CMS continues its frantic pace. They have now proposed 10 process quality measures and looking for comments on an additional 30 for outpatient hospital reporting in the next year. If hospitals don't report they will get a 2% payment cut after 1/8/08. The first five measures are about the patient with heart problems. Top
The Adventist Rehabilitation Hospital of Montgomery County, Maryland, has severe quality concerns. The quality of care is bad enough that the state is looking to fine them if they don't improve and the feds are considering puling their ticket.
The CHAMP bill in Congress would not only fund the State Children's health Insurance Program to a degree that the President will veto it but would also take away the whole hospital exemption for specialty physician owned hospitals. This will not pass this term but watch out later.
The AHA continues on its mission to make sure no money is taken from them. In a 18 page comment letter to CMS the organization took exception to the proposed outpatient prospective payment program. It is doubtful if CMS will take much of what AHA says into consideration as it plans to issue the first rules by November 1.
The AHA also wrote a letter stating they don't like the requirements that the Office of Management proposes in the final inpatient prospective payments. They were for physicians to disclose ownership in but not for hospitals need to disclose. It was too burdensome for hospitals but not for physicians. They continued their rail on specialty hospitals by stating that only specialty hospitals owned by physicians should be required to disclose.
The DHS and AHLA have issued a joint resource to help healthcare boards have their oversight in the quality area. Top
The JC is becoming very active. On September 5, 2007, they issued a new edict that states any physician may report patient quality issues to the Joint Commission without fear of reprisal. This new requirement of training staff and medical people about the rule goes into effect 1/1/08. The JC does not state what will happen to a hospital that ignores their new Standard.
The JC is investigating Val Verde Medical Center in Texas due to complaints by physicians about the poor patient care at the facility. The hospital states that the physician complaints are already being addressed. This only happens after the CEO is pushed to the wall by the whistleblowing. The CEO in a press release attempted to deflect any significant patient care issues but didn't do a good job of it. Top
On the left coast, the California Democratic legislature has introduced a new bill to put back money cut by the Governor using a line item veto. This was after a deal was struck to allow the budget to pass. This only requires a simple majority to pass and will be vetoed by the Governor thereby needing a supermajority to pass. Top
DISCLAIMER: Although this
article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the
time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers
should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the