July 17, 2015
Tools for Warm Handoffs

Speaking to a group of long-term care facility senior executives last week at a gathering organized by the Health Facilities Association of Maryland, I was heartened to learn that every one of their organizations makes use of MHA's Skilled Nursing Facility Partnership Development Guide. The executives indicated that the guide is highly valuable in helping them understand hospitals' needs as their organizations work together to reduce readmissions and improve patient experiences.


Released in May, the guide provides information from multiple sources, in a single publication, that helps hospitals identify, develop, and strengthen formal and informal partnerships. It has opened the door for the next phase of these partnerships: skilled nursing facilities transforming their practices to better serve their patients and their partner hospitals.


This early work dovetails with a broader push from the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services to overhaul the quality and safety requirements for long-term care facilities and the recent release of star ratings for home health agencies. It has also led MHA to develop two additional publications that will help hospitals build more substantive partnerships with post-acute providers.


The Home Health Agency Partnership Development Guide is similar to the SNF guide in that it can be easily navigated by county and home health agency name and offers a discussion guide to facilitate communication, the INTERACT tool to highlight capabilities, and key quality and cost measures, including all-cause readmissions rates.


The second new tool is the Post-Acute Care Market Profile,which gives hospitals a clear picture of which partners they are referring patients to and how those referrals contribute to the post-acute providers' market shares. This information can clarify your organization's relationship to its post-acute partners and may be used to request regular meetings, encourage greater collaboration and information sharing, and develop innovative procedures together.


If there's one message that post-acute providers seem to want to convey to hospitals, it's that they are not only willing but eager to be a part of Maryland's revolutionary care delivery transformation. They are highly receptive to trying new things to achieve the Triple Aim and to help hospitals meet the goals of the modernized Medicare waiver.


Skilled nursing facilities and home health agencies receive nearly 30 percent of Maryland's hospitals' Medicare discharges. Cooperation among hospitals and post-acute providers will continue to be essential to improving the care we all provide.

Regional Partnerships Discuss Successes, Challenges

Representatives from Maryland's eight Regional Partnerships for Health System Transformation held their first in-person meeting on Thursday at MHA's Elkridge offices. The Regional Partnerships were established through a competitive application process and announced in May by the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene (DHMH) and the Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC). The partnerships will collaborate on analytics, target services based on patient and population needs, and plan and develop care coordination and population health strategies. This meeting provided the first opportunity for all to come together to share work plans and early successes and to discuss challenges. Additional meetings are planned before final reports from the grantees are due to DHMH and HSCRC in December. All hospitals are invited to participate in a series of bi-monthly, topic-specific webinars hosted by DHMH and HSCRC designed to help hospitals and their partners improve care coordination and population health. An updated list of webinar topics and resource material is available here. Contact Nicole Stallings at nstallings@mhaonline.org for more information.

Free Webinar on Immunization Recommendations

VHQC, the Quality Innovation Network for Maryland and Virginia, is hosting a free webinar on immunization recommendations for 2015 from noon to 1 p.m. on Tuesday, July 28. Dr. David Kim, MA, deputy associate director for adult immunizations with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, will discuss challenges to documenting, tracking and administering adult immunizations to the patients you serve. The webinar is directed to a wide range of health care settings including pharmacists, physician practices, home health, nursing homes and hospitals. For more information and to register, click here

Talking Points on Surgeon Scorecard Available

Maryland's hospitals are included in a recent report from ProPublica on surgical rates for eight elective surgical procedures. Although the article focuses on surgeons, ProPublica compiled a Surgeon Scorecard based on Medicare billing records for inpatient hospital stays from 2009 through 2013 - searchable by hospital and by surgeon. AHA released a media advisory with talking points that MHA provided to your hospital's public relations executives this week.

MHEI Collaboration Increases Opportunities for Nurses

This past year, MHEI entered into a collaborative agreement with the Maryland Organization of Nurse Executives (MONE). Our primary goal was to improve programming for nurses and reduce redundancies that exist when multiple organizations work toward the same goals. 

Accelerate Collections by Capturing Missing Charges and Lost Revenue

Health care providers are facing common challenges - transitioning to ICD-10, managing the risk of new reimbursement models, improving net revenue, reducing days in accounts receivable, increasing efficiency, and managing complex contracts. 

Hospitals Urged to Submit Data to AHA RACTrac Survey

The AHA encourages all hospitals to submit data to the quarterly RACTrac survey by July 24. The free web-based survey helps AHA gauge the impact of Medicare's Recovery Audit Contractor program on hospitals and advocate for needed changes.


Stark Relief? CMS Proposals Could Ease Burden of Self-Referral Laws

Modern Healthcare, July 10


Baltimore's Heroin Task Force Wants 24-Hour Treatment Options to Stem Overdoses

The Baltimore Sun, July 13


'Surgeon Scorecard' Measures Docs by Complications

USA Today, July 14


A Role Model for Diversity in Hospital Leadership

Hospitals & Health Networks, July 14


Mental Health Workforce Shortage a Worldwide Issue

Modern Healthcare, July 15


Medicaid Turns 50 Mired in Controversy

USA Today, July 15