News Updates — Looking to Improve Quality of Care


Our biweekly news updates are designed to keep you up to date with current developments relating to the Acute Care Continuum. Feel free to share your perspective on these stories or link to articles that you have found relevant to today's healthcare environment.

Lawmakers Exploring Ways to End Fee-for-Service Medicare Payments

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.

More Hospitals Are Improving Quality of Care

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.

Reducing Readmission Rates Continues to be Difficult

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.