CMS again delays quality reporting deadlines due to inclement weather   02/14/2014
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services today delayed to Feb. 22 the deadline for reporting certain third-quarter 2013 data to quality reporting programs for inpatient and long-term acute care hospitals, inpatient rehabilitation facilities and prospective payment system-exempt cancer hospitals. For the inpatient program, the one-week delay affects clinical data for chart-abstracted quality measures, and data on healthcare-associated infection submitted through the Centers for Disease Control’s National Healthcare Safety Network application. For LTCHs, IRFs and PPS-exempt cancer hospitals, the delay affects HAI data submitted via NHSN. The delay was prompted by the recent severe weather in the eastern and southern United States, but applies to all hospitals participating in the programs. Additional information about submitting HAI data via NHSN can be found at the CDC’s NHSN website. Questions about submitting clinical data for the inpatient program should be directed to the QualityNet help desk at (866) 288-8912.
FTC workshop on health care competition announced   02/14/2014
The Federal Trade Commission will host a public workshop March 20-21 in Washington, D.C., to examine “competition issues related to certain current developments” in U.S. health care, the agency announced today. Planned topics include professional regulation of health care providers; innovations in health care delivery; advancements in health care technology; measuring and assessing quality of health care; and price transparency of health care services. Written comments to be considered for the workshop may be submitted to FTC through March 10, and comments in response to the public notice and workshop discussions through April 30. For more information, see the public notice. An agenda and list of speakers will be published on the event’s web page soon, the agency said. 
AHA updates inpatient payment calculators   02/14/2014
AHA has updated its members-only Value-Based Purchasing calculator to reflect the final adjustment factors that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services is using to adjust hospitals’ fiscal year 2014 base Medicare Severity Diagnosis-Related Group (MS-DRG) operating payments. The calculator also reflects the reduced annual payment update for inpatient prospective payment system hospitals that did not participate in the FY 2014 Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting Program or meet the program’s criteria for a full-payment update. AHA also has updated its calculators for the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program and Disproportionate Share Hospital program to reflect the reduced annual payment updates. The AHA calculators help members estimate their payments and penalties under the programs.
HHS announces global commitment to reduce infectious disease threats   02/14/2014
The Department of Health and Human Services yesterday announced a Global Health Security Agenda to reduce infectious disease threats to the U.S. and other countries. In addition to the U.S., 26 countries have committed to the agenda’s goals to build surveillance, detection and response capacities; establish national biosecurity systems; reduce zoonotic disease transmission; increase routine immunization; and develop public health electronic reporting systems and emergency operations centers. In addition to U.S. agencies, international supporters include the World Health Organization, Food and Agriculture Organization, and World Organization for Animal Health. The White House plans to host a meeting of nations on the agenda later this year, and to propose $45 million in fiscal year 2015 funding for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to partner with up to 10 countries on related efforts. For more information, visit www.globalhealth.gov.
HRET launches infection prevention fellowship program   02/14/2014
The Health Research & Educational Trust’s On the Cusp: Stop CAUTI project seeks applicants through March 7 for Project Protect, a new leadership development fellowship focused on preventing healthcare-associated infections. Nurses, physicians, and infection prevention and risk management professionals are invited to apply for the 12-month program, which includes in-person and virtual learning events, one-on-one mentoring and improvement projects implemented in the fellows’ organizations. The fellowship is presented in partnership with the Association for Professionals in Infection Control and Epidemiology, Emergency Nurses Association, Society for Healthcare Epidemiology of America and Society of Hospital Medicine. HRET is an AHA affiliate.
Meet AHA Chairman James Hinton on Feb. 19 Town Hall webcast   02/14/2014
Tune in to the next members-only AHA Town Hall Webcast on Wednesday, Feb. 19, at 4 p.m. Eastern Time for an opportunity to meet 2014 AHA Chairman James H. Hinton and hear his take on what’s in store for hospitals this year. AHA Senior Vice President of Communications Alicia Mitchell will welcome Hinton, who serves as president and CEO of Presbyterian Healthcare Services in Albuquerque, NM. AHA Senior Vice President of Federal Relations Tom Nickels will also provide a federal update during the webcast. Click here or call (800) 424-4301 for more information.
Joint Commission announces new board members   02/14/2014
The Joint Commission recently named four new members to its Board of Commissioners, including three health care leaders: Grant Davies, CEO of North Bay Hospitals and executive vice president of California Pacific Medical Center, San Francisco; Gregg Meyer, M.D., chief clinical officer at Partners Healthcare System, Boston; and Jane Englebright, chief nursing officer, patient safety officer and vice president for the Clinical Services Group at Hospital Corporation of America. Englebright will serve as the board’s at-large nursing representative.
Report: Investing in hospitals good for CT economy   02/14/2014
Connecticut hospitals contributed $20.2 billion to the state and local economies in 2012, according to a report released yesterday by the Connecticut Hospital Association. The total includes $11 billion in annual local payroll, $8.1 billion in spending for goods and services, and $1.1 billion in capital spending. According to the report, investing in hospitals protects jobs as well as quality health care services. “Every job in a hospital produces another Connecticut job outside the hospital – 111,000 Connecticut jobs can be traced either directly or indirectly to hospitals,” said CHA President and CEO Jennifer Jackson.
Reminder: AHA members-only cybersecurity webinar Tuesday   02/14/2014
AHA will host a members-only webinar Feb. 18 on “Cyber Attacks and Cyber Risk Management: Experience from the Field.” Co-sponsored by the College of Healthcare Information Management Executives, the webinar will feature hospital information security experts from Johns Hopkins University/Johns Hopkins Health System and University of Michigan Health System, who will discuss the most likely cybersecurity challenges in health care and ways to prevent and manage them. To register for the webinar, from 1-2 p.m. Eastern Time, click here. The webinar is the last in a three-part series of AHA members-only webinars on cybersecurity issues for hospitals.