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According to research published in Pediatrics, a study--based on parent and clinician interviews and record reviews of 305 children--found 29.5 percent of pediatric readmissions were potentially preventable. In more than three-quarters of those cases, researchers determined hospital-related factors played a role. In addition, 39.2 percent were related to the patient--often because of issues that arose after discharge--and 14.5 were related to the primary care physician. (Multiple factors played a role, so the total exceeds 100 percent.) (Kaiser Health News; Pediatrics) 

A recent survey of 1,000 full-time professionals from One Medical Group found two out of three employees would rather have better health and wellness benefits than other benefits. Nearly 60 percent said employee benefits are "very important" to how they feel about their job and employer; 36 percent said benefits are "somewhat important." However, only about 52 percent say their company is making sufficient investments in their wellness and preventative care. Only a quarter say their company's health and wellness programs are actually making them healthier. And nearly half say their companies don't even have a wellness program. (Employee Benefit News) 
Innovation & Transformation  
CMS has released guidance that encourages states to use Medicaid funds to keep elderly, and physically and mentally disabled, beneficiaries at home and in community settings instead of nursing homes. The guidance suggests states create an open registry of home care workers and calls for developing adequate reimbursement for home care services, Modern Healthcare reports. (Modern Healthcare)

Mobile health has a potentially great role in early diagnosis and prevention of cardiovascular disease, according to a paper published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. It calls on payers to implement incentives and reimbursements to motivate providers to purchase mobile health tools, and it offers a framework for developing mHealth. "To have a substantial impact on patients' lives, developers must work closely with patients, providers, and payers. [...] These collaborations will allow developers to solve meaningful problems rather than search for problems that legitimize 'solutions' they have already developed." (Healio; Journal of the American Heart Association)
Whether called a death doula, end-of-life doula, soul midwife or transition coach, the goal is still the same--to make dying less scary and as easy as possible for all involved. This may mean sitting by the side of someone who has no family or doing chores so family can sit by their side. Henry Fersko-Weiss, president of the International End of Life Doula Association, says, "Our role is to walk alongside [the dying] in their journey." (The Washington Post) 
Consumers & Providers
A cyberattack on Phoenix-based Banner Health is worse than originally thought. At first, it appeared to affect only the systems that process payment card data at food and beverage outlets. But ultimately, patient and health plan member data was compromised. Banner sent letters to 3.7 million potentially affected individuals. The attack, which began June 23, lasted for two weeks and was discovered July 7. (FierceHealthCareGreeley Tribune)
Transitioning to an EHR--or to one from a different vendor--does not hurt short-term inpatient outcomes, according to research published in BMJ. Researchers reviewed 17 hospitals that went live with a new EHR during 2011-2012, compared to 399 control hospitals in the same referral region. The researchers found no link between EHR implementation and short-term mortality, readmission or adverse safety events. Head researcher Michael Barnett, MD, of Harvard and Brigham and Women's Hospital, told FierceEHR "even though learning a new EHR is a clinically painful experience, that does not appear to translate to significantly worse outcomes for patients in the short term." (FierceHealthcare/FierceEHRBMJ)
Several states have physician supply rates that fall well below the national average, according to a new AHIP data brief. Because of that disparity, it contends network adequacy standards should take into account differences in physician supply and distribution across geographic areas, such as differences in the number in urban versus rural areas. "For national or state-level adequacy standards to be considered reliable in the assessment of specific network coverage areas, differences in physician supply and distribution will have to be taken into consideration." This requires research to determine if an adequate physician supply exists in a given geographic area. (AHIP data brief)
The absence of a culturally competent health care workforce has been recognized as a problem by health care professionals. Less than a quarter of the 3 million nurses fall into a "minority" category, compared to 38 percent of the population. Even worse, only about 13 percent of advanced practice RNs are from an ethnic or racial minority, according to a 2016 report from the National Academy of Medicine. Many believe health care would improve if workforces were more representative of the communities they serve. Nearly half the applicants are turned away because there are not enough seats in the classroom. (Modern Healthcare)
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New & Noted   
Network briefing: A new Health Affairs and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation policy brief offers insight into provider networks--specifically, state and federal actions related to network standards and provider directories on the insurance marketplaces, focusing on the rules that govern plans sold there. Narrow networks--and the attendant debates--aren't going anywhere, the authors note. (Health Affairs)

One-stop drug shopping: Medication synchronization--the simultaneous monthly pickup of all of a patient's prescriptions--increases the likelihood of medication compliance among patients and streamlines pharmacy workflow, according to research from the National Community Pharmacists Association. (Drug Topics)

Lights out on two-midnight rule: The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services issued a final regulation eliminating its controversial "two-midnight" rule for inpatient hospital stays. The rule required patients to stay at the hospital through two midnights before their bill would be paid under Medicare Part A. (CMS announcement)

In its July National Briefing Webinar--now available online--the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative focused on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and its impact on solo and small practices. (PCPCC)
MarketVoices...quotes worth reading
"Insurance is like a credit card without a limit."--Rick Kam, COO and co-founder of ID Experts, explaining to the Greeley Tribune the reason there's often more money to be made from insurance fraud than from a stolen credit card number
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Wednesday, August 10, 2016