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October 2017
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Racial disparities in surgical mortality narrowing

Editor's Note Despite concerns that quality improvement efforts may widen disparities, national racial disparities in surgical mortality are narrowing, this study finds. Using Medicare claims data from 2005 to 2014, Harvard researchers found that, overall, national mortality trends improved for both black and white patients by 0.10% and 0.07% per…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 12, 2017
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FDA extends UDI compliance dates for Class I, unclassified devices

Editor's Note The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has notified medical device labelers that the compliance dates for unique device identifier (UDI) requirements for Class I and unclassified medical devices has been extended from September 24, 2018, to September 24, 2020, and for direct mark requirements from September 24, 2020,…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 12, 2017
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Value-based reforms linked to readmission reduction

Editor's Note Hospital participation in value-based reforms was associated with greater reductions in 30-day readmissions, this study finds. In this analysis of 2,837 hospitals between 2008 and 2015, researchers found that participation in one or more voluntary Medicare value-based reforms, which included the Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Records program,…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 6, 2017
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US Representatives ask Secretary Price’s assistance with ASC inflationary update measure

Editor's Note A bipartisan group of 24 US Representatives sent a letter to Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, MD, on May 26 asking him to use his statutory authority to move ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) from the Consumer Price Index for All Urban Consumers (CPI-U) to…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 6, 2017
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Physician practice ownership drops below 50%

Editor's Note For the first time, less than half of physicians have an ownership stake in their practices, according to a study by the American Medical Association. Surgical sub-specialties have the highest share of physician owners (59.3%), followed by radiology (56.3%). Emergency medicine has the lowest share of owners (27.9%)…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 6, 2017
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AHRQ releases stats on outpatient, inpatient surgeries

Editor's Note According to statistics from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), in 2014, 17.2 million hospital visits (inpatient and outpatient) included surgical procedures. More than half (57.8%) occurred in a hospital-owned outpatient surgery setting, and the remaining (42.2%) were inpatient. Private insurance was the primary payer for…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 2, 2017
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CMS issues guide for quality payment programs

Editor's Note The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has issued a guide summarizing technical assistance resources available to small, underserved, and rural hospitals participating in the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) and the Advanced Alternative Payment Model (AAPM). The guide also provides resources for quality innovation networks and…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 2, 2017
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Study: QI measures reduce readmissions, cost savings vary

Editor's Note Quality improvement (QI) measures can be effective in reducing readmissions, relative to the status quo, but cost savings vary, this meta-analysis finds. In this review of 50 QI studies, interventions reduced readmissions by an average of 12.1% for heart failure patients and 6.3% among the general population. However,…

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By: Judy Mathias
June 1, 2017
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ECRI Institute issues free resource on ransomware attacks

Editor's Note The ECRI Institute (Plymouth Meeting, Pennsylvania) on May 25 issued a free public resource to protect hospitals from ransomware attacks. The new guidance, “Ransomware Attacks: How to Protect Your Medical Device Systems,” provides recommendations for adapting general cybersecurity principles to the requirements of medical devices, including a list…

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By: Judy Mathias
May 25, 2017
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Mortality lower at teaching hospitals

Editor's Note In this study, major teaching hospital status was associated with lower mortality rates for common medical and surgical conditions, compared with nonteaching hospitals. The analysis of 21.4 million hospitalizations of Medicare patients at 4,483 hospitals (250 major teaching, 894 minor teaching, and 3,339 nonteaching) found that 30-day mortality…

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By: Judy Mathias
May 24, 2017
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