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February 2019
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2019 Medicare final payment rule brings big wins for ASCs

The holiday spirit got off to a good start at ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) across the country with the November 2, 2018, announcement of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) 2019 Ambulatory Surgical Center Payment System and Quality Reporting (ASCQR) Program Final Rule. Several significant changes ASCs had…

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By: Janet M. Boivin, BSN, BSJ, RN
January 14, 2019
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Reduced readmissions credited to HRRP overstated

Editor's Note Medicare’s Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP), which penalizes readmissions for several targeted conditions, has been credited with lowering readmission rates; however, these reductions now appear to be overstated, this study finds. A concurrent change in electronic transaction standards that increased diagnostic coding allowed hospitals to document a larger…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 10, 2019
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Healthcare executives investing more in data analytics, AI

Editor's Note A survey by NewVantage Partners finds that 77% of healthcare executives are increasing investments in big data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI), according to the January 4 HealthIT Analytics. Disruptive forces and industry competitors are the major motivators for the increase. Nearly 80% of data analytics leaders say…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 8, 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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December healthcare employment highest in decades

Editor's Note US healthcare added 50,200 jobs in December to a seasonally adjusted 16,213,000, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported on January 4. That is up 346,000 more employees than a year ago, and the highest since 1990. The overall unemployment rate rose by 0.2% to 3.9%.  

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By: Judy Mathias
January 7, 2019
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Medicare’s bundled payments for joint replacements show moderate savings

Editor's Note In the first 2 years of Medicare’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) program, there was a modest reduction in spending per procedure without an increase in complication rates, this study finds. Comparing costs associated with 280,161 joint replacement procedures in 803 hospitals required to participate in the…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 3, 2019
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Effect of routine preop urine screening on postop outcomes

Editor's Note Antimicrobial treatment of asymptomatic organisms identified in preoperative urine cultures was not associated with reductions in the risk for postoperative infections, including urinary tract infections (UTIs) and surgical site infections (SSIs), this study finds. In this analysis of 68,265 patients in 109 Veterans Affairs hospitals who had cardiac,…

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By: Judy Mathias
January 2, 2019
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Joint Commission surveys now seek evidence of performance

In the past few months, the Joint Commission has implemented a new process for accreditation surveys and changed the wording and interpretation of some standards, particularly infection control. At the 2018 OR Manager Conference in Nashville, Tennessee, in September, John R. Rosing, MHA, FACHE, executive vice president and principal of…

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By: Judith M. Mathias, MA, RN
December 13, 2018
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Editorial

A greater focus on cost cutting and improving quality of care, a rise in outpatient procedures, and increased demand for cost and quality transparency were among the major healthcare trends projected for 2018. It’s safe to say these will continue to dominate in 2019 and beyond. A year ago, all…

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By: Elizabeth Wood
December 13, 2018
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Effect of CJR bundled payment program on care delivery

Editor's Note Participation in the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) bundled payment program was associated with changes in care delivery and compensation practices, this study finds. This survey of 73 orthopedic surgeons found that those practicing in CJR hospitals were more likely to report their hospitals had implemented programs…

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By: Judy Mathias
December 6, 2018
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