Group issues self-assessment tool for hospitalist practices   02/04/2014
The Society of Hospital Medicine today released a framework for assessing the performance of Hospital Medicine Groups, medical practices composed of hospitalist physicians and other clinicians who specialize in the care of hospital patients. Developed with input from the AHA’s Committee on Clinical Leadership, the framework identifies 47 key characteristics of an effective HMG in 10 areas: leadership; clinician engagement; resources; planning and management infrastructure; alignment with the hospital or health system; care coordination; role in addressing key clinical issues in the hospital or health system; approach to its scope of clinical activities; patient- and family-centered, team-based practice model; and clinician recruitment and retention. “The framework is designed to be aspirational, helping to ‘raise the bar’ for the specialty of hospital medicine,” said co-author Patrick Cawley, M.D., CEO at the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston. “In the long-term, SHM envisions that hospitals and HMGs everywhere will use it to conduct self-assessments and develop pathways for improvement, resulting in better health care and patient care.”
SAMHSA issues 'Behavioral Health Barometer' reports    02/04/2014
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration Friday released national and state reports on U.S. behavioral health trends. According to the national report, the rate of prescription pain reliever abuse fell between 2007 and 2011 for children and adults under age 26 (from 9.2% to 8.7% and 12% to 9.8%, respectively). Among other improvements, the number of people getting buprenorphine treatment for heroin addiction jumped 400% between 2006 and 2010, while the number of people getting outpatient behavioral health treatment through Medicare increased by more than 30%. The “Behavioral Health Barometer” report provides analyses by gender, age group and race/ethnicity, where possible, to serve as a basis for tracking and addressing behavioral health disparities. "Unlike many behavioral health reports, its focus is not only on what is going wrong in terms of behavioral health, but what is improving and how communities might build on that progress,” said SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde.
Physician EHR attestation deadline approaching   02/04/2014
Feb. 28 is the last day physicians and other eligible professionals can attest to meaningful use of electronic health records for calendar year 2013 under the Medicare EHR Incentive Program. EPs must begin attesting to meaningful use by CY 2013 to benefit fully from Medicare EHR incentives. Those wishing to attest should consider visiting the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services' attestation website well in advance of the deadline to ensure they are familiar with the complex process. Payment adjustments for EPs will be applied beginning Jan. 1, 2015, to Medicare participants that have not successfully demonstrated meaningful use. For more information, see CMS’ payment adjustment tipsheet for EPs. EPs participating in the Medicaid EHR Incentive Program should check their state’s attestation deadlines. For more information and resources, visit