AHA recommends changes to improve EHR quality measures process   01/29/2013
The AHA today voiced support for certain changes included in an interim final rule for Stage 2 of the Medicare and Medicaid electronic health record programs, such as the use of a case threshold for reporting electronic clinical quality measures that exempts hospitals with a small number of relevant cases from reporting on the measures. In addition, AHA urged the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services and Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology to improve the process for developing and testing electronic CQMs before they go into final regulations. AHA noted the rushed timeline and lack of opportunity to review the electronic specifications for Stage 2 CQMs before they were published and subsequently corrected, and expressed concern that a rushed approach could lead to measures that cannot be implemented. "Hospitals are investing considerable financial and human capital in implementing EHRs and need certainly that the technology supports the development of valid, reliable and feasible automated measurement," AHA Executive Vice President Rick Pollack wrote.
AHA comments on proposed bundled payment performance measure   01/29/2013
The AHA today recommended changes to a proposed Medicare performance measure that assesses payments to hospitals, physicians and post-acute providers during a 30-day episode of heart attack care, and outlined how the measure should be applied to public reporting programs. In a letter to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, AHA said the proposed measure should exclude patients with unique clinical needs who are likely to incur disproportionately different costs, as well as transfer patients. In addition, the risk adjustment model should account for dually eligible Medicare and Medicaid patients and potential complications not caused by hospital care, AHA said. When applying the measure to public reporting programs, CMS should assign accountability only to organizations with the appropriate structure and processes to manage bundled payments; pilot test the measure with organizations actively engaged in bundled payment programs; and ensure the measure uses an adequate minimum sample size, AHA said.
AHA report provides strategies for engaging patients, communities   01/29/2013
A new report from the AHA Committee on Research looks at promising strategies for engaging health care consumers to achieve the "triple aim" of improving population health and the individual care experience while reducing or controlling per capita health care costs. The report includes a framework and case examples for engaging health care users at various levels of the health care system, ranging from the individual to the health care team, organization and community. "Engaging patients, families and communities has the potential to be a 'game changer' in the transformation of the health care system in the United States," the report states. "Hospitals and health care systems can serve as laboratories for developing, testing, learning and disseminating new engagement practices. The impact of this type of engagement and the role that hospitals can play in leading this transformative element of system design in their own communities are foundational for achieving the Triple Aim in health care."
AHRMM launches new initiative for supply chain professionals   01/29/2013
The AHA's Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management last week announced the Cost-Quality-Outcomes Movement, a new training and educational framework for health care supply chain professionals to be rolled out over three years. The framework will guide professionals in decision-making through three focus areas: cost and quality (2013), reimbursement and outcomes (2014), and continuum of care (2015). "The new health care landscape demands a supply chain that is strategic, nimble and progressive, and those running it to be informed and decisive leaders," said AHRMM Executive Director Deborah Sprindzunas. "All supply chain professionals must be poised and ready to embrace supply chain management through the intersection of cost, quality and outcomes."