Nysha Recent News

NYC’s Hospital for Special Surgery creates Chief Value Medical Officer position

January 3, 2017        

By Mendy Hecht, Hamaspik Gazette

NYC’s Hospital for Special Surgery creates Chief Value Medical Officer position

New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery (HSS) recently created a new leadership position: the Chief Value Medical Officer (CVMO).

While most hospitals, insurance companies and other health-related organizations have a chief medical officer, the new leadership at HSS—rheumatologist Catherine Maclean, M.D.—symbolizes the entire healthcare industry’s shift away from fee-for-service to patient value.

In plain English, that means that doctors get paid for healthy results, not treatments.

With the specialty hospital now with a CVMO of its own, HSS plans to further move from volume to value.

U.S. hospitals’ post-9/11 disaster drills pay off after Florida airport shooting

Over 50 people were rushed to the Broward Health hospital immediately after a person suffering from mental-health issues shot 13 people on Jan. 6 at the Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood Airport.

Fortunately, the hospital—which is a Level I trauma center—was ready for the rush of patients.

The quick processing, admitting and treating of large numbers of patients according to their immediate needs was a result of hospital incident-command systems that have been standardized nationwide following the Sept. 11, terrorist attacks.

Those standardized emergency procedures include disaster drills that incorporate local police departments and other authorities.

“Whether you have an influx of patients from a chemical spill, a bio-terrorism event, plane crash, a bus crash or a shooting, you still have to have your emergency personnel ready to go,” Interim CEO Mark Sprada, R.N. told Health & Hospitals Network, an industry publication. “The fortunate thing for hospitals is we’ve had these standards for a number of years.”

Federal multi-million-dollar infection crackdown hitting hundreds of U.S. hospitals

Over 760 losing one percent of Medicare payments for year due to bug-resistant germs

For the past two years, Medicare has been cutting one percent of reimbursements to U.S. hospitals with high rates of specific avoidable patient injuries.  (Some 750 hospitals were penalized in 2015; 721 were penalized in 2014.)

The program, now in its third year, is designed to give hospitals financial incentive to lower rates of various injuries among patients.  Targeted injuries include blood clots, bed sores and falls.

Now, however, the federal program is punishing hospitals for the first time for having high rates of hospital-acquired infections (HAIs), a perennial public health problem. 

The new penalty criteria now hit 306 hospitals nationwide that were not penalized in the program’s first two years.  (Nearly 350 on last year’s list are not on this year’s list.)

Among the 769 U.S. hospitals being penalized for any reason are 66 in hospital-heavy New York, including Good Samaritan, Mount Sinai, New York Methodist, and Westchester Medical Center.  (California led the pack at 96; New York was followed by Texas with 61.)

Specifically, hospitals are now being penalized for having high rates of two specific types of drug-resistant bacterial infections among patients.  Those two infections are methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Clostridium difficile (C. diff).

The good news is that MRSA cases actually dropped by 13 percent between 2011 and 2014, according to the CDC, and of which there were an estimated 6,300 U.S. hospital cases in 2015.  Hospital infections of C. diff also dropped eight percent from 2008 to 2014, although 2015 saw an estimated 100,000 hospital cases of C. diff.

At least two million people contract antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections each year, including almost 250,000 hospital patients—which includes, according to the CDC, some 23,000 fatalities.

Medicare revamping heart-attack, hip fracture coverage

In related news, the federal Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation—created by the Affordable Care Act—is fielding a hospital-based pilot project in 165 U.S. cities that changes how Medicare reimburses doctors for treating members for heart attack or hip fractures.

Under the pilot project, Medicare incentivizes caregivers to provide patients with more coordinated long-term care—rewarding the resulting better long-term results with slightly increased reimbursement. 

With expected savings resulting from the avoided complications and hospital re-admissions, Medicare is hoping that the program will ultimately reduce costs and limit spending.

Overall, about 168,000 Medicare beneficiaries are treated for heart attacks in a given year.  Some 48,000 undergo heart bypass surgery for clogged arteries; 109,000 have surgery for broken hips.