Jul. 16, 2014

ALJ chief: Backlog growing
AHA News Now
The timeframes for a hearing and deciding of a Medicare appeal by an administrative law judge has steadily increased since fiscal year 2010. The timeframes have increased to 387 days, said Nancy Griswold, chief ALJ from the Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Medicare Hearing and Appeals. Griswold said this to members of the Subcommittee on Energy Policy, Health Care and Entitlements of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.More

Emergency room doctors struggle with 2-midnight rule, observation status
As hospitals across the nation face the complications involved with the two-midnight rule, emergency physicians may experience the most conflicts as they strive to balance patient needs with the federal government requirements for short inpatient stays. Emergency and internal medicine physicians often struggle to get the right designation and status for the patient, said Catherine Polera, M.D., chief clinical officer of the division of emergency medicine at Sheridan Healthcare, a national hospital-based, multispecialty practice management company. "They go through a dance and it's not as clear as you might think," said Polera.More

CMS announces healthcare innovation grants
AHA News Now
The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services announced new prospective recipients for Healthcare Innovation Awards to test new payment and service delivery models to improve care outcomes and lower costs. The round-two awards focus on models to rapidly reduce Medicare, Medicaid and Children's Health Insurance Program costs in the outpatient and post-acute settings; improve care for populations with specialized needs; test financial and clinical transformation approaches for specific types of providers; and improve the health of populations.More

CMS to increase quality measures for MSSP ACOs: 4 things to know
Becker's Hospital Review
According to author Dani Gordon: Under a proposed rule change issued by CMS, as a part of the anticipated 2015 Physician Fee Schedule, the number of quality measures used to assess accountable care organizations in the Medicare Shared Savings Program would increase from 33 to 37. In this article are some things to know about the proposed changes with regard to ACOs.More

Apply by Aug. 15 to earn your case management credential!
Aug. 15 is the ACM Certification application deadline for the fourth quarter of 2014. Applications and payment must be received by the ACMA National Office by this date in order to take the exam during October, November or December. If you are not yet ACM certified, we encourage you to apply now at and put the ACM credential after your name.More

AHA webinar on patient and family engagement strategies
AHA News Now
AHA's Hospitals in Pursuit of Excellence initiative will host a free July 30 webinar on results from a recent survey on the state of hospital strategies to engage patients and families in their care, as well as case studies of excellence in patient and family engagement. Patient and family engagement is associated with fewer adverse events, lower health care costs, decreased use of services, better patient self-management and higher patient-satisfaction scores.More

Study: Standard hand-off policies reduce care failures
Reuters Health via Medscape (Free subscription)
Children's hospitals that used an evidence-based standardized patient hand-off process reduced related care failures by 69 percent, researchers reported in Pediatrics. Data from 23 children's hospitals found having a common understanding about the patient and a clear transition of responsibility, as well as minimizing interruptions and distractions, all improved during the study.More

Critical access hospitals struggle with EHR implementations
HealthData Management
Though Critical access hospitals (CAHs) are making substantial strides in adopting health IT and increasing their telehealth and health information exchange capabilities, they face significant challenges in implementing electronic health records due to a lack of resources and workflow and staffing barriers. Found in every region of the U.S., CAHs represent roughly 30 percent of hospitals nationwide, often providing critical healthcare services in underserved rural areas of the country.More