believes investments made to nurture human capital is key to hurdling the obstacles that currently impede empathy and engagement.
  4. Finally, FDA Tells Mobile Health App Developers What It Plans to Regulate
    Smartphone users have the ability to access 40,000 medical applications developed ideally to help manage, monitor and improve their health. Discover what two broad categories the Food and Drug Administration said on Monday will be the focus of its oversight.
  5. Hospital Medical Errors Now the Third Leading Cause of Death in the U.S.
    When the Institute of Medicine released its 1999 report, “To Err is Human: Building A Safer Health System,” researchers estimated that up to 98,000 people die annually due to medical mistakes, but a new study published in the Journal of Patient Safety suggests the true number is dramatically higher. Find out what industry leaders and patient safety pioneers, including Dr. Lucien Leape, are saying about the new estimates of preventable mistakes.

 

 

New Research Places Medical Errors as Third Leading Cause of Death in U.S.

MedError.resizedWhen the Institute of Medicine released its 1999 report, “To Err is Human: Building A Safer Health System,” researchers estimated that up to 98,000 people die annually due to medical mistakes, but a new study published in the Journal of Patient Safety suggests the true number is dramatically higher. Researchers now believe that 210,000 – 400,000 patients actually die each year as the result of preventable adverse events in hospitals, which according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would make such errors the third leading cause of death in the United States.

John T. James, Ph.D., a toxicologist and leader of the advocacy group Patient Safety America, conducted the research detailed in the new study.  In his research, James analyzed four recent studies that used the “Global Trigger Tool” to flag evidence pointing to the occurrence of adverse events causing harm to patients. In a Fierce Health article, James explained that it really doesn’t matter whether medical errors are causing 100,000 or 400,000 deaths. “Any of the estimates demands assertive action on the part of providers, legislators and people who will one day become patients,” he said.

Even Lucian Leape, M.D., who assisted in the research and compilation of the To Err Is Human report, has commented publicly and indicated that he believes James’ calculations are more on target than the original estimates.

To access the study, A New, Evidence-based Estimate of Patient Harms Associated with Hospital Care, click here.

 

4 Stories You Need But May Have Missed This Week

mednews-roundup-logo-300x122We know you’re busy, but we don’t want you to miss important healthcare quality and patient safety news. Below is a roundup of stories you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. Post-Discharge Efficiency Incentives May Come with Consequences
    Medicare’s new efficiency program defines an “episode of care” as the span that begins 3 days prior to inpatient admission to 30 days after a patient is discharged.  While it’s hard to assign an exact figure to the toll that high episode of care costs could have on reimbursements, it appears that Medicare may have more to gain than patients from this widened lens approach unless doctors can figure out how to control the pre-admission and post-discharge care that patients receive.
  2. ONC Launches eHealth Resource Site
    The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday launched an online resource aimed at helping providers more effectively explain to patients the concept of meaningful consent and other issues related to electronic health information exchange (eHIE).  Access the site which details the laws and policies associated with eHIE and includes strategies and tools you can use to educate and engage patients.
  3. 9 Steps to Secure PHI File Transfer Under New HIPAA Rule
    Monday is September 23 and that means the HIPAA Omnibus Final Rule officially goes into effect.  Learn more about the web of liability being created to ensure that providers and “business associates” alike work together to secure patient health information.
  4. Mostashari Launches National Health IT Week with a Question: Is the time now?
    After the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology kicked off Health IT Week in Washington, D.C. on Monday, Dave deBronkart, otherwise known as “e-patient Dave,” spoke regarding the industry’s shift toward true engagement of its most significant resource – the patient.

 

HHS Launches Meaningful Consent Site

healthit.gov-logo01The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on Wednesday launched an online resource aimed at helping providers more effectively explain to patients the concept of meaningful consent and other issues related to electronic health information exchange (eHIE).  The site details the laws and policies associated with eHIE and includes strategies and tools that can be used to educate and engage patients.

In addition, the site features customizable tools and videos from the eConsent Trial Project  completed in March 2013 by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology.  The pilot tested the use of tablet computers to inform patients about options available to them when they consider whether or not to share their health information through HIE.

“As patients become more engaged in their healthcare, it’s vitally important that they understand more about various aspects of their choices when it relates to sharing their health in the electronic health information exchange environment,” Joy Pritts, chief privacy officer for the ONC, said in a September 17 press release.

To learn more about patient consent for electronic health information exchange, click here.

4 Stories You Need But May Have Missed This Week

mednews-roundup-logo-300x122We know you’re busy, but we don’t want you to miss important healthcare quality and patient safety news. Below is a roundup of stories you may have missed but need to take a look at before calling it a week. (Sign up on the right if you’d like these news alerts delivered to you.)

  1. Surmounting Sepsis: An Interview with Dr. Sean Townsend
    Vice President of Quality and Safety at California Pacific Medical Center, Sean Townsend, discusses endeavors to combat the number one cause of inpatient death in the United States. Topics include Severe Sepsis Bundles and Rapid Response Teams.
  2. Measuring Readmissions for Improvement, Accountability and Patients
    Access a new issue brief prepared by The Commonwealth Fund titled Hospital Readmissions: Measuring for Improvement, Accountability and Patients, which builds on the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission’s recommendations for refining the methodology used by the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program in calculating “excess” readmissions.
  3. Patient Experience: Old School Approach May Be Best
    While Patient Satisfaction is closely related to Patient Experience, it is not the same. There’s a difference between asking a patient: “Are you pleased with the results of your surgery?” and “Would you recommend our hospital to a friend?” Learn what tactics some hospitals have found most effective in finding out what patients really think in order to shift culture.
  4. Former Official: Scrap Rule Forcing Patients to Pay for Rehab
    Dr. Donald Berwick, former chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and now candidate for governor of Massachusetts, is encouraging the Obama administration to discard a rule that is causing older Americans to pay thousands of dollars for rehabilitation services they receive after leaving the hospital.

Former CMS Chief Calls for End to 3-Day Rule

cmsAccording to an article published recently in the Boston Globe, former chief of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and now candidate for governor of Massachusetts Dr. Donald Berwick is encouraging the Obama administration to discard a rule that is causing older Americans to pay thousands of dollars for rehabilitation services that they receive after leaving the hospital.

The current CMS rule dictates that recipients be admitted to the hospital at inpatient status for at least three days before the federal health coverage for seniors and the disabled will pay for follow-up nursing home care.  The catch, however, is that more and more patients are being cared for in hospitals under an “observation” status, and often, they do not even realize they were never officially admitted.  Subsequently, Medicare nor most supplemental insurance policies do not cover the cost of rehabilitative care that might be needed following such stays.

Support is growing steadily for a bill filed three years ago in the United States House of Representatives that would allow any patient who spends at least three days in a hospital — whether his or her status is labeled as inpatient or observation — would qualify for coverage for rehabilitation care as long as doctors believe such care truly is needed.

To read the full article, click here.