July 31, 2015
Homing in on HCAHPS

Nearly a year ago, MHA shared with you a summary of broad health care trends and the seven imperatives that hospitals would need to focus on to thrive in this new era of care. The list of imperatives included an entry related to patient experience: "Successful hospitals find new and better ways to engage with their patients, their families, and the community at large to understand how they can improve."


That imperative alludes to the growing sophistication of health care consumers, empowered by their ability to access information about hospitals' clinical and nonclinical quality ratings with just a few swipes on a smart phone. Hospitals, using data from the HCAHPS Hospital Survey, have been focused on improving the experiences of their patients for years, but there's always room to improve.


Two MHA-sponsored reports, authored by nationally-recognized HCAHPS expert Carrie Brady, are designed to help you improve patients' experiences at your hospital. The purpose of these reports is to help you progress toward the change in culture that can help your team better understand the needs of patients:

  • The HCAHPS Data Analysis Report details each hospital's performance scores for the areas addressed by the survey's questions of patients upon discharge. While more recent individual data has become available, , the report provides a statewide look at where we stand compared to the nation, and where you stand in relation to your peers. Overall, Maryland's hospitals' performance has been consistent, with scores in nearly every category changing by no more than 1 percentage point between reporting periods.
  • The Revitalizing HCAHPS Improvement Quick Reference Guide is a useful and accessible list of ways to improve your scores based on hospitals' front-line experiences. Brady has worked directly with hospital leaders and frontline caregivers to improve patient and staff experience while enhancing quality and safety, and the result is some highly practical advice. An example: by inviting staff to sleep on a unit, one hospital determined it was a heavy duty stapler used for paperwork in the early morning hours that was awakening patients.

Improving HCAHPS performance is important for a pragmatic purpose. It is one of several quality measures being used to evaluate the success of Maryland's new waiver and the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services annually examines our scores when considering Maryland's application for an exemption from federal value-based purchasing requirements in favor of the state's Quality-Based Reimbursement programs.


But the greater purpose behind your efforts is that the satisfaction of your patients is a reflection of the care they receive, and every one of your organizations is deeply committed to the best care for the people and communities entrusted to you.

Bond Committee Begins Review of 2015 Applications
The MHA Bond Review Committee met earlier this week to begin the process of reviewing this year's applications for funding under the Private Hospital Facilities Grant Program. The program, established in 1994, provides state support for the capital needs of Maryland's hospitals. The program provides grants to assist in new construction and major renovations. Projects are selected annually by MHA's 11-person committee that consists of seven hospital trustees and four hospital executives from throughout the state.
HSCRC Seeks Proposals for Awards to Improve Care Coordination; Will Provide Webinar
The Health Services Cost Review Commission (HSCRC) is seeking proposals for Competitive Transformation Implementation Awards to improve care coordination and population health in support of Maryland's All-Payer Model. These awards will be available to any Maryland acute care hospital that submits a successful Request for Proposal (RFP). The aggregate amount available for these awards is up to 0.25 percent of statewide revenue. HSCRC will host an August 6 webinar to present a draft of the Competitive Transformation Implementation RFP and answer any questions. Click here for more information about the webinar.
UMMC Midtown CMO Named to AHA's Regional Policy Board
The American Hospital Association has named Dr. W. Eugene Egerton, chief medical officer at the University of Maryland Medical Center Midtown Campus, as an alternate delegate to the association's Section for Metropolitan Hospitals and as a member of its Regional Policy Board 3. Egerton's term expires December 31, 2016. AHA separates the country into nine regions, each with a policy board that meets three times a year. The boards' recommendations and analyses become part of the policy deliberations of the full AHA board. Region 3 is composed of Washington, D.C., Delaware, Kentucky, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia.
Webcast Addresses ASC Patient Safety Culture Survey
The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality's (AHRQ's) presentation from its "Introducing the AHRQ Ambulatory Surgery Center Survey on Patient Safety Culture" webcast is now available. The July 15 webcast highlighted the development of the new survey, presented results from the pilot test, and introduced available toolkit materials. Two ambulatory surgery centers shared how they used the survey and their plans for patient safety culture improvement. Click here to view the presentation and download related materials. 

MHEI Conference Explores Different Angles of IT and Population Health


Two critical presentations at the Maryland Healthcare Education Institute's 2015 Annual Leadership Conference (Oct. 18 and 19) approach information technology from different perspectives.

Prime Offers Solutions for Market Analyses, Intelligence and Forecasting


Prime's affiliate, MedAssets, has acquired Sg2, a leading provider of health care market intelligence, strategic analytics and clinical consulting services. Sg2 delivers an easy access platform of predictive analytics and consulting services that helps more than 1,400 hospitals and health systems - from small community hospitals to large integrated delivery networks - understand current and future market dynamics and capitalize on opportunities for growth and performance.

CMS Issues Q&A on Initial ICD-10 Claims Auditing/Quality Reporting Flexibility


The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services this week released guidance related to its recent announcement that Medicare audit contractors will not deny certain Part B physician fee schedule claims based solely on the specificity of the ICD-10 code for 12 months after ICD-10 implementation.


Cigna Could Become More Powerful Insurer in Maryland After Anthem Deal

Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, July 24


Five-Star Hospitals Double in Quarterly Hospital Compare Update

Fierce Healthcare, By Zack Budryk, July 24


Baltimore, Anne Arundel County Share $815,745 in Federal Grants for Heroin Overdose Plan

Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, July 27


Healthcare Lobbies Push to Include Housing as a Hospital Community Benefit

FierceHealthFinance, By Ron Shinkman, July 27


Maryland Seeks to Expand Access to Drug, Mental Health Treatment in the Community

The Baltimore Sun, By Meredith Cohn, July 28


Baltimore to Use Federal Grant for ER Heroin Response

Baltimore Business Journal, By Sarah Gantz, July 29


Congress Overwhelmingly Approves Bill Bolstering Medicare Patients' Hospital Rights

Kaiser Health News, By Susan Jaffe, July 29