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April 2019
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Joint Commission moves THKR performance measures

Editor's Note The Joint Commission on March 6 announced that it is moving the inpatient and outpatient Total Hip and Total Knee Replacement (THKR) implementation guides from the performance measure webpage to the 2019 Specifications Manual for Joint Commission National Quality Measures. The Manual was published in February. The move will…

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By: Judy Mathias
March 11, 2019
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CMS updates Star Ratings, proposes future changes

Editor's Note The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on February 28 updated its Overall Hospital Star Ratings on the Hospital Compare website and posted potential changes to the Hospital Star Ratings methodology for public comment. The proposed changes would make hospital comparisons more precise and consistent, and allow…

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By: Judy Mathias
March 4, 2019
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New nurses working long shifts, overtime

Editor's Note New nurses are predominantly working 12-hour shifts and nearly half work overtime each week, trends that have remained relatively the same over the past 10 years, this study finds. Analyzing surveys from more than 4,500 newly licensed nurses in 13 states and Washington, DC, researchers from New York…

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By: Judy Mathias
February 20, 2019
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Hospital employment up in January

Editor's Note US hospitals added 18,800 jobs in January to a seasonally adjusted 5,214,200, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on February 1. That’s up 112,100 more employees than a year ago. Overall, healthcare employment has increased 367,800 in the past year. The overall unemployment rose by 0.1% in January…

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By: Judy Mathias
February 20, 2019
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Surgical transfer unit allows patients to bypass ED

There are few things more disheartening for patients than having to board in the emergency department (ED) for long periods while waiting for a bed. ED boarding can also delay treatment and adds to overcrowding and backups. Erlanger Health System, based in Chattanooga, Tennessee, decided to tackle this problem head…

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By: Catherine Spader, RN
February 20, 2019
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Government payment policies linked to hospital performance fail to improve CAUTI rates

Editor's Note This study found no evidence that value-based incentive programs (VBIPs), which link financial incentives or penalties to hospital performance, had any measurable association with changes in catheter-associated urinary tract infection (CAUTI) rates. Researchers at Boston University School of Medicine analyzed 592 hospitals across the country, and found that…

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By: Judy Mathias
February 14, 2019
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Effect of referring high-risk patients to local high-quality hospitals

Editor's Note In this study, complication rates and Medicare payments were significantly lower for high-risk surgical patients treated at local high-quality hospitals. Analyzing elderly Medicare patients having any of four elective inpatient surgical procedures between 2012 and 2014, researchers found that one-fourth of high-risk patients had surgery at a low-quality…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 23, 2019
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Researchers pinpoint factor that predicts unplanned readmissions

Editor's Note The widely used “LACE index,” which assesses a patient’s risk of hospital readmission, has a “blindspot” because it fails to consider whether patients are on Medicaid, West Virginia University researchers say. LACE stands for length of stay, acuity, comorbidity, and emergency department. To assess the predictive value of…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 17, 2019
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Effect of Medicare ACOs on spending for inpatient surgery

Editor's Note Though Medicare Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) have had some success in reducing spending for medical care, they have not had similar success with surgical spending, this study finds. Of 341,675 patients at 427 ACO hospitals and 1,024,090 patients at 1,531 non-ACO hospitals analyzed, average baseline payments were similar…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 14, 2019
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CMS underpaid hospitals by $76.8 billion in 2017

Editor's Note The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) underpaid hospitals by $76.8 billion in 2017, according to data from the American Hospital Association’s Annual Survey of Hospitals. Medicare underpayments totaled $53.9 billion, and Medicaid underpayments were $22.9 billion. Hospitals also provided $38.4 billion in uncompensated care, the January…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 7, 2019
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