CMS has announced the second annual release of the Part D Prescriber Public Use File, a dataset that details information on the prescription drugs that were prescribed by individual physicians and other health care providers and paid for under the Medicare Part D Prescription Drug Program in 2014. This dataset describes the specific medications prescribed and statistics on their utilization and costs. It provides data on more than one million distinct health care providers who collectively prescribed $121 billion in prescription drugs under the Part D program in 2014. The data are posted on the CMS website at https://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/Medicare-Provider-Charge-Data/PartD2014.html
Study Finds 20 Percent of Hospital Patients Discharged Too Early, Increasing Risk of Death, ReadmissionsMartina Dolan | August 11, 2016
Fierce Healthcare writes:Twenty percent of people hospitalized are sent home before their vital signs are stable, which can increase their risk of death and likelihood of readmission, a new study by UT Southwestern Medical Center researchers shows. The study, published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine, analyzed the medical records of more than 32,000 patients at six providers in the Dallas-Fort Worth Area for red flags within 24 hours of discharge, such as anomalies in heart and breathing rate, oxygen saturation, blood pressure and temperature.
Interesting viewpoint from the Miami Herald published in Kaiser Health News Morning Briefing relating to new healthcare price transparency legislation that went into effect in Florida. The new law requires hospitals to publish “average charges” but the author writes that the new law does nothing to ease the burden of consumers when trying to determine costs and shopping for good value.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has updated Nursing Home Compare Five-Star Quality Ratings on CMS Nursing Home Compare to incorporate new measures. These new measures look at successful discharges, emergency visits, and re-hospitalizations. Nursing homes receive four different star ratings on the Nursing Home Compare website (each ranging from 1 to 5 stars): one for each of the components – health inspections, staffing, and quality measures – and one for an overall rating, which is calculated by combining each of the three component star ratings. With the new quality measures added to the calculations, the quality measures star rating for each nursing home, as well as the overall rating, will likely change.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced the participants in the Frontier Community Health Integration Project (FCHIP) Demonstration, an effort to increase access to care for Medicare beneficiaries in areas of the country where access to health services can be limited because of distance from providers. Ten critical access hospitals (CAHs) in Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota will participate in the Demonstration, which begins this August. The FCHIP Demonstration, a statutory mandate launched by the CMS Innovation Center in collaboration with the Federal Office of Rural Health Policy, located in the Health Resources and Services Administration, will test new models of integrated, coordinated health care in the most sparsely populated rural counties in the nation over three years. This demonstration program will encourage the ten CAHs to provide essential services that are often not financially viable in rural communities with the goals of improving quality of care, increasing patient satisfaction in rural communities, and spending health care dollars more wisely. The demonstration will provide financial incentives for care coordination activities for local CAHs to reduce unnecessary admissions and readmissions across their networks of care.
From The Commonwealth Fund: Mobile applications, or apps, have the potential to help patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions manage their health better. But as currently designed, health apps can present challenges to the vulnerable populations who would likely benefit the most, including the poor and patients with low levels of health literacy. An observational study of adults using apps to manage their chronic conditions found that patients could complete only a minority of tasks without any assistance.
New results from AHRQ’s CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey are now available at www.cahpsdatabase.ahrq.gov/cahpsidb. The survey asked patients about their recent experiences with clinicians and their staff. Results are based on voluntary submission of survey data to the CAHPS Database by health systems, medical practices, and other survey sponsors administering the CAHPS Clinician & Group Survey. The 2015 CG-CAHPS Database includes 636,468 surveys submitted by 2,829 practice sites.
Read more: https://www.cahpsdatabase.ahrq.gov/cahpsidb/
The federal government’s penalties on hospitals will reach a new high as Medicare withholds more than half a billion dollars in payments over the next year, records released Tuesday show, writes Kaiser Health News. The government will punish more than half of the nation’s hospitals — a total of 2,597 — having more patients than expected return within a month. While that is about the same number penalized last year, the average penalty will increase by a fifth, according to a Kaiser Health News analysis. The new penalties, which take effect in October, are based on the rehospitalization rate for patients with six common conditions. Since the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program began in October 2012, national readmission rates have dropped as many hospitals pay more attention to how patients fare after their release.
As part of their release of their 27th annual Best Hospitals rankings, U.S. News & Health included, for the first time, childbirth-related data in their public reporting. Many hospitals do not report NTSV C-section or episiotomy rates to organizations that make the information public, U.S. News asked 24 hospitals, which Consumer Reports recently identified as having high-volume obstetrical service lines and having not voluntarily reported a C-section rate to the Leapfrog Group, for data on the two measures for a recent period, such as the Joint Commission’s latest 12-month reporting period. The hospitals were given a date by which to report. Of the 24 hospitals, at least 19 have since reported an NTSV C-section rate. Several hospitals did not provide their episiotomy rate and indicated they currently do not track it.
Ireland: The Health Information and Quality Authority (HIQA) has published an ‘International review of national health and social care data collections’. HIQA’s review of international experience and best practice found that having national health social care data collections with quality data leads to improvements in the quality of care patients receive. HIQA’s review considered health and social care data collections in Australia, Canada, England, New Zealand and Scotland and found a number of key characteristics necessary for establishing quality data collections.
Read more: International review of national health and social care data collections, HIQA. July 2016 (PDF)