In the wake of a partial government shutdown and troubled Obamacare rollout, two Senators are looking at ways to bring some stability to Medicare payments. Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) and Sen. Dave Camp (R-MI) are proposing a "gradual" change in Medicare reimbursements that would end fee-for-service and the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula — and move toward a system that pays for performance. "Enough with the quick fixes. Our proposal is for a new physician payment system that rewards value over volume," Sen. Baucus said in a statement. The senators have asked for input from medical groups, but there is no timetable as to when a final bill could be voted on by the full Senate.
The Joint Commission announced that 1,099 accredited hospitals were recognized as Top Performers on Key Quality Measures – a 77 percent increase from the previous year. The Joint Commission "bases its top performing designation on a hospital's accountability measures for heart attack, heart failure, pneumonia, surgical care, children's asthma care, inpatient psychiatric services, venous thromboembolism care, stroke care and immunization." Four hundred twenty-four organizations have received the distinction two years in a row.
Researchers from Yale University have released a study indicating that while many hospitals have improved 30-day readmission rates for cardiac patients, they continue to have difficulty in other areas. Revisiting a 2012 survey of 537 hospitals that took part in a quality improvement program, the authors found that many hospitals are continuing to experience difficulty in providing adequate post-discharge care. Focusing on care transitions was identified as a best practice in improving readmission rates beyond cardiac patients.