As administrators are increasingly concerned with reducing hospital readmissions, FierceHealthcare has highlighted six readmission reduction success stories, including Saint Francis Memorial Hospital in San Francisco. In an interview, Vituity hospitalist medical director, Joseph Mallon, MD, describes how his team used patient education and follow-up after discharge to keep patients from needing to return to the hospital. "'Our goal, again, is to encourage understanding of this process [and] ultimately to improve response to therapy, to improve [patients] being able to respond to their triggers medically, when necessary,' he said." You can read more about Saint Francis' success in our recent post by Courtenay Kohlman, RN, BSN.
As CMS continues to promote and tout its ACO program, a new report published in Health Services Research finds that 60 percent of physician groups have avoided ACOs, and few plan on joining. Under the ACO program, Medicare penalizes hospitals and physicians who fail to meet quality goals. There are currently over 350 ACOs, which may not be attractive to practicing physicians as they might "fail to account for physicians' contributions and challenges toward meeting ACO goals." The study also found that these reluctant physicians are also less likely to have resources needed to manage the care of patients effectively and efficiently.
A battle in Massachusetts is pitting nurses against hospitals as well as the American Nurses Association (ANA) and may have wider implications. The state legislature is considering a bill that would lower nurse-patient ratios across all Massachusetts hospitals — a bill that may go before voters if legislators fail to act. While nurses and patient advocates applaud the legislation, hospitals say such a mandate would add millions of dollars in additional cost while not increasing revenue. Surprisingly, the ANA came out against the bill, arguing that, "rather than mandatory ratios, hospitals should personalize staffing plans for individual hospital units, accounting for individual patient needs and staff experience levels."