Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 signed into law

WASHINGTON – A national system designed to increase reporting of medical errors won final congressional approval by an overwhelming margin on July 27th, and was signed into law by President Bush on July 29th.

"Medical errors take lives, medical errors waste money and medical errors are largely preventable," said Rep. Sherrod Brown D-Ohio. "We know medical errors are underreported. That’s disturbing but hardly surprising. This legislation is designed to overcome that obstacle."

The American Medical Association and the American Hospital Association supported the legislation.

It is estimated that more than 250 Americans die every day as a result of preventable medical errors. Health care officials say increased reporting of such errors would make it easier to spot harmful trends and find solutions, but the current environment punishes openness because reporting such errors could lead to the loss of credentials or a lawsuit.

Read the full story
Yahoo News
AMA Report
Washington Post
President Bush signs Patient Safety and Quality Improvement Act of 2005 into law

Invaluable Assets

"You are an invaluable asset and I’m so pleased to be working with you."

Someone said those words to me at work last week, and I’m still smiling about it.   

It also reminded me that I need to say those same words to others from time to time, because they are often true.  I am pleased to be able to work with a number of bright, capable, dedicated people.  I’m going to tell a few of them today.


Joint Commission Field Review

8/20/05 – From The Joint Commission: The closing date for the Credentialing and Privileging Requirements Relating to Telemedicine/Contracted Services Field Review has been extended to September 5, 2005.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations has the following field review open for comment through August 22nd.

Credentialing and Privileging Requirements Related to Telemedicine / Contracted Services Field Review

June 2005 CPMSM and CPCS Exam Results Announced

The National Association Medical Staff Services has announced the results of the June, 2005 CPCS and CPMSM Certification Exams.

The pass rate was reported as 79% for the Certified Provider Credentialing Specialist (CPCS) exam and 69% for the Certified Professional Medical Services Management (CPMSM) exam.

Congratulations to all those newly certified in the interesting and challenging field of medical staff services.

The next exam will be conducted at the NAMSS Conference in Phoenix on Sunday, September 18th. Registration deadline is August 1st.  See the NAMSS web site for more information.Cert_pins_bw02

Through the Hidden Door

Richard E. Waltman, MD, a family physician from Tacoma, Washington is undergoing treatment for bladder cancer.  His article And Today Is Another Day in Medical Economics reveals what he’s learning about himself and his profession in the process.

He writes of the love and support he has received from family, friends, and patients. He notes, however, that one group in particular has had difficulty acknowledging his disease, his physician colleages.  He writes:   

When I finally asked some (physician) colleagues why they didn’t say anything about my illness, the answers were instructive. "I didn’t think you wanted to talk about it," said one. "I didn’t know what to say," said another. And perhaps most interesting of all: "You’re one of us, not one of them. They get sick. We don’t."

Now hear this: We are them and they are us. We get sick and we die. We want to talk about it, and we want you to listen. Extend your hand, make eye contact, and say something like this: "I’m sorry to hear your bad news. My thoughts and best wishes are with you."

Perhaps this account touched me because a physician I know, an oncologist, had a similar experience when diagnosed a few years ago with advanced breast cancer.  Most of all she expected support and compassion from the partners in her oncology practice.  To say that she didn’t get it would be an understatement.  I’m happy to report that she beat the long odds against her, and now practices solo.Door01

When caring for patients, some emotional distance is necessary in order to function objectively.  But let’s make sure that when we build those necessary emotional walls we remember where we put the hidden doors.  As Dr. Waltman reminds us, there are times we might just need to step through to the other side.

Previous Medical Economics Article by Dr. Waltman:
And Tomorrow is Friday

Who Am I Today?

We sometimes call it wearing many hats, but I for one find the multiple and exceedingly diverse demands on my time, energy, and thought processes to be far more difficult to manage than simply taking off one hat and putting on another. 

So if you wake up in the morning and ask yourself, "Who am I today?" take heart, and a few minutes to read a funny post – Three Georges Reconciled –  by George Lenard of George’s Employment Blawg.  It will make all of your "selves" smile.

Let’s see, there’s Blogger Rita, Web Master Rita, Real Job So I can Pay My Bills Rita, Speaker/Consultant Rita, and last, but hopefully not least, Personal Life Rita.

Perhaps a new acronym?  MSS – Multiple Self Syndrome…  (How fitting - we’re Multiple Self Syndrome Professionals!)

So who are you today?

Impact of Growing Health Insurance Costs on Business

Most US employers will increase employee contributions to health insurance coverage in 2006.

Managed Care Matters comments this week on the increasing cost of providing health insurance benefits for employees:

Health insurance accounted for 8% of payroll at large employers in 2000.  It now consumes between 12% and 15% of payroll.

The fallout from these increases is significant, with 20% of employers likely hiring fewer new employees as a result of and 25% attributing reduced profits to increased health care expenses.

Inquiring Minds Want to Know

An interesting surgical blog called A Chance to Cut is a Chance to Cure has a post called Inquiring Minds Want to Know.  In it the author asks " What questions would you ask a surgeon before letting them operate on you?"

It’s a pretty good list, and he asks for additional ideas through comments.  I added this one:

If having surgery in an ASC or office-based OR, I would want to know at which local hospitals the physician held staff privileges. That would be particularly true if the free-standing facility was not JCAHO or AAAHC accredited. I would also verify the staff status through the hospital’s web site or a call to the medical staff office.

If s/he responded none, I would likely seek another physician. That would give me (being a suspicious credentialer and all) reason to wonder why the physician had not had credentials verified through the rigorous hospital process.