Preparedness bill goes to president   03/05/2013
The U.S. House of Representatives last night voted 370-28 to approve Senate amendments to the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Reauthorization Act of 2013 (H.R. 307). The bill next goes to President Obama, who is expected to sign it into law. AHA-supported provisions in the bill would reauthorize the Hospital Preparedness Program, Emergency System for Advance Registration of Volunteer Health Professionals, Medical Reserve Corps and other critical preparedness activities through fiscal year 2018; clarify allowable activities for recipients of HPP funds; and permit national collaboration among HPP-funded entities.
Hospital adoption of EHRs climbs, but challenges remain   03/05/2013
At least 44% of non-federal acute care hospitals had adopted at least a basic electronic health record system by 2012, up from 28% in 2011 and 9% in 2008, according to a report released today by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology. According to a second ONC report, adoption rates for each of the 14 Stage 1 core objectives for meaningful EHR use ranged from 72% to 94%. The findings are based on data from the information technology supplement to the AHA Annual Survey. “Today’s data prove unequivocally that the nation’s hospitals are hard at work adopting electronic health records,” said Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president of public policy analysis and development. “However, we must recognize that implementation challenges remain for small and rural hospitals, which have made progress and should not be penalized for not being further along.…Priority needs to be on thoughtful adoption rather than expanded requirements which only create more obstacles, as laid out in Stage 2 and 3 of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Meaningful Use program.”
AHRQ report identifies 22 proven patient safety strategies   03/05/2013
A new report from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality identifies 22 patient safety strategies that are proven to be effective and provides information on how they work best so they can be adapted to local needs. The report, which updates a 2001 report called “Making Health Care Safer,” includes reviews of the strength and quality of evidence for 41 patient safety strategies and identifies those that have the strongest evidence of effectiveness. The reviews include evidence about context, implementation and adoption to help clinicians understand what works, how to apply it and under what circumstances it works best.
Study: Hospice reduces Medicare costs, hospital use   03/05/2013
Hospice enrollment within 30 days of death or 53-105 days of death lowers Medicare expenditures, according to a study in the March edition of Health Affairs. Hospice enrollment during these periods also lowers hospital and intensive care unit use, 30-day hospital readmissions and in-hospital death, the study found. The authors compared Medicare costs for patients receiving and not receiving hospice care during four periods: 1-7, 8-14 and 15-30 days before death (the most common hospice enrollment period), and 53-105 days before death. “The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services should abandon efforts to reduce Medicare hospice spending and delay hospice enrollment and should instead focus on ensuring that people who want hospice care receive timely referral,” the authors conclude.
Delaware hospitals report on community benefit   03/05/2013
Delaware’s not-for-profit hospitals contributed $407.4 million toward free and subsidized health care and community benefit programs in fiscal year 2011, according to a recent report by the Delaware Healthcare Association. That’s an increase of 14% or $50 million since FY 2010. DHA President and CEO Wayne Smith said spending on non-traditional health care services “represents a significant financial contribution to ensuring the basic health care needs of Delawareans are met, regardless of their ability to pay.”