AHRQ: Project reduces blood stream infections by 40%   09/10/2012
Hospitals participating in the national On the CUSP: Stop BSI project reduced central line-associated blood stream infections in adult intensive care units by 40% over four years, saving more than 500 lives and $34 million in health care costs, the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality announced today. Led by the AHA's Health Research & Educational Trust affiliate, the CUSP project has helped participating hospitals reduce the rate of CLABSIs nationally to 1.1 per 1,000 central line days in 2012 from 1.9 in 2009. More than 1,100 hospitals from 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico are currently enrolled in the national effort, which builds on the success of an earlier Michigan Health & Hospital Association Keystone Center project. "This partnership between the federal government and hospitals provides clear evidence that we can protect patients from these deadly infections," said AHA President and CEO Rich Umbdenstock. "Hospitals remain committed to curtailing CLABSIs and enhancing patient safety in all clinical settings." The project also released a toolkit to help hospital reduce CLABSIs.
AHA urges Medicare contractor to rescind draft LCD for IRF patients   09/10/2012
The AHA Friday urged Cahaba Government Benefit Administrators to rescind a draft Local Coverage Determination that would prohibit payment for certain inpatient rehabilitation patients based on their diagnoses. Specifically, the proposal would prohibit payment for patients receiving certain lower extremity joint replacements at inpatient rehabilitation facilities. "Cahaba lacks the authority to unilaterally and proactively narrow national IRF coverage in this manner," wrote Linda Fishman, AHA senior vice president for policy analysis and development. "The proposed categorical denial based on diagnosis prevents access to care for beneficiaries who otherwise meet Medicare medical necessity guidelines." Cahaba is the Medicare administrative contractor for Part A and B claims in Alabama, Georgia and Tennessee. It released the draft LCD on July 27 with a proposed effective date of July 12, 2012. "The effective date appears both arbitrary and patently unfair to providers that are otherwise complying with the existing national Medicare coverage guidelines for the patients targeted by the draft LCD," the letter adds.
AHRQ proposes consumer reporting system for patient safety events    09/10/2012
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality today asked the Office of Management and Budget to approve a proposal to test a prototype consumer reporting system for patient safety events. The project includes a proposed form to collect information voluntarily reported by patients, consumers, family members and other caregivers via the Internet or telephone. AHRQ will accept comments on the proposed information collection through Nov. 9. Copies of the proposed data collection instruments and details on the project's estimated time and cost burdens can be obtained from AHRQ Reports Clearance Officer Doris Lefkowitz at (301) 427-1477 or doris.lefkowitz@AHRO.hhs.gov.
Surgeon General issues updated suicide prevention strategy   09/10/2012
U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin, M.D., and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention today issued an updated National Strategy for Suicide Prevention, which offers guidance for health care and other sectors based on advancements in the field since the last strategy was published nearly a decade ago. Among health care-related goals, the report recommends suicide prevention be coordinated and integrated with existing health and behavioral health efforts and ensure continuity of care.